|Jeb Wright||Ryan Sparks||Dan Wall|
The CRR Story by Jeb Wright
I suppose I get the distinction of being the one who started Classic Rock Revisited. The site was born on August 1, 1999. Now, if you had no idea that we had been around that long then don’t lose sleep because it was a couple of years before we went from being a fan site to rock n’ roll online magazine business sort of thang. The site actually started because I was upset that mainstream press outlets were not supporting the artists I loved anymore. Instead of seeing featured articles on Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Rush or Blue Oyster Cult, all anyone wanted to write about was Grunge. My wife, Patty, got tired of hearing me complain and suggested I do something about it. We didn’t even have the internet at the time. We looked into starting a print mag but the costs scared us off. We bought a computer, got the internet, got a copy of Microsoft FrontPage and we were off and running.
I actually had a dream about the site one night. I was living in Ponca City, Oklahoma and working as a Substance Abuse Councilor for a pre-release correctional facility. We had no money and I had no experience in the music business and had never interviewed a celebrity. In my dream, I created a business called “YesterDaze Metal: Classic Rock Revisited.” I dropped the YesterDaze Metal tag and kept the Classic Rock Revisited and set out to learn how to do this. Actually, the dream was a year before my wife talked me into doing the site. In the meantime, I moved back to my home state of Kansas and went to work for a plastics company, a large part Blowmolder called KSQ Blowmolding in the booming town of Arkansas City, Kansas (that is pronounced ARE KANSAS around these parts!).
Now that we had an idea and we had a computer all we needed were music industry contacts to get the ball rolling. I had no idea who anyone was so I simply went to a record store and looked for Classic Rock Artists who had new albums out. I picked up an album titled Ready Eddie by Eddie Money. I looked on the back and saw the record company was titled CMC International. I came home and looked them up on my new computer and found a phone number. I rang the number and asked for Publicity and talked to a woman named Laura Kaufman (a legendary publicist going back to the days of Leber/Krebs and Aerosmith and Kiss). Laura listened to me and took a chance and sent me some CDs for review. Eventually, this lead to her referring me to another of Rock’s most famous publicity people, Carol Kaye, and we started to do some interviews. Roger Earl of Foghat, Judas Priest, James JY Young of Styx and Ted Nugent were the first four rock stars CRR talked to. Ian Hill of Judas Priest was the only interview done by my wife, Patty. I had to go to work and she stepped up and read my questions even though she calls the band “Heavy Metal Death Music.”
I don’t think it can get more grassroots than it was for us in the beginning. I now own micro-cassette players, laptops and various other modern tools of the trade but back then I did interviews with a speaker phone and a regular stage microphone hooked up to my 4-track cassette player. I did the interviews while sitting on the floor of my bedroom with wires strewn all over the place! I was always terrified I might bump into something and knock the whole thing over and ruin the day – thankfully it never happened. The worst thing was when I found out Ted Nugent was calling for the first time and I didn’t yet own a speaker phone. I had been borrowing my Mother’s speaker phone. Linda Peterson, Ted’s lady who sets up interviews, called and said The Nuge would be on the phone in 15 minutes. That did not leave me time to drive to Mom’s so my wife went door-to-door in the neighborhood until we found a neighbor willing to donate their phone for a half an hour. Oh, the good old days!
We were once thrilled to have 20 visitors a day and now we can’t believe that we have millions of people stop by each year and that we seem to be continually growing. Who would have thunk that a guy who lives in Arkansas City, Kansas, a town of about ten thousand people, could start a thriving business that has come to be THE PLACE online to promote Classic Rock Music? We have featured interviews with members of Aerosmith, Styx, The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Journey, Kansas, Cheap Trick and more. I have branched out and had interviews published in Classic Rock Magazine in London, In Rock in Spain, The Uriah Heep Journal and various other publications around the world. Thanks to our readers, I have been able to live a dream and get to keep the music I love in the spotlight.
Truth be known, I am just a guy – a rock nerd. I am a guitar playing, music loving, faithful husband and loving father of two glorious teenagers who got lucky and took a risk and started Classic Rock Revisited. I grew up in Topeka, Kansas and my Grandparents, Max and Margaret Baker, lived next door to Orville and Ida Williams, whose son, a guitar player named Richard, was in a band called Kansas. In the 1970’s, Mrs. Williams would have me over to her house and show me the gold and platinum records her son would send her. She would give me the latest releases by the band all autographed “To Jeb.” Looking back now I am certain this cemented my love of music. I sometimes wonder if this was not all predestined as this music has and always will continue to live inside of my very soul.
In the end, instead of bragging, I feel I should count my blessings. Thank God I followed the dream and thank God I listened to my wife. CRR would not exist without the contributions and support from all of the following. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Ryan Sparks, Ian Routledge, A. Lee Graham, Clyde Bradley and Dan Wall. Also thank God for Patty Wright, Cameron and Cassidy Crabtree, Jon Fultz, Mark Kirchhoff, Bill Bieloh, Ryan Hoyle, Rod and Ryan Trowbridge, Martin Popoff, Cynthia Michelle, Paul Rodgers, Van McClain, Ron Bozich, Chip Ruggieri, Neal Doughty, Mark Sandoval, Bret Adams, Linda Peterson, Kelli and Jacques van Gool, Jason Feinberg, Clayton Bushong, Bill Wilson, Laura Kaufman, Carol Kaye, Ricky Byrd, Anne Leighton, Jeff Albright, Mrs. Williams, Richard Williams, Dan Russo, Andrew McNeice, Rosanne Losito, Ioannis, Rob Gill, Sean McEneely, Nancy Sayle, Frank Banali, Carmine Appice, Tommy Shaw, Kayte Connelly, Herman Rarebell, Jayne Andrews, Ian Anderson, Steve Lukather, Mick Box, Neal Schon, Kevin Dubrow, Phil Collen, Dennis Dunaway, Joe Bouchard, Albert Bouchard, Deborah Frost, Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma, Bill Ward, Liese Rugo, Mario De Riso, Shawn Perry, Bret Michaels, Janna Elias, Rick Wharton, Rik Emmett, Tom Werman, Geoff Barton, Mick Wall, Malcolm Dome, Joe Lalaina, Kenny Laguna, Randy Hackner, Tom Cording, Paul Dianno, Brian Greenway, Ted Nugent, Max Baker, Judi Groves, Ronnie Case, Trudy Reynolds, Val Bryant, Dave Hlubek, Michael Hannon, Jak Spires, Mike Varney, Val Smith, Tom Lipski, The Moondance Icon, Kevin Clark and everyone else that I have not listed here that should be listed here. Most of all, thank you, the readers of CRR, for reading our online magazine and thank God you all have returned again and again and again. If you keep coming then we will keep rocking. Look for bigger and better things as the site continues to grow.