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Jeff TowerMeet Our Staff: Jeff

Hailing from an altogether less fascinating part of Northeast Ohio than where Mike O is from, Jeff was born way too long ago, in a world in which punk did not yet exist. And now that we have piqued your interest....

Despite growing up in the virtual shadow of Kent State University, both geographically and chronologically, (What? Haven't you ever heard of time shadows?) Jeff's first exposure to punk didn't come until the early 1980's, when he first heard Kent's most famous band, Devo, playing their most famous song, Whip It, on a little-known station called MTV. We hear MTV played music once upon a time... Anyway, he hated it.

Fortunately for Jeff, and we suppose for the future prospects of SSCR Tampa, also playing on MTV at the time were legendary punk stalwarts The Clash. The Only Band That Matters was the only band young Jeff needed to seed musical interests as diverse as they were, and eventually, Jeff would make up for lost time. He dove into the post-punk and new wave origins of what later would be called "alternative rock", finding influences among Elvis Costello, Ric Ocasek, Madness, and Talking Heads. Jeff even learned to love Devo, after finding that their only mainstream hit was a far cry from the much better material that never made it to MTV. He also would discover music from the previous decade, becoming a fan of such artists as The Ramones, Warren Zevon, The Sex Pistols, Meatloaf, Blue Oyster Cult, and Donnie Iris. The last three of these formed the basis of Jeff's first concert: A 1990 concert in Jeff's hometown, which lasted for 12 hours. This was the most interesting thing to happen musically in Garrettsville, Ohio, until Insane Clown Posse chose this small town to host the first of several annual "Gathering of the Juggalos" in 2003. 

The early 1980's also started for Jeff a lifelong love for radio, which itself grew out of a love for baseball... or maybe an aversion to bedtime. Jeff learned, while listening to Pittsburgh Pirates games on KDKA, that "bedtime after the game" could be extended by an hour or two by finding games on St. Louis' KMOX, Atlanta's WSB, Cincinnati's WLW (both the Braves and the Reds were in the NL West at the time), or some other AM station carrying a West Coast game. So it was only natural that when Jeff was in college, he would pursue a career in radio, landing first at WCVJ near Cleveland. Thus started a profitable and rewarding career in the exciting format of Christian Contemporary Music... hmmm, okay, maybe not. Jeff returned to college, but found the music more to his liking when he worked at campus station WFAL of Bowling Green State University. He also discovered "new media" in the form of this newfangled Internet thing, which the Toledo Blade told him was just a fad. 

Jeff also met his wife at Bowling Green, and together they share a deep and abiding love of... um, Dropkick Murphys, and a tolerance for one another.😄 After hopping about Ohio, Atlanta, and Orlando, they moved to the Tampa Bay Area in 2012; first to Zephyrhills [The City of Pure Water] and finally to the Sulphur Springs neighborhood of Tampa. As they prepared to move to Tampa in 2020, Jeff decided that wasn't enough stress for him, and had the notion to start SSCR Tampa. (And then 2020 decided that wasn't enough stress for us all, and had the notion to give us a global pandemic.) Much to Jeff's surprise, his wife called his bluff. And so here we are!

[Jeff would like to thank his wonderful wife, who is a much better person than he portrays here. Jeff, however, remains every bit as horrible and altogether unfascinating as he portrays himself. Even more so, if you ask the rest of the SSCR Tampa crew. --ed.]

MikeO BeerMeet Our Staff: Mike O

Hailing from Northeast Ohio, Mike moved to Brooklyn in the mid aughts, to pursue a career of paying rich people obscene amounts of money so other rich people can pretend to live in their homes.

A life-long lover of music, Mike’s inauspicious beginnings involved listening to a lot of soft rock and kid-friendly hits from the likes of Debbie Gibson and Amy Grant. Then party rap became a thing, but his mom confiscated his friends Vanilla Ice tape so that never really caught on (luckily, nobody can really understand what Canadian Reggae star Snow is saying, so mom was ok with it).

Then this whole grunge thing happened, and flooded the radio, so that was the thing for most of Mike’s middle school days, it was somewhere in this phase where Mike also discovered Hum, and Dinosaur Jr. who seemed like one-hit wonders, but we’ll get back to that later.

High School involved trying on a lot of different musical identities, All the girls were listening to Depeche Mode and the Cure, so of course Mike got into them, but the boys were all listening to Rush and Zeppelin, so he listened to that to. It was also around this time when he discovered The Velvet Underground, Jazz, and somehow decided he was going to try to be a raver and started listening to lots of Trip-hop/techno/house/jungle/drum-n-bass/EDM/whatever they’re calling it these days.

A new millennium dawned and Mike finally broke free of his suburban roots, to explore college life in beautiful Dayton, OH. He only lasted a year at college, but finally embraced his destiny as white boy from the suburbs and got really into Wu-Tang Clan and other assorted Hip Hop. He also ended up working with some older guys who had lots of cool band t-shirts that reminded him that he Really did like that Dinosaur Jr. band, so he started listening to that and Sonic Youth, which started him down a weirder path, somehow, he also met some friends who introduced him to Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, and Bluegrass.

Moving back to NE Ohio, Mike started checking out the local music scene, passing up numerous chances to see The Black Keys back when they were just a local band from Akron, in favor of seeing other local bands. There he was introduced to the whole NY indy scene after catching the Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing with The Liars, before anyone knew who any of those guys were. Mike started going to all kinds of local shows seeing tiny little bands from all over the world, most of whom have never been heard from since.

Somewhere around this time is also when he saw what might still be the most amazing thing to ever happen at a show. He went to a tiny punk rock show featuring the Casualties, at an art gallery in Kent, OH. The art Gallery was run by some crackhead, who lived there with his daughter. The show was a an orgy of destruction and mayhem, featuring a mosh pit of big burly dudes beating the shit out of each other in anticipation of an attack from white supremacists.

To wander into that pit would mean annihilation unless you were at least 6 tall and 300 punds of pure muscle.

Imagine the terror coming over him as he saw the crackheads daughter, wandering towards the pit to go get her toys. Surely there was no way for this toddler to make it to the other side.

But then, without warning, a line formed, of punk rockers, linking arms and holding back the mayhem, as though they were parting the red sea.

A kindly punk rock girl with safety pins in her face and spikey hair took the little girl by the hand, and walked her over the puddles of blood, vomit and cheap malt liquor, helped her gather her toys, and walked her back out before the pit resumed as though nothing had happened.

After moving to NYC, Mike found himself making friends in the local music scene, and was introduced again to weirder music, this time shoegaze and dream pop.

Mike got clued into the re-emergence seminal shoegazers, Slowdive when they played a couple tunes for NPR at his friend’s shuffleboard club. Looking to learn more, he discovered that there’s a whole world of bands out there making all the music he had wished he knew about before, and it’s all more readily available than ever.

 

These days, Mike explores those rabbit holes while supposedly working, discovering new music from all around the world to share with our listeners.

Crash SunsetHailing from Maryland, Crash lived close to DC which probably meant he was destined to discover punk music being so close to the seat of government power. First discovering Punk music in middle school, Crash immediately latched on to the music and the culture surrounding it. Spending years in high school in the schools multi-media production program gives him a great background for radio and radio work. Outgoing and always willing to talk to everyone, he has many friends. When Jeff brought up the radio station Crash signed on right away and began contributing to the project even though he came in late to the station.

WillMeet Our Staff: Will

Born in New York City, raised all over the USA, Will was instilled with a love of music early on from his parents. With preferences ranging from reggae and Motown to Mozart and metalcore, if it’s good musicianship, it’s on his playlist. After earning a degree in music business and recording he went on to work in the field of artist management, representing pop culture icon The Amazing Kreskin, traveling across the globe and learning the business.

Ending up in Tampa Bay by a series of events, he has held titles in all manner of fields such as welding, serving as a paramedic in various counties and playing in numerous bands. He currently is the vocalist for hardcore band The Crucible, based in Clearwater and hosts The Breakdown with Will, on Thursdays at 8pm. When not on the air you may see him around in the area checking out local bands with his wife and daughter, or sampling boutique rum and barbecue.