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Memphis has Elvis and Rockford Illinois (my very nearly hometown) has Cheap Trick, the great and extant Power Pop band.  I saw them back in the mid 70s at the Rockford Armory, a big concrete square where the sound ricocheted off every surface like rifle shot and made me deaf for days. 


We know that geography shapes music--you couldn't have Jimmy Buffett without Key West, Fats Domino without steamy New Orleans, Dolly Parton without the Smokey Mountains.  So it stands to reason that you can't have Cheap Trick without rock-rich Illinois.  

There's a lot of Rocks in Illinois and southern Wisconsin--there's Rockton, Rock Cut State Park, Rock County just across the border in Wisconsin, with the mighty Rock River running through it all. sign for rockford bar tads on the rock  This isn't Mt Rushmore sized rock, it's crushed rock, rock quarries, rocky limestone ledges squared off at neat right angles.  It's the bedrock beneath the famously plainspoken midwestern character.


Like all manufacturing towns in the midwest, Rockford is a thirsty town, with a generous array of establishments for slacking ones thirst, like Rocky's Tap and The House of Bottles. 

sign for rockys loves park tapsign for rockford liquor store house of bottles

Bars like Rocky's and Tad's are the humble breeding grounds for solid pop rock music. It doesn't have to be the democratically transcendent rock of Springsteen, it just has to sound really loud in a big cement hall, or a crowded bar.  Not angry CBGB's loud, just--jackhammer, rock-blasting loud.