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Beatle Bob (Robert Matonis, born 1953) is a well-known figure in the St. Louis, Missouri music scene. He has been seen doing his characteristic dancing at a wide range of concerts including Ani DiFranco, Less Than Jake and Chuck Berry, both in the crowd and onstage with the performers. He is known for his arrhythmic dance moves and Beatles-inspired "mop top" hairstyle and 1960s attire. His constant presence and dancing is welcomed by some concertgoers and an aggravation to others, but even his detractors admit that his presence signals that one is seeing the best music event in town on that particular night. He has allegedly been to at least one live show every night since Christmas Eve 1996, and seen over 10,000 bands over the last decade.
Contrary to popular belief, the nickname "Beatle Bob" did not originate from his Beatles style hair cut. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The name was given to him while in school in St. Louis. Typical to many children in St. Louis, Bob went to Catholic schools while growing up in St. Louis. One day during class, he was reading a Beatles magazine that was concealed within an open text book. When the nun caught him, she snatched the magazine from him and stated, "That will be enough of that, Beatle Bob!" The name has stuck.
He has contributed to the now-defunct music publication Jet Lag Magazine and wrote a monthly "Top Ten" of local concerts for Sauce Magazine. He also used to produce an annual Phil Spector Christmas Special for local community radio station, KDHX, although members of the local music scene have disputed Bob's claims that he hosts a regular radio show or owns a radio station.
Beatle Bob has also attended music festivals around the United States, including Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (an annual Manchester, Tenn. music festival), City Stages, SXSW, Lollapalooza, the Ponderosa Stomp, Sleazefest, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Austin City Limits Music Festival. He holds the distinction of emceeing the final Guided by Voices show at Metro in Chicago, December 31, 2004; and introducing Sleater-Kinney at their last touring show during Lollapalooza in 2006. He introduced Camper van Beethoven and The Flaming Lips at Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival in Lawrence, Kansas in June 2006. He also emceed the "Last Call at the Nights" on January 19, 2007, the final show held at Mississippi Nights on Laclede's Landing in St. Louis. On August 3, 2007, Beatle Bob was seen at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago, Ill., dancing onstage with The Polyphonic Spree and introducing a Mississippi band, Colour Revolt. Beatle Bob also introduced the Sam Roberts Band onstage on August 4, 2007 and spent their set dancing offstage. He was seen again on August 5 at Lollapalooza introducing the rock band Dios and dancing with them onstage, and later introducing indie rock band Yo La Tengo. He introduced Cornmeal at Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival in 2011.
Beatle Bob and his dancing are featured in the Guided By Voices video for "My Kind of Soldier" and in Lit's DVD "All Access." He is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled "Superfan: The Lies, Life and Legend of Beatle Bob."
- The Legend of Beatle Bob - 90.7 KWMU
- Riverfront Times article about Beatle Bob
- Austin Chronicle article about Beatle Bob
- An interview with Beatle Bob
- The Official Beatle Bob Website-Verified
- Site critical of Beatle Bob
- Beatle Bob - World's Most Obsessive Music Fan
- Last Call at the Nights - final show at Mississippi Nights
- Interview with Beatle Bob at insideSTL.com
- Video of Beatle Bob dancing to surf punk band The Balboas' (aka Minnie and the Pearltones) cover of Link Wray's Rumble at Sleazefest 2001, Chapel Hill, NC
- Video of Beatle Bob sending off surf punk band The Balboas (aka Minnie and the Pearltones) at Sleazefest 2001, Chapel Hill, NC
- Video of Beatle Bob dancing onstage with Whiskeytown in 1997.