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Frank Bauer

Frank BauerQ: Where were you born?

St. Louis, Missouri

How long have you lived in St. Louis

I've lived in St. Louis all my life.

What's your favorite musical instrument

A: I enjoy playing the saxophone because it saves me from having to spend a fortune in psychiatric fees. Music can be very theraputic.

What are some of your musical influences?

There are many influences that led me to pursuing a life in music: B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Dextor Gordon, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Parker, Joshua Redman, Maceo Parker, David "Fathead" Newman, Ray Charles, James Brown.... This list goes on and on. Locally, I've been inspired by Corky Blake, Dennis "Chicago Slim" Lansing, Oliver Sain, Johnnie Johnson, Rich McDonough, Rondo and John Mondin. Again, this list could go on and on. I followed Rondo's Blues Deluxe for years before I even thought of picking the horn back up. There is much to be learned from so many fine musicians. St. Louis seems to be a hotbed of talent. I've been honored with the good fortune of being able to share the stage with many of them.

What music did you like in your childhood?

A: Growing up, my parents had a collection of 45's and LP's that they kept around the house; Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, The 5th Dimension were among those that were in the collection. Through my teenage years, I listened to alot of heavy metal and hard rock. But sometime in the early 80s, a friend and I stumbled across a Muddy Waters album in his older brothers record collection. It was Muddy's "Hard Again" LP. I was hooked on the blues from that moment on. I went out and started picking up albums by Johnny Winter, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, anything and everything concerning the blues that I could get my hands on.

Who do you like to listen to now?

A: I don't get much of a chance to get out to see other bands since I've been playing with Alvin Jett & the Hired Help, but when I can I like to catch Rob Garland & the Blue Monks, The Rich Mcdonough Band, The Soulard Blues Band and Eat A Peach.

Do you have any recordings?

A: I've recorded on a CD with Alvin Jett & the Hired Help called "Live In Soulard" that was released in February 2002. We are currently preparing for the release of our second CD "Alone & Drinkin" and a live concert video. Both are due out in January 2003. Both CD's and the video are available on the Hired Help website at www.thehiredhelp.com. I'll also be adding some sax to the new Rob Garland & the Blues Monks CD due to be out in February 2003.

What's your favorite music moment?

A: On Labor Day weekend in 2001, I was scheduled to play the Big Muddy Blues Festival with The Rich McDonough Band, when I got a call from Tom Maloney asking if I could fill in as part of the horn section in Johnnie Johnson's band at the Madison Blues Festival in Wisconsin. At first I thought that I should turn it down since I was already set to play with Rich. Rich says to me, "What are you even asking me for? Go to Madison!! It turned out to be a great experience for me.

Q: Describe your favorite gig!

A: I love playing at large outdoor Blues Festivals. There is just something magical about performing on a big stage in front of thousands of people.

Q: Describe your musical path, from the beginning until now!

A: I played the saxophone in grade school and junior high, but I quit going into high school. In 1991, I was attending the Chicago Blues Festival, when I ran into a street musician playing a tenor saxophone. I don't recall his name but I know that I was mesmerized. I sat with this guy and talked music for about a couple of hours. At the end of our conversation he wanted to take me to a pawn shop to pick up a horn. I waited until I got back to St. Louis to get a horn, but that was the spark that started me on my musical journey. I woodshedded for about two years, when I was invited by Dennis "Chicago Slim" Lansing to sit in with the band he was working with at the time. The name of that band was Erma Whiteside & the Blues Deluxe. Rich McDonough was playing guitar with the band as well. I knew of Rich and Slim from their days with Rondo's Blues Deluxe. I followed those guys around town for about a year, sitting in whenever they would let me. I formed a ban! d of my own around the same time period called Blues Attitude. I performed with this group for several years before hooking up with Alvin Jett & the Hired Help. Lately, I've also been playing with Rob Garland & the Blue Monks every other Thursday at Mike & Min's in Soulard.

Q: What goals do you have in your musical future?

A: I'm working with Alvin Jett & the Hired Help to take the band beyond the local club scene. We're making a concentrated effort to market the regional and national festival circuit.

Q: What do you think of the state of St. Louis Blues music?

A: St. Louis has a great tradition of the blues. The older cats pass on what they know to the younger players. With each pass of the proverbial torch, those coming on the scene bring along a mixed bag of influences that maintains the vitality of the music. It also helps a lot to have people such as John May of the St. Louis Blues Society and Dave Beardsley of STLBlues, who work diligently to bring the music of the local artists to the attention of the masses.

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