In 1999, music fan Jeb Wright took it upon himself to breath life back into the world of classic rock. With little more than an idea and a lot of enthusiasm, he launched Classic Rock Revisited in August of that year as a vehicle to share his love of the artists that made an impact on popular music in the 1970s and ’80s. Wright was a complete newbie to the music business, but that didn’t deter him. As he writes in the book’s preface, “I went to Hastings, a popular chain store that sells books, magazines, games and CDs. I found a CD called Ready Eddie by Eddie Money that had recently been released. I bought the CD, took it home, called the record company and asked for the publicity department. A woman named Laura Kaufman answered, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
From this first phone call, Wright has built Classic Rock Revisited into one of the most visited classic rock sites on the web. In 2009, CRR will celebrate its 10th birthday. In that near-decade, Wright has interviewed a veritable who’s who of the rock and roll field, and he’s now brought together 12 of those choice chats into a 210-page book titled Classic Rock Revisited: From The Vault Series 1 – Stadium Rock. These interviews have long been removed from the site and aren’t available elsewhere.
Wright goes one on one with Kansas’ Phil Ehart, Paul Rodgers, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Styx’s Dennis DeYoung, Sammy Hagar, Journey’s Steve Perry, Steve Miller, Boston’s Tom Scholz, Foreigner’s Lou Gramm, REO Speedwagon’s Neal Doughty, Foghat’s Roger Earl and Ted Nugent. What makes these such interesting reading is Wright’s interviewing skills: He manages to get his subjects to open up, revealing things that haven’t been heard a million times before. As a result, you really get a feel for the individual personality of each artist.
For all the success, downfalls, and later rebirth of Aerosmith, Joe Perry comes across as a genuine guy who could be your next door neighbor, telling Wright that “I still take out the trash. My wife and I are very grounded people… I think a big part of it is that we never moved to L.A. or New York. We never got swept up in that part of it.”
Sammy Hagar seems like a dude who has as much fun mixing drinks on the beach and hanging out at as playing to a packed house.
I love Tom Scholz’s story about his battles with CBS and other record labels, and his compelling defense of why Boston and the band’s music is anything but corporate rock.
Dennis DeYoung comes off as a bit cranky, when he responds to Wright’s lament about album covers becoming less important in the CD age, “Album covers were nice, but you know what I can tell you right now? Get it out of your system, because it ain’t coming back.” Whoa Dennis! Say it ain’t so.
Steve Perry, as well, seems especially irritated when Wright probes for the scoop on Escape-era Journey.
Jeb: Some fans think Steve Perry started to overtake the band.
Steve: Started overtaking what?
Jeb: The songwriting.
Steve: Those people need to get a life. They need to find something else to do during their day.
And so it goes. Wright’s interviews are sure to elicit a series of smiles, frowns and “I didn’t know that,” responses from readers. My only complaint is that it’s just 210 pages. When I picked it up, I couldn’t put it back down! That’s the best compliment I can pay to Wright and From The Vault Series 1: Stadium Rock.
Great book. I look forward to Series 2 soon. Get a copy signed by Jeb Wright at Classic Rock Revisited.