Classic Rock, Explained!


Ever wonder why so many of the bands KZOK plays come from a certain period of time, and from a small country about 1.4 times the size of The State of Washington?

Stephen Tow has.

He's a History professor at Delaware Valley University just North of Philadelphia, who happens to be a pretty good guitar player obsessed, as we all are, with Rock and Roll. He's also a very good writer, who's now authored two books on Music History, each focusing on a specific city. His wife maintains this is just so he can go hang out there, and so he has.

His first in 2011 was all about Seattle, and the man does his homework. The Strangest Tribe: How A Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge explains how far from being an overnight phenomenon, Seattle's isolation from the rest of the country and distance from the usual music centers of Los Angeles and New York (and Nashville if you're into that) allowed a 'scene" to develop free of outside influences, that traces its roots to the late 70's...an independent scene that for a while came to dominate the world in way its local promoters at Sub Pop Records used to joke about but never dreamed would actually happen.

His new book London Reign Over Me: How England's Capital Built Classic Rock is all about the music Seattle's musicians grew up on, the music that's a huge part of the KZOK library. It's the labor of seven years hard work, that interestingly focuses on a period about seven years long. Stephen interviews some 90 of the biggest names in Classic Rock (for the love of God he got Yes' notoriously reclusive heyday drummer Bill Bruford to write the forward!), but skips over the usual debauchery...tales of groupie shagging, drug ingestion, and hotel room trashing are left for other books already written. This one is about the music. Why does it sound like that? And most importantly why does it have such staying power?

Stephen first contacted our own Scott Vanderpool when he was researching his first book, as he'd lived through the whole thing, from its beginnings at long-gone Seattle nightclubs like The Metropolis, The Gorilla Room, and The Golden Crown, to its eventual demise with major record labels, Candlebox, and radio station "The End".

Now the tables are turned as Scott talks to Stephen about his newest work, that thoroughly explores the music that's pretty much the Raison D'etre for KZOK.