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The Rock Report

By Marjorie Nichols. Posted in Music

The Rock Report

It is with great pride and excitement that I have accepted an invitation to try my hand at 'blogging for Rock 101 KLOL.

My name is Marjorie Nichols. I'm a native Houstonian and a veteran KLOL Rock 'n Roll Army member. I first tuned in somewhere around 1975 when I was in elementary school and just beginning to realize there was a whole world of music far beyond my parents' record collection of 1960s folk, the opera of Mario Lanza, and Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass. 

 

My mothers handful of Elvis, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles seeded my craving for something harder, louder, and more urgent. I begged for, and got, my own transistor radio and found 101 KLOL.

The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix do "All Along the Watchtower," a Dylan song I'd known from the age of 6, I was blown away. I had no idea someone could do Dylan better than Dylan! If that was out there, what else was waiting to be discovered?

Late at night, when I should have been asleep, I found out.

The Who, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, the Zombies, Clapton, Black Sabbath -- the sheer quantity of rock and roll flooded my brain through earphones and I never looked back. Another rocker was born.

By the time I was in 7th grade, I was a regular subscriber to Rolling Stone magazine, even as my worried father glared disapprovingly at the covers featuring skimpily dressed women and all manner of bad boy musicians.

In high school, I was roundly criticized for wanting to write for the campus newspaper about upcoming rock concerts to the Houston area. The student publications review team said it wouldn't be appropriate. After all, everyone knew that rockers smoke, drank, had relations outside of marriage and generally raised hell whenever they came to town. Exactly, I said, trying to explain that this is what would make for a great story. They didn't buy it, but I bought plenty of concert tickets and saw some great shows anyway.

In the decades since, I have continued to follow rock, reading and discussing its evolution with anyone who would listen. Since turning 50, I have gone back to the years right after I was born to gain a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the fledgling psychedelic rock movement of that time that brought us Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Iron Butterfly, and the Amboy Dukes (with their frontman, a young Ted Nugent). 

Someone on the Facebook page jokingly refers to the classic rock genre as "Jurassic Rock," and as a seasoned fan I say we should all claim that moniker like a badge of honor. Everyone knows that without its pre-historic upheavals, Earth never would have looked as good as it does today, right? I maintain that without the incredibly complex, creative and original work of the rock 'n roll musicians from the late '60s up until now, the musical landscape would be equally bleak and lifeless.

Solid, traditional rock with its electric guitars, tasty intros, flamboyant lead singers, ear-splitting volume, and who gives a f**k attitude is the oasis in an otherwise postmodern musical desert.

I look forward to exploring the stories behind sounds of Rock 101 KLOL with you, and I hope you'll take time to leave feedback, including suggestions for topics you'd like to read about. Too many generations don't know how good rock 'n roll was, is, and can be. Together, we can change that.

Rock on!