Frank Moskus was a St. Louis original. He began banging out tunes in bars on the North Side of St. Louis when it was still a Polish and Jewish neighborhood and before white flight would reduce it to a dreary slum. He owned a riverboat for a while and helped develop the area of St. Louis known as Gaslight Square. His Gaslight Bar was a feature there for many years and everyone from Tina Turner to the Smothers Brothers to Barbara Streisand to Chuck Berry belted out tunes with Frank from one time to another.
When I wandered into Gaslight it had fallen onto hard times and most of its glitzy bars and nightclubs had shuttered their doors. I had my guitar on my shoulder and as I ambled past the Gaslight Bar a guy began tapping on the window to get my attention. He gestured at my guitar and questioned by hand signs whether I played. I shrugged a yes and he waved at me to come in mouthing "free beer." Well that got my attention and I entered. Frank introduced himself. He had a good crowd in the bar but his voice was giving out and the other act that was supposed to be there had failed to show. Without any notion of whether I could really play he shoved me onto the stage, handed me a beer and said "wow em kid." I was a regular at the Gaslight for years thereafter and continued playing at the bar that Frank opened when Gaslight Square finally collapsed entirely.
Frank was loud, funny, charming, endearing, talented and loved by almost anyone who heard his act. He could play a dozen instruments and sing in as many styles and languages. He encouraged every young musician he met. He was a loyal friend, generous to a fault and I never heard him utter a harsh or mean spirited word in the almost thirty years I knew him.
Frank died in the fall of 1998.
I just thought I'd take this moment to tell you about him.