Sunday, January 09, 2000

City has its share of rock treasures

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hey VH1, we've got the goods. The cable TV channel specializing in adult rock 'n' roll has started a new program, VH1 Rock Collectors, a sort of Antiques Roadshow for the lava lamp set.

  Let's convince Bill Brand and his appraisers that we've got the right stuff. If VH1 Rock Collectors comes to town, tell us what you would show them.
  Send us descriptions and/or photos of your rock memorabilia collections along with your name and daytime phone number.
  We'll print the best — and pass all of them along to VH1. Send to Rock Collections, c/o Tempo, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. Fax: 768-8330. E-mail:
  Deadline: Jan. 31.
        But though the hour-long show, airing at noon Saturdays, has sent its troupe of traveling appraisers to such towns as Cleveland, Miami, Las Vegas, Austin and New York, they seem to have forgotten Cincinnati.

        “There are a lot of collectors here,” says Darren Blase, owner of Shake It! Records, a collector-oriented store in Northside.

        Memorabilia from such local music institutions as King and Fraternity records, James Brown, the Isley Brothers, Lonnie Mack, untorn tickets for Elvis' last concert, one of the largest private collections of psychedelic posters from San Francisco's golden age of rock concerts — local collectors boast all these and more.

        Cincinnati was a rock 'n' roll town long before the music had a name. Syd Nathan's King label was releasing seminal R&B and country boogie in the '40s and many of those discs, which would go on to inspire Elvis and the rest of rock's first generation, found their way into local collections.

        But Cincinnati may finally get its long-overdue notice, as relics from the first century of rock 'n' roll are predicted to be the next big collectible craze.

        That's one of the reasons executive producer Bill Brand came up with VH1 Rock Collectors.

        “You find great items and great stories, and we found a vehicle in this show to put the two together,” Mr. Brand says.

        So far there are no plans to bring VH1 Rock Collectors here, even though Mr. Brand, a former Ohio University student, knows the area well. “I used to go to Cincinnati all the time,” he says.

        Six episodes have been produced so far. A dozen more are planned.


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