Elimination of Rock Stage contributed to On the Waterfront’s demise

Editor’s note: The following is in response to Paul Gorski’s Jan. 30-Feb. 5 “Meet John Doe” column “The iPod killed On the Waterfront?”

In response to Mr. Gorski’s article about the iPod killing On the Waterfront (OTW), I will have to agree with him — but only partly. I do believe that the different modalities of music gathering and music absorption have definitely hurt a lot of musical venues, but I’m going to take it one step further and say OTW killed OTW.

Now, granted I was only a pup in the ’90s, my favorite memory of OTW was when the hair metal band Nitro came to town to the Rock Stage. They had Michael Angelo Batio playing a four-neck guitar faster than anyone has played guitar. I was probably 5 or 6, but it blew my mind.

That was the best part of OTW: The Rock Stage. Rockford is not called ROCKford for nothing. We’re blue-collar that way. We love our rock, we love our metal.

I used to be in the local rock/metal scene, and people would lose their minds at shows. It was their outlet. The Rock Stage was Rockford’s mecca at OTW. I remember that stage being more packed than Davis Park.

Seeing Union Underground, Nitro, NightRanger, winning KISS tickets there … we Rockfordians loved the Rock Stage. I think when the Rock Stage got canned, it alienated a lot of our residents — A LOT. I heard it got eradicated because of the goth and metal kids who would always cause trouble. That’s crap. Those kids kept the numbers up. They were harmless little punks who dressed in black. I was one of them, at times.

So, what this boils down to is IF OTW comes back, try to include more rock/metal shows. It will help bring the droves back. Don’t alienate a VERY prominent demographic.

Thank you, Mr. Gorski — great article.

Shawn Williams

From the March 6-12, 2013, issue

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