If Seattle is known for one thing it’s music; Quincy, Jimi, Kurt, and so on – You know the list. And as recent as 10 years ago the music industry was a completely different animal than we see today. Last decades musician’s had to fight, grind, and struggle to make it. No internet, no YouTube to get your name to the masses.
Often it wasn’t a matter of talent, or even hard work that made the difference, but knowing the right people behind the scenes – Seattle’s very own star-makers.These people were, once upon a time; record store owners that stocked and sold the product, radio Dj’s that drove the sales, and fanzine & newsprint journalist’s that wrote reviews and gave fans a behind the scenes look at their favorite artists. The “machine” was especially alive and well in Seattle in the 1980’s and 90’s, one of its key movers and shakers was Shockmaster Glen Boyd.
Glen Boyd had his hands in every aspect of artist promotion. His record and tape store “Music Menu” was Seattle’s hot-spot for new music. Located just blocks from Franklin High School in Seattle, kids would travel from as far as Tacoma or Everett just to pick up new stock.
Operating one of Seattle’s most successful record stores may have been enough for some, but that was just the day job; as Glen moonlighted as the pioneer of FM Rap radio with his show “Shock Frequency.” Radio was obviously in his blood, as Glen went on to partner with Seattle’s “Godfather” of Rap Radio Nasty Nes Rodriguez as co-host of KCMU’s highly rated “Rap Attack,” (a partnership which they would also share as co-host’s of Seattle’s “Bomb Shelter Videos”).
I guess Glen didn’t need sleep, because he still found time to write reviews and news for a number of both local and national newspapers and magazines; such as The Rocket, The Source, Tower Records Pulse, and Spin. As we said before, Shockmaster Glen Boyd had all aspects of the star-making machine running on full throttle.
His proudest achievement? Being instrumental in the early career of award-winning artist Sir Mixalot. It was a young and hungry Sir Mixalot that made regular trips to Glen’s record store to ask Glen to critique his newest demo-tapes. Although sometimes drowning in product from local artist’s fighting for Glen’s approval, Mixalot’s music stood out as something special. So much in fact that Glen began writing about the hot new artist in some of the Newspapers and Magazines, giving Mixalot the attention necessary to get the breaks he needed.
Glen continued working with Sir Mixalot and close friend and business partner Nasty Nes, and was a major player in the forming of Seattle’s first hip hop record label, “Nasty Mix”. Mixalot provided the talent, Nes made sure the records were getting national airplay, and Glen was sure that the albums were available nationwide. Glen’s reputation as a major player in the entertainment game was so stellar that it eventually caught the eye of (American Records) President and Founder Rick Rubin. Before long Glen was making major calls as part of Rick Ruben’s inner circle.
Fast forward to 2011: It’s been years since Glen closed down the old record store, said “no thanks” to the late night radio shows, and left Rick Ruben’s empire to survive on its own. Yes, Glen has returned to his roots in West Seattle for a more quite life.
But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still fire burning in the Shockmaster. Glen is still putting in long hours with his longtime mistress; music. Although this time, it’s a slightly different arena.
Glen has (for the most part) given up rocking the airwaves, although you will still catch him from time to time doing a guest spot with (KUBE 93) Dj B-Mello, or his longtime friend Nasty Nes Rodriguez. Instead Glen spends the majority of his time focusing on his writing.
You can find Glen’s still thought provoking articles on several internet blogs, his critiques of newly released albums as well as old favorites are available at theglenblog.blogspot.com, as well as blogcritics.org, and therockologist.com. But what most Glen Boyd fans are most anxious about is the Unauthorized Neil Young Biography (Neil Young FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker) that Glen has just completed and is available at Amazon.Com and a number of other outlets.
So the next time you’re visiting the West Seattle Junction, take a minute to appreciate that you may be walking the same stones as the Shockmaster himself. Appreciate that any restaurant or coffee shop on the strip could have been the place Glen sat while making (or breaking) your favorite musician’s career.
And if you happen to bump into Seattle’s favorite (music) scribe, understand that you have just touched greatness.