When Jeb Wright started ClassicRockRevisted.com in 1999, he had no journalism experience, but he still somehow managed to turn the site into a popular destination for fans of, well, classic rock. To celebrate Classic Rock Revisited's 10th anniversary, Wright is compiling of series of books featuring interviews no longer posted on the site. The first book is themed "Stadium Rock," and it features such artists as Ted Nugent, Steve Miller, Styx, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Journey and Boston.
Now, it's easy to fault Wright for not being a professional journalist — From the Vault is riddled with misuse of commas, improper word choices ("gambit" instead of "gamut") and questions that make him seem like a fan boy — but there's something charming about this guy that gets artists to open up to him. For example, he snagged an interview with elusive ex-Journey vocalist Steve Perry in 2005 (something other rock journos were unable to do). Kansas drummer Phil Ehart discusses the death of his dad during the making of Vinyl Confessions and the role Christianity played in the band, Boston mastermind Tom Scholz focuses on the suicide of Brad Delp and a multitude of lawsuits, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry gets all emotional, former Foreigner singer Lou Gramm explains his career-changing illness, and Sammy Hagar shares his successful business secrets.
Wright's detailed knowledge of each artist works to his advantage and will appeal to other hardcore fans. His lengthy 2001 conversation with REO Speedwagon keyboardist Neal Doughty is the most thorough exploration of that band I've ever seen from a web site, and a 2003 interview with Foghat drummer Roger Earl proves to be more entertaining than his band's music. About the only interviews that don't work here are with Paul Rodgers (who doesn't really share anything new) and Dennis DeYoung (who hardly shares anything at all).
A fast and entertaining read, this book promises to deliver candid interviews, and it does. Up next in the series: Heavy metal.