I Wanna Rock: Why Doesn't Tennessee Tech Get Rock Music?

RCA Contract for the Guess Who, 1979.

Jefferson Starship Flier

Jefferson Starship Flier, 1981. 

David Olney and the X-Rays on stage before Jefferson Starship.

David Olney and the X-Rays on stage before Jefferson Starship., 1981.

Jefferson Starship Newspaper Advertisement

Jefferson Starship Newspaper Advertisement, 1981.

Jefferson Starship Guest List 1983 Eagle Yearbook Pages

Yearbook pages expressing students opinion on concerts in the 1983 yearbook. "Entertainment at Tech: A little comedy, a lot of culture, a lack of concerts." Students wished to see artists such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, and Cyndi Lauper.

Concert Opinion Poll

Concert Opinion Poll, circa 1972.

Tech students consistently criticized the selection of big name entertainment on campus. Big name entertainment began around the early 1960s and continues in 2020. In the October 21, 1977 Oracle, an author joked that the homecoming group for 1977 had a big name. According to Dean Gitchegoomie, “’Johann Kirchesteinerstrogenfinkelwagenlangenahmenhabt and his Good Time Boys’ was a very big band name.” In the 1984 Eagle, students praised MTV for providing a much needed resource for rock music since the University did not provide any.

Historically, students asked for more ROCK! The University Programming Committee (UPC) blamed the lack of big name entertainment, notably rock, on poor attendance to shows, a lack of student interest, and the cost for many popular acts as the reasons for not scheduling different concerts. In 1981, Jefferson Starship had only 3,500 attendees and there were other unsuccessful concerts and many that lost the University money. Concert attendance at Tech was a continuing problem which made it difficult to get acts. There was also diversified music interest on campus. Despite conducting polls on student interests, many shows were still poorly attended.