It mattered, believe me. Just as it mattered when Kweder was at a show, or Michele Polizzi, another older generation guy who did overnight DJ shifts for college radio, rubbed elbows with international music-scene legends, and even had the materials to do a psychedelic light show. We hired Michele to do one for one of our record release shows. He had wild, tight curly hair and was French. Super nice guy, and his presence at a show held great weight.
If The Colonel was one of Philadelphia’s longtime music-scene legends, then Kenn Kweder, who’s thankfully still with us and still making music and mirth, is another. Kenn is one of those guys who, in the mid-1970s through early-1980s, was probably “on the verge” of getting signed and breaking out nationally. There must be an artist or two like this in all our local scenes, who have a wide draw and deep appeal in their hometown but never quite get to the next level of their aspirations. Willie “Loco” Alexander, from Boston, may be a better-known equivalent of an artist of Kweder’s unique standing. I imagine he had his own loyal version of The Colonel.
The Colonel was considered the Philly scene’s expert on all things Rolling Stones, just as another local musician and journalist who died a year or two ago, Peter Brown, was our scene’s resident expert on all things Dylan. I’m approaching – who am I kidding? – I HAVE LONG BEEN part of the older Philly scene. My generation has a resident expert on all things hardcore punk, a great guy named Chuck Meehan, one of our punk scene’s DIY promoters and my generation’s Punk Rock Mayor of Philadelphia. Generations younger than mine have their Tom Sheehy, their Kenn Kweder, their Michele Polizzi, their Peter Brown, their Chuck Meehan.
Who’s your scene’s local legend(s) – not artists and peripheral business/media contributors who actually broke through (the first person who mentions Bill Graham as the San Francisco scene’s “local legend,” for instance, will be put in the penalty box), but local legends who butted right up against your scene’s glass ceiling?
Let’s raise a toast to our scenes’ local legends!