Radio Host Interviews Forgotten Legends Of Rock 'N' Roll

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Each Friday afternoon in Payson there is a class reunion.

The reunion takes place on the Legendary Artist Series hosted by KRIM Disco Jockey Kelly Watts. The show features reunion music and interviews, and dancing is allowed.

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Local DJ Kelly Watts gets to reminisce about the golden years of rock 'n' roll every Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday Class Reunion. The show airs on KRIM-FM, at 96.3 on your radio dial.

"Radio is fun," Watts said. "You get to listen to music and talk on the air. What could be better? I'm in seventh heaven."

Watts takes music from a particular year between 1954 and 1980 and for that three-hour period he plays nothing but the oldies from that year.

One day he got to thinking about a CD he had purchased, supposedly by The Vogues, a vocal harmony group from Pennsylvania popular in the mid-1960s. When he looked at the cover he didn't recognize any of the faces, and when he checked the artists' names, they weren't right.

"I put the album on and listened to it and they sounded OK but they weren't as good as the originals," he said. "I thought, someday I'm gonna follow up on this. Fast forward about a year and a half and I'm doing this oldies show."

So Watts Googled "Hugh Geyer" who was one of the original members of The Vogues.

"It directed me to another Web site for Chuck Blasko who was another original member of The Vogues," Watts said.

Both Geyer and Blasko are still alive and performing but they are not allowed to use the group name they made famous because a former manager owns the copyright to the name and promotes the group with none of the original members.

Watts e-mailed Blasko that he would like to tell their story on the air. He admits, didn't believe the interview would ever happen until one day his cell phone rang.

"Hi, Kel, I'm Chuck Blasko from The Vogues," the voice on the other line said.

They talked for about 45 minutes and arranged for an interview on the air.

A year away from 60 himself, Watts realized that some of the people who were the backbone of rock ‘n' roll aren't around any longer.

"I sat down and I just started thinking about all the groups I would like to interview," Watts said.

Since then Watts has interviewed Neil Sedaka, Brenda Lee, Jocko from Sha Na Na and many other artists.

Positive response for interview requests has surprised Watts.

When he has asked artists why they are so happy to grant them, he's learned they feel their music is not being played much any longer and they still have a loyal base of fans who want to listen. And they are grateful to be remembered.

"I was talking to Jocko from Sha Na Na a couple of weeks ago," Watts said. "Jocko said the songs that we play in concert, the fans sing along with. I can't see that happening with the music released in the '80s and '90s." Watts can't see it happening either.

The good news for fans is that many of the artists are coming out with new CDs and sometimes he gets to play them on the air.

"Cat in the P.T. Cruiser" is one of four new songs from the new Sha Na Na album. Watts got to play it along with three other songs before the CD had even been released.

"It's a great little song," said Watts.

His interest in radio goes back to the first time he saw a deejay at a dance when he was 12.

Before he finished high school he had passed the "exhausting" test and obtained his license.

Deejaying at KRIM and KMOG remind him of the small town Pennsylvania stations where he started and where he feels at home.

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