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5 Questions with...97.1 FM The Drive's Bob Stroud

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5 Questions with...97.1 FM The Drive's Bob Stroud

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

December 9, 2009

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with a new weekly feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeka true pioneer in Chicagos storied rock n roll radio historyhes been a fixture on the local airwaves for thirty years and his Rock N Roll Roots program continues to entertain both old and new listeners to this dayhe can be heard weekdays from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on WDRV 97.1 FM The Drivehere are 5 Questions withBOB STROUD!

BIO: Born in Kalamazoo, MI, Bob Stroud's first radio gig in Chicago was with WMET in 1979. Since then he has truly become a Chicago radio icon, and considered to be the most respected voice of rock & roll in the city.

An acknowledged music junkie, Stroud's non-radio musical past includes playing his grandmother's Perry Como 78's on her Victrola in 1957; buying his first four 45's in 1962; getting his first transistor radio in 1963; buying "Meet the Beatles" in 1964; and fronting an 11-piece rock and R&B band called Rockestra from 1990 2000. In late 2003 Bob was contacted by Cryan' Shames percussionist, Jim Pilster, aka, J.C. Hooke, and invited to become the new lead singer of this legendary Chicago band. When Bob bought his first Cryan' Shames record at 15, he never dreamed he'd join the band at 51.

His understated presentation combined with WDRV's focus on the music has resulted in WDRV being a top ranked station during midday's since the day WDRV launched. In fact, it was Bob's voice that introduced Chicagoan's to 97.1 FM The Drive on April 2, 2001, the day it launched.

In 1980, Stroud created the popular Rock & Roll Roots show. "Roots", as it is commonly referred to, spotlights different artists and groups from 1964 to the early 70's, and has become a radio staple for classic rock fans. It airs on WDRV-FM every Sunday from 7a-10a.

1) CSNChicago.com: Bob, calling you a rock n roll historian would be an understatement to say the least and your Rock N Roll Roots show (Sundays from 7:00-10:00 AM on WDRV) has been a Chicago institution for years. What is it about music from the 60s and 70s that has such a grip on our culture to this day?

Stroud: I don't know that it does, or if it's just gripping to those of us who lived through it in the first place. If you look at ratings, for example, The Drive doesn't have an overwhelming number of 18 to 34 year old listeners. Yet 45 to 64 year old listeners flock to the station. There are some elements of the era that do transcend the ages, like The Beatles. They'll never go out of style, they'll never go out of fashion because, as we like to say at The Drive, their music is timeless. Back to your original question, the music of those decades continues to grip the population who lived it because it's legitimately good music and it carries those oh so important memories that mean as much to us as the music does. Every generation will experience this phenomenon with the music they grew up loving.

2) CSNChicago.com: It was recently announced that The Who will be performing live at halftime of the Super Bowl in February. The bands legendary lead singer Roger Daltrey has been on a solo tour of late to keep his voice in tact for The Whos next project, but its also been reported that Daltrey has struggled a bit on his tour and that his brilliant voice is no where near what it once was. Do you think both he and partner Pete Townshend may be a bit concerned that Daltreys voice come Super Bowl Sunday may become an issue in their performance? Were talking the Super Bowl here with millions of old andpotentially new fans watching.

Stroud: Being a singer of some note myself, I can tell you first hand that vocal chords are a very temperamental instrument. They've got to be babied, coddled and taken care of as much, if not more than any other muscle in your system. It's got to be tough for Daltrey after singing with such intensity for this side of 50 years to come close to sounding like he did in his classic era. Nobody sounds exactly like they did in their 20's. That said, the truly great ones always rise to the occasion and I've got to believe that, one way or another, Daltrey will find a way to pull it off.

3) CSNChicago.com: Youve no doubt been to hundreds and hundreds of concerts in your lifetime. Certainly not an easy question here, but tell us the best concert you have ever seen?

Stroud: Impossibly tough question as I can't begin to remember all the concerts I've seen. Seems like I lived at the Park West in the '80's. In no particular order, here are a few that standout in my memory:

- Paul McCartney at the United Center circa '02: Great staging, spot on sound, and how often are you in the same room with true legends?

- My first Springsteen concert, Orlando, FL circa '77: Wow! I was just so pumped and he just so delivered!

- Roy Orbison at the Riviera circa '88: Huge fan and those songs just kill me. Watching the audience surge towards the stage at the end of every operatic finish and then have Orbison standing there with one hand on his hip soaking in the adulation will forever be imprinted in my mind.

- Raspberries at House of Blues circa '07: Never saw them first time around, but bought all their records. They sounded so good on this reunion tour it was sick. Absolutely sardine-packed house sweating to every last power-pop nugget.

- First Elvis Costello tour of the states with Nick Lowe and Mink Deville in Tampa, FL. circa '78: I was a ravenous fan of all three acts and to see them all on the same bill was a "died and gone to heaven" experience.

4) CSNChicago.com: There have been many debates over the years on whats the best band to ever come out of our fine city. Bands like Cheap Trick, Styx and, of course, Chicago immediately comes to mind. Who would be your personal pick?
Stroud: I have trouble with "best" and "favorite." "Best" is so subjective, so I've got to go with "favorite. I have many and being as old school as I am, I have to start with the 60's era bands that came out of Chicago. As a kid, I bought anything that came out of Chicago...Cryan' Shames, Buckinghams, Ides of March, New Colony Six, Shadows of Knight, American Breed, Mauds, Riddles, Flock, etc. Couldn't get enough of it. I thought the first couple of Chicago albums were revelatory. Some really ingenious stuff. And even though they were miles west of here, I'm a huge fan of Cheap Trick as well.

5) CSNChicago.com: Your popularity, along with The Drives overall popularity, continues to bring in big audiences to the station 247. Do you think thats a factor of a rising older demographic that is attracted to the music of their generation or, is it simply that the music stands the test of time no matter how young or old you may be?

Stroud: Well as I stated earlier, I think our popularity is mainly with the fans that lived the music the first time around. That said, we do receive a good percentage of e-mail from listeners who are teens and 20-somethings who are into the music because they recognize there is a level of musicianship and songwriting that doesn't exist in a lot of today's efforts. That and the fact that they were raised on it because of their parents can also certainly be a factor. And again, there is an element to much of it that does and will stand the test of time.

Weather it's the Beatles or Stones, Motown or Styx, a lot of this will never fade away.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: What is else going on Bob, anything you would like to promote? CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Stroud: I'm an animal lover. I give regularly to PAWS (www.paws.org), the no-kill shelter, and I encourage others to look into giving to the organization of their choice. Animals are so often the thread that holds our lives together. Think of them this holiday season when you've got a few extra bucks laying around.

Stroud LINKS:

WDRV 97.1 FM The DriveBob Stroud page

WDRV 97.1 FM The DriveRock N Roll Roots page

Bobs Rock n Roll Roots blog

Bobs Ten at 10 link on WDRV.com

Bobs One 45 at 1:45 link on WDRV.com

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

Jake Arrieta full of appreciation in return to Wrigley mound: ‘I’ll never forget this city’

The last time Jake Arrieta pitched at Wrigley Field, his night ended with Cubs fans giving him a rousing standing ovation. The former Cubs right hander tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cubs to victory in Game 4 of the 2017 NLCS—their only win against the Los Angeles Dodgers that series.

Arrieta returned to Wrigley Field as a visitor on Monday night, making his first start against the Cubs since joining the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Ironically, Arrieta’s counterpart for the night was Yu Darvish, who ultimately replaced Arrieta in the Cubs starting rotation.

Despite now donning Phillies red, Cubs fans once again showed their love for Arrieta, giving him a lengthy standing ovation ahead of his first plate appearance. Darvish even stepped off the mound in respect for the moment.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to reporters postgame. “[I’m] very happy that our fans would acknowledge him like that. Yu stepped away from the mound nicely. Jake deserved it.”

Arrieta tipped his helmet in appreciation for the crowd, taking in the moment for more than 30 seconds before stepping into the batter’s box. After the game, he told reporters that moment brought back memories of his time with the Cubs.

“That was something that really brought back great memories of getting that same sort of ovation pretty much on a nightly basis,” Arrieta said. “[I’m] very appreciative of that. I can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago, I really can’t.”

Arrieta took fans back to his Cubs tenure on Monday, throwing six innings of one run ball in the Phillies’ 5-4 10-inning win. Although the 33-year-old didn’t pick up the victory, he matched Darvish—who threw six innings of three-run ball—pitch by-pitch.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler noted how well Arrieta handled his emotions throughout the night.

“I thought he handled the emotions really well. I thought he was in control of the game even when we were down,” Kapler said to reporters. “He always maintained his poise and he just got stronger as the outing went on and that’s why we were able to have him take down the sixth inning for us.”

It’s well-documented how Arrieta’s career improved for the better after the Cubs acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2013. When the Cubs acquired him, Arrieta held a career 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts). He finished his Cubs career with a 2.73 ERA in 128 regular season starts. He also won five postseason games with the Cubs, including Games 2 and 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Despite moving on in free agency, Arrieta spoke highly of his time with the Cubs, their fans and the city of Chicago.

“Cubs fans all across the country, all across the world, they really respect and appreciate what guys are able to do here for them,” he said. “It means a lot, it really does.

"I’ll never forget this city, the fan base, the organization, everything that they did for me. It was 4 1/2 incredible years of my career.”

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Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish crashed Jake Arrieta's party, but Cubs bullpen falters

Yu Darvish was one pitch away.

Holding onto a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth inning, Darvish threw Phillies catcher JT Realmuto a 2-2 cutter. It made sense - Darvish had been spotting that pitch well all night, and the Phillies were averaging a paltry 79.8 mph exit velocity against it.

With one strike standing between Darvish and a 6-inning shutout, Realmuto took Darvish’s cutter and sent it back up the middle for a game-tying RBI single. A 2-RBI triple from César Hernández followed. In the blink of an eye, what was shaping up to be one of Darvish’s finest moments in Chicago was instead reduced to yet another start spent searching for silver linings.

“Really good. He was outstanding tonight,” Joe Maddon said. “He pitched really well.

“He had really good stuff. He had command of his stuff, he had command of himself. I thought he was outstanding - even better than what he looked like in Cincinnati. I thought that was probably his best game for us to date.”

Darvish has continued to lean heavily on his cutter this season, more so than any year prior. After throwing it 13 percent of the time last season, he’s going to that pitch almost 25 percent of the time now. If that holds, it’d beat his previous career-high, set in 2013, by six percentage points.

All things considered, that pitch has actually been good for him this season. It’s his go-to offering when he needs to induce weak contact, and batters are hitting .125 against it so far. He gets batters to chase cutters 29.5 percent of the time, the most of any pitch he throws. While he has admitted in games past that he relies too heavily on his fastball, Maddon sees no issues with the new trend.

“I have no concerns with that whatsoever,” he said. “There’s different ways for pitchers to attack hitters, and if it's successful, I really would not change a whole lot.”

Though the night was dedicated to celebrating one of the franchises most beloved pitchers, it was one of their most maligned that continued to show signs of figuring it out. He’s put together back-to-back starts with three or less walks for the first time this season, and has allowed two or less runs in three of the last five.

The pitcher even stepped off the mound during Arrieta’s first at-bat, in order to let the standing ovation continue on.

“He’s is a legend in Chicago,” Darvish said after the game. “And I pitched against him and pitched pretty good, so it makes me confident.”

The bullpen again struggled on Monday night, as the trio of Mike Montgomery, Brad Brach, and Kyle Ryan allowed two runs on five hits, including the game-winning solo home run from Realmuto in the 10th. For a moment it looked like the Cubs had a win wrapped up when Brach got outfielder Andrew McCutchen to bite on a two-strike slider, but was (probably incorrectly) called a checked swing.  He would eventually draw a walk, leading to Jean Segura’s game-tying single.

“On the field, I thought for sure [that McCutchen swung],” Brach said. “Looking at the first base umpire, I was a little taken aback. That’s why I went off the mound - just to regather myself, because I didn’t want to let the emotion get to me there.

“It’s a 50-50 call, and unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”

 

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