By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor
December 9, 2009
Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with a new weekly feature entitled 5 Questions with...
Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.
This weeka true pioneer in Chicagos storied rock n roll radio historyhes been a fixture on the local airwaves for thirty years and his Rock N Roll Roots program continues to entertain both old and new listeners to this dayhe can be heard weekdays from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on WDRV 97.1 FM The Drivehere are 5 Questions withBOB STROUD!
BIO: Born in Kalamazoo, MI, Bob Stroud's first radio gig in Chicago was with WMET in 1979. Since then he has truly become a Chicago radio icon, and considered to be the most respected voice of rock & roll in the city.
An acknowledged music junkie, Stroud's non-radio musical past includes playing his grandmother's Perry Como 78's on her Victrola in 1957; buying his first four 45's in 1962; getting his first transistor radio in 1963; buying "Meet the Beatles" in 1964; and fronting an 11-piece rock and R&B band called Rockestra from 1990 2000. In late 2003 Bob was contacted by Cryan' Shames percussionist, Jim Pilster, aka, J.C. Hooke, and invited to become the new lead singer of this legendary Chicago band. When Bob bought his first Cryan' Shames record at 15, he never dreamed he'd join the band at 51.
His understated presentation combined with WDRV's focus on the music has resulted in WDRV being a top ranked station during midday's since the day WDRV launched. In fact, it was Bob's voice that introduced Chicagoan's to 97.1 FM The Drive on April 2, 2001, the day it launched.
In 1980, Stroud created the popular Rock & Roll Roots show. "Roots", as it is commonly referred to, spotlights different artists and groups from 1964 to the early 70's, and has become a radio staple for classic rock fans. It airs on WDRV-FM every Sunday from 7a-10a.
1) CSNChicago.com: Bob, calling you a rock n roll historian would be an understatement to say the least and your Rock N Roll Roots show (Sundays from 7:00-10:00 AM on WDRV) has been a Chicago institution for years. What is it about music from the 60s and 70s that has such a grip on our culture to this day?
Stroud: I don't know that it does, or if it's just gripping to those of us who lived through it in the first place. If you look at ratings, for example, The Drive doesn't have an overwhelming number of 18 to 34 year old listeners. Yet 45 to 64 year old listeners flock to the station. There are some elements of the era that do transcend the ages, like The Beatles. They'll never go out of style, they'll never go out of fashion because, as we like to say at The Drive, their music is timeless. Back to your original question, the music of those decades continues to grip the population who lived it because it's legitimately good music and it carries those oh so important memories that mean as much to us as the music does. Every generation will experience this phenomenon with the music they grew up loving.
2) CSNChicago.com: It was recently announced that The Who will be performing live at halftime of the Super Bowl in February. The bands legendary lead singer Roger Daltrey has been on a solo tour of late to keep his voice in tact for The Whos next project, but its also been reported that Daltrey has struggled a bit on his tour and that his brilliant voice is no where near what it once was. Do you think both he and partner Pete Townshend may be a bit concerned that Daltreys voice come Super Bowl Sunday may become an issue in their performance? Were talking the Super Bowl here with millions of old andpotentially new fans watching.
Stroud: Being a singer of some note myself, I can tell you first hand that vocal chords are a very temperamental instrument. They've got to be babied, coddled and taken care of as much, if not more than any other muscle in your system. It's got to be tough for Daltrey after singing with such intensity for this side of 50 years to come close to sounding like he did in his classic era. Nobody sounds exactly like they did in their 20's. That said, the truly great ones always rise to the occasion and I've got to believe that, one way or another, Daltrey will find a way to pull it off.
3) CSNChicago.com: Youve no doubt been to hundreds and hundreds of concerts in your lifetime. Certainly not an easy question here, but tell us the best concert you have ever seen?
Stroud: Impossibly tough question as I can't begin to remember all the concerts I've seen. Seems like I lived at the Park West in the '80's. In no particular order, here are a few that standout in my memory:
- Paul McCartney at the United Center circa '02: Great staging, spot on sound, and how often are you in the same room with true legends?
- My first Springsteen concert, Orlando, FL circa '77: Wow! I was just so pumped and he just so delivered!
- Roy Orbison at the Riviera circa '88: Huge fan and those songs just kill me. Watching the audience surge towards the stage at the end of every operatic finish and then have Orbison standing there with one hand on his hip soaking in the adulation will forever be imprinted in my mind.
- Raspberries at House of Blues circa '07: Never saw them first time around, but bought all their records. They sounded so good on this reunion tour it was sick. Absolutely sardine-packed house sweating to every last power-pop nugget.
- First Elvis Costello tour of the states with Nick Lowe and Mink Deville in Tampa, FL. circa '78: I was a ravenous fan of all three acts and to see them all on the same bill was a "died and gone to heaven" experience.
4) CSNChicago.com: There have been many debates over the years on whats the best band to ever come out of our fine city. Bands like Cheap Trick, Styx and, of course, Chicago immediately comes to mind. Who would be your personal pick?
Stroud: I have trouble with "best" and "favorite." "Best" is so subjective, so I've got to go with "favorite. I have many and being as old school as I am, I have to start with the 60's era bands that came out of Chicago. As a kid, I bought anything that came out of Chicago...Cryan' Shames, Buckinghams, Ides of March, New Colony Six, Shadows of Knight, American Breed, Mauds, Riddles, Flock, etc. Couldn't get enough of it. I thought the first couple of Chicago albums were revelatory. Some really ingenious stuff. And even though they were miles west of here, I'm a huge fan of Cheap Trick as well.
5) CSNChicago.com: Your popularity, along with The Drives overall popularity, continues to bring in big audiences to the station 247. Do you think thats a factor of a rising older demographic that is attracted to the music of their generation or, is it simply that the music stands the test of time no matter how young or old you may be?
Stroud: Well as I stated earlier, I think our popularity is mainly with the fans that lived the music the first time around. That said, we do receive a good percentage of e-mail from listeners who are teens and 20-somethings who are into the music because they recognize there is a level of musicianship and songwriting that doesn't exist in a lot of today's efforts. That and the fact that they were raised on it because of their parents can also certainly be a factor. And again, there is an element to much of it that does and will stand the test of time.
Weather it's the Beatles or Stones, Motown or Styx, a lot of this will never fade away.
BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: What is else going on Bob, anything you would like to promote? CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it
Stroud: I'm an animal lover. I give regularly to PAWS (www.paws.org), the no-kill shelter, and I encourage others to look into giving to the organization of their choice. Animals are so often the thread that holds our lives together. Think of them this holiday season when you've got a few extra bucks laying around.
WDRV 97.1 FM The DriveBob Stroud page
WDRV 97.1 FM The DriveRock N Roll Roots page
Bobs Rock n Roll Roots blog
Bobs Ten at 10 link on WDRV.com
Bobs One 45 at 1:45 link on WDRV.com