• "Stomp and Shout succeeds in making the case for the Northwest Sound as a distinct musical genre and as a significant element of both Black culture and youth culture with a lasting impact on the regional psyche."

[Kurt Armbruster, author of Before Seattle Rocked: A City and Its Music]

  • "I can't think of anyone who knows more about, and has a deeper love for, the early days of NW R&B and rock 'n' roll than Peter Blecha. Lucky for us, he shares his love and knowledge in Stomp and Shout!”

[Mark Arm, Mudhoney]

  • An impressive geo-musical chronicle of the pre-grunge Pacific Northwest music scene with an insightful and fresh approach that adds an essential layer of voices to this critical chorus of music writers, historians, and artists."

[George Plasketes, author of Warren Zevon: Desperado of Los Angeles]

  • "Grunge fans should check out Stomp and Shout, a meticulously detailed early history of Northwest R&B and rock and roll. Blecha presents a fascinating narrative of the globally influential garage bands that also inspired Sub Pop Records. Highly recommended!"

[Bruce Pavitt, cofounder of Sub Pop Records]

  • "Stomp and Shout may very well go down as the last word on the primal music that oozed out of the Pacific Northwest’s primordial muck, covering the world in some of the most despicable, evil, exciting music ever perpetrated. Peter Blecha is probably the only person who could have written the story." 
            [Marsh Gooch, NuDisc.net]
  • "Blecha finally delivers his long-awaited magnum opus on early Northwestern U.S. rock music. Having conducted more than 300 interviews, he begins with the Northwest pioneers of jump blues and R&B including Ray Charles, Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, and saxophonist Billy Tolles. Showing the merger of R&B with rock, Blecha features Little Bill and the Bluenotes, the Dave Lewis Combo, the Wailers, and the Dynamics, which featured future jazz guitar icon Larry Coryell. He chronicles the national breakthroughs of the vocal trio, the Fleetwoods, and the instrumental blockbusters, the Ventures. Blecha furnishes new insights into the early music and stage act of the Seattle born-and-bred Jimi Hendrix and focuses on the proto-punk, unfettered wildness of the Sonics. He concludes with the commercialization of the Northwest sound by the highly successful Paul Revere and the Raiders. Along the way, he highlights major venues, such as Seattle's Birdland and the Spanish Castle, DJs, such as Pat O'Day, the role of "Louie Louie" in Northwest rock, and pivotal record labels such as Dolton, Jerden, and the Wailers' Etiquette Records. VERDICT: In a tour de force, Blecha offers all music fans the definitive book about the highly significant but much neglected story of Northwestern U.S. rock."

    [Library Journal, Dr. Dave Satzmary]
  • "Long before the world discovered grunge, the Pacific Northwest was already home to a singular music culture. In the late 1950s, locals had codified a distinct offshoot of rockin' R&B, and a surprising number of them would skyrocket to success, including Little Bill & the Bluenotes, the Wailers, Ron Holden, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Kingsmen, Merrilee Rush, and the Sonics.

    Peter Blecha tells the story of music in the Pacific Northwest from the 1940s to the 1960s, a golden era that shaped generations of musicians to come. The local R&B scene evolved out of the area's vibrant jazz scene, and Blecha illuminates the musical continuum between Ray Charles (who cut his first record in Seattle) and Quincy Jones to the rock 'n' rollers who forged the classic jazz-tinged “Northwest Sound."

    Blecha offers highly entertaining firsthand accounts gleaned from hundreds of interviews. DJs built a teen dance circuit that the authorities didn't like but whose popularity pushed bands to develop crowd-friendly beats. Do-it-yourself enthusiasts launched groundbreaking record companies that scored a surprising number of hit songs.

    Highlighting key but overlooked figures and offering a fresh look at well-known musicians (such as an obscure young guitarist then known as Jimmy Hendrix), Blecha shows how an isolated region managed to launch influential new sounds upon an unsuspecting world."

    [University of Washington Press]















  • "Prohibition came early to Washington State – in 1916 – and kicked off an unforgettable era of nightlife. Prohibition went national in 1920, and a network of roadside inns, taverns and dancehalls just outside Seattle's city limits thrived well into the rockin' 1950s, providing illicit entertainment for those seeking a good time. Spurred on by early car culture and strict liquor laws, places like the Spanish Castle, The Jungle, and the Black Cat sprang into being. Commonly called roadhouses, many of these remote outposts existed along two newly built and parallel stretches of county highways, far from the prying eyes of city police. Fabled speakeasy operator 'Doc' Hamilton founded some of these hideaways. Join the authors Peter Blecha and Brad Holden as they uncover the fascinating era of forbidden nightclubs."





  • "Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington state. It was founded as the American Wine Company, a 1954 merger of the National Wine Company (NAWICO), founded in 1934, and the Pomerelle Wine Company. The French-style chateau is located on 87 acres of land with mature trees that once belonged to lumber baron Frederick Stimson, who used it as a hunting retreat and rural working farm called the Hollywood Farm. Over the years, many of Washington's most prominent winemakers have worked for Chateau Ste. Michelle. With annual production of over 2,000,000 cases a year, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the world's leading producer of Riesling wine. The winery owns several estate vineyards in Eastern Washington including the Canoe Ridge vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, the Cold Creek vineyard and Indian Wells vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA. This book demonstrates how the history of Washington Wine is inextricable from the history of Chateau Ste. Michelle. Not only was CSM a major contributor to getting Washington wines on the map, they have been a major driver in Washington wines becoming renowned worldwide"
  • Puget Sound Business Journal"Peter Blecha is at it again..."



  • AWARD WINNER! In September 2012, Rising Tides and Tailwinds was honored by the American Association of Port Authorities with their Award of Merit.
  • AWARD WINNER! The National Association of Government Communicators announced in October 2012 that Rising Tides and Tailwinds has been honored with a Second Place Award.
  • Steven Beda, H-Environment:Rising Tides and Tailwinds is the best sort of local history: it is attentive to large historical changes but does not lose sight of the personalities and smaller stories that make local histories informative and fun to read … overall, this is an excellent book that a diversity of readers will find valuable. The book’s narrative is clearly presented and the writing is lively. This, along with the beautiful pictures, makes the book accessible even to those unfamiliar with Seattle’s history. At the same time, [the authors] reveal many new dimensions of Seattle’s history that even readers already familiar with the Pacific Northwest’s past will appreciate.” 
  • City Living:Rising Tides features plenty of colorful actors, from fiery longshore-union leader Harry Bridges to railroad mogul James J. Hill. The Port of Seattle, one realizes, hasn’t always been about buttoned-down port commissioners and wedding-cake cruise ships dominating the waterfront. This is Seattle history from another angle.”



  • AWARD WINNER! On April 27, 2010, Sonic Boom was honored by the Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO) with their Virginia Marie Folkins Award, which is presented annually to the author of an "outstanding historical publication."
  • AWARD WINNER! The Association for Recorded Sound Collections announced in October 2010 that Sonic Boom has been honored with a Certificate of Merit in their "Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Rock and Popular Music" category.
  • PopDiggers.com: "Peter Blecha gives an unusually well-founded and detailed account of the formation of the Pacific Northwest’s music scene in the 50s and its growing impact in the 60s. Since much already has been written about the Northwest grunge scene, he wisely concentrates his search light on the undocumented blind spots; the 50s and 60s.”
  • Seattle Public Libraries: "STAFF PICK: This fast-paced trip through local rock history traces the genre’s origins in the Central District’s jazz clubs, follows its development within the 1960s teen dance scene and culminates with the grunge explosion of the 1990s. Even if you don’t care about the tunes or the bands, this volume is a unique pop culture exploration of the Pacific Northwest, as the author incorporates a multitude of behind-the-scenes players, forgotten nightclubs, long-gone radio stations and more."
  • Seattle Metropolitan: "Sonic Boom reclaims our region’s dominance in rock annals and cements Blecha’s reputation as its foremost historian."
  • Expressmilwaukee.com: "Sonic Boom will remain as the source book for anyone interested in the rock of the Pacific Northwest."
  • Record Collector: "...monstrously well-researched... Blecha’s unswerving eye is pretty hard to beat...Sonic Boom is the only story to date on this fertile musical region. More fool the person who tries to write a better one."
  • ink19.com: "...fascinating, highly readable...Blecha has written a definitive musical history of the region."
  • Audio Industry Historical Society: "Respect to the author, my new hero. Incredible work."
  • popmatters.com: "...incredibly engrossing. ..Sonic Boom does a commendable service to the musical history and the sonic identity of the area and its artists."
  • popsyndicate.com: "...an excellent and informative look at the birth of a music scene...Blecha knows his regional music history...an easy and enticing read."
  • Seattle Sound: "...an often surprising and entirely enlightening exploration of Northwest rock history... thanks to Blecha, the rollicking musical past of this corner of the country won't quietly disappear... the stories are skillfully compiled and thankfully told..."
  • blogcritics.com: "...one hell of a story. ...Blecha does not spend a whole lot of time on the Grunge days, which is fine. There has been so much discussion of that period, it really is not necessary here. His research into the early Rock N' Roll days of Seattle is riveting, ...and makes great reading for any music fan."
  • DustyGroove: "The book wisely gives its strongest focus to the 60s – with a wealth of information on the local scenes and small labels who really brought the Northwest sound to the rest of the world – then follows with a bit more on the 70s and 80s, as well as the 90s wave of punk and grunge."
  • Historylink.org: "...a breakthrough book...Blecha expertly weaves quotes into his text, bringing the Northwest rock scene to life through the stories of those who created it... Sonic Boom spends most of its pages covering the 1950s and 1960s, which is needed since that period has largely been glossed over or ignored in the few previous books on Northwest rock. Certainly it has never been told this well and the combination of solid information and Blecha’s superb writing skills make this an important book."
  • Blurt: "Blecha strikes a winning balance through a mixture of scrupulous research and genuine passion for his subject."
  • Ugly Things: "Blecha does a masterful job...Sonic Boom is well written, meticulously researched, and loaded with quotes from interviews conducted by Blecha himself. It is sure to satisfy UT readers."
  • Jerseybeat.com: "...written exactly the way a book, or a song should be written - I felt like I was there experiencing the clubs, the bands, and the whole scene throughout the years. ...it was hard putting it down, and I practically dog-eared every page for reference points."
  • Allan Handelman, Rock Talk radio host: "The Northwest musical influence on the entire rock culture has been overlooked for way too long. This is a great book for anybody who loves Rock 'n' Roll and its hidden history."
  • Booklist: "Blecha lovingly limns the history of rock music in Seattle and the northwestern U.S. ...and the predominant celebratory tone can be infectious."
  • Vintage Guitar: "...highly readable...above all, it establishes the region's long and storied musical past..."
  • Crawdaddy: "Although I’ve become good at judging books by their covers, I’m misled by Sonic Boom...You’d expect grunge...but I’m happily misled, since...a new book on the subject is unnecessary. Blecha sheds new light on the early developments of rock ‘n’ roll. Sonic Boom is a labor of love. Every detail has been painstakingly researched over two decades through hundreds of interviews...authoritative..."
  • antimusic.com: "a fun read and also a great reference tool for those interested in music history...extremely well researched and devoted to detail..."
  • Puget Sound Business Journal: "Blecha’s angle is different. He pens the story from behind the scenes of the early radio stations, recording studios and record labels."
  • CMJ: "The deep rock 'n' roll history of the Northwest has finally been fully chronicled so grab your favorite flannel shirt and find the nearest Starbucks to sit down in and soak up the Sonic Boom."
  • curledup.com: "Finally...this puts it all in perspective for those who thought Oregon and Washington were little more than places with a lot of rain."
  • Tom Dyer, President, Argosy University: "The NW Gospel according to St. Peter - To begin, this is, plain and simple, a highly enjoyable read...Blecha's latest stands up with Charles Cross' Hendrix bio as NW canon. Buy it. Enjoy. I did."
  • Gibson.com: "Seattle’s unofficial curator of rock ’n’ roll charts the evolution of Northwest rock—specifically the era book-ended by those two unmistakable riffs—as told by the musicians, fans, promoters, scenesters, and label heads who lived it."
  • unitedmonkee.com: "...amazing...this book really educated me on an era of rock and roll that I was mostly unfamiliar with and, better yet, an entire subgenre of music I didn't know...fascinating..."
  • King Dinösaur: "If you thought that the Northwest only spawned 'grunge' and...had its musical peak in the 90's then you seriously need to read this book. ...a fascinating look at a long and illustrious musical heritage. ...READ THIS AMAZING BOOK!!!"
  • The Louie Report: "an exceptional book. It’s the most comprehensive book of its kind, documenting an important part of rock and roll musical history that had been ignored for too long. From Jackson Street Jazz of the 1940s to the Grunge Revolution of the 1990s heard around the world, this book provides a great overview of a rich musical heritage. For those that want to learn about the history of Northwest rock and roll, this is an essential reference book."
  • Jet City Blues: "This is a great read, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of Northwest rock and roll."
  •  Priscilla Long (HistoryLink, Founding Editor): "What is forgotten is erased, as if it had never been. A people can be forgotten — erased from history. A culture, which is the soul of a people, can be deleted. And this was the case with Northwest rock music — in many ways the soul of our African American community — before Peter Blecha's book, Sonic Boom. August tomes such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and others dismissed the rich, vibrant, vastly influential history of Northwest rock in one line: 'not much happened.'…Blecha's book alters that perception forever. It is a dense, detailed, articulate, and brilliant account of the music, the musicians, the scene, the culture, and importantly, the infrastructure to support all this."
  •  Seattle Weekly (Brian Miller): "...the jacket flap of Sonic Boom informs us that, 'Pete Blecha was crowned Seattle's unofficial curator of rock 'n' roll by Seattle Weekly.' Really? I can't find that reference..."
  •  Pat Lee @ Oyster Bay Archives: "Short review: Stunning achievement."
  •  Nardwuar: "In my Top-5 for 2009"
  •  NortonRecords.com: "...get ready for a wild ride..."
  •  easystreetonline.com: "MAY -- Book of the Month"
  •  University Book Store: "Staff Pick!"
  •  genestout.com: "...the book that needed to be written..."
  •  Seattle Post-Intelligencer [3/17/09]: "...fascinating..."



  • Seattle Times: “Blecha's book begins in a time we don't know much about and ends in an era we thought we knew everything about...even the most addicted of local music junkies will have never before seen the vast majority of the photos”
  • Vintage Guitar: "Seattle is certainly known for its contributions...but the entire Pacific Northwest region has a serious musical history that has never been told until now."
  • Seattle Sound: “...a fascinating glimpse at the music culture of a city steeped in song...a 101 textbook on Northwest Music History.”
  • Sno-Isle Libraries: "...a slice of history packed with great photographs and illustrations. From forgotten string bands to Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, this is a concise musical snapshot, with generous shout-outs to smaller, less successful bands."
  • Record Collector: "To outsiders, the success of Seattle-area bands in the early 90s seemed to come out of nowhere...[this book] reveals the roots of the region’s music scene. A fun and informative overview of the region. Five Stars!"



  • New York Press: “Peter Blecha has written the first comprehensive history of music censorship.”
  • Riverfront Times: "Taboo Tunes is a compendium of teenage rebellion and adult fear; it's a great read.”
  • NPR All Songs Considered: "Taboo Tunes is about the power of music and the authorities who seek to control it.”
  • Nighttimes.com: "This book is an important piece of musical scholarship peppered with a wry wit and perceptiveness that demands attention."
  • San Francisco Chronicle: "Taboo Tunes romps through centuries of public outrage over music of every sort, from bawdy tavern ditties to gritty hip-hop.”
  • North Bay Bohemian: Taboo Tunes reads like an essential primer for a Culture Wars 101 course. Blecha does a good job of exposing the morality police as they continue their self-righteous attacks.”
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian: "Taboo Tunes offers a studious yet highly entertaining reminder that the relationships among art, commerce, morality, and free speech are forever being renegotiated, often without our consent. Blecha's escalating outrage is refreshingly partisan, and many morsels throughout Taboo Tunes are revelatory.”
  • Allan Handelman, Rock Talk radio: "Blecha has tapped into the magic of Rock N' Roll folklore. ...Taboo Tunes is a must-read for music lovers, pop culture historians and government watchdogs...this book is compelling.”
  • New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Taboo Tunes is an amazing and witty history of lawmen and moral busybodies with too much time on their hands.”
  • DIW: “Armed with two decades of research and a commendable agenda, Blecha brings us Taboo Tunes, his new user-friendly tome that chronicles and comments on the censorship of popular musicians and their creations.”
  • Shredding Paper: “...an engaging and informative read about musical censorship and hopefully one that'll encourage folks to fight for their respective music of choice next time it comes under attack.”
  • AM New York City: "Like Howard Zinn's seminal A People's History of the United States, Blecha's book is a study of the edges of sanctioned culture. ...The histories are immensely valuable, especially in the current climate, where censorship in the mainstream often results in absurdly Victorian modesty.”