Small Town, Big Music: The Outsized Influence of Kent, Ohio, on the History of Rock and Roll

November 1, 2020
Small Town, Big Music: The Outsized Influence of Kent, Ohio, on the History of Rock and Roll

Relying on oral histories, hundreds of rare photographs,and original music reviews, this book explores the counterculturalfringes of Kent, Ohio, over four decades. Firsthandreminiscences from musicians, promoters, friends, and fans recountarena shows featuring acts like Pink Floyd, The Clash, and PaulSimon as well as the grungy corners of town where Joe Walsh,Patrick Carney, Chrissie Hynde, and DEVO refined their crafts. Fromback stages, hotel rooms, and the saloons of Kent, readers willtravel back in time to the great rockin' nights hosted in thissmall town.More than just a retrospective on performances that occurred inone midwestern college town, Prufer's book illuminates afascinating phenomenon: both up-and-coming and major artists knewKent was a place to play—fertile ground for creativity,spontaneity, and innovation. From the formation of Joe Walsh'sfirst band, The Measles, and the creation of DEVO in Kent StateUniversity's art department to original performances of PinkFloyd's Dark Side of the Moon and serendipitous collaborations likeEmmylou Harris and Good Company in the Water Street Saloon, theinfluence of Kent's music scene has been powerful. Previouslyovershadowed by our attention to Cleveland as a true musicepicenter, Prufer's book is an excellent and correctiveaddition.Extensively researched for eight years and lavishly illustrated,Small Town, Big Music is the most comprehensive telling of any ofthese stories in one place. Rock historians and fans alike willwant to own this book