Northwest Rock & Roll’s historical highpoints are well documented—in the late 20th century, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and other grunge gods took the world by storm. Previously, Seattle’s Queensrÿche and Heart had ruled the heavy metal realm. And prior to that, The Wailers, The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and The Raiders, and The Sonics had all fueled local teen dances with garage-rock versions of the region’s signature song, “Louie Louie.”
Yet these iconic bands are only half the story. In this talk, join author Peter Blecha to discover the lesser-known but vitally important bands and scenes that laid the foundation for what was to come—finally connecting all the dots between the fabled Northwest era of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, and Jimmy Hendrix, and the R&B-spiked roots of a distinct regional artform: the “Original Northwest Sound.”
Peter Blecha (he/him) is the director of the Northwest Music Archives, an award-winning author, a founding curator at MoPop, and a longtime staff historian at HistoryLink.org. Blecha’s newest book, Stomp and Shout: R&B and the Origins of Northwest Rock and Roll, draws on his deep knowledge as a leading expert on Pacific Northwest music history to chronicle both well-known and overlooked icons of the early Northwest Sound.
Blecha lives in Seattle.