Vintage Vinyl Tucson

This week: King Rock and the Knights

"Scandal" b/w "Send-Di" by King Rock and the Knights, Zoom Records ZR-003, 1959 Same, Zoom Records ZR-005 1966

In 1959, two Catalina High School teens, Burt Schneider and Ray Lindstrom, came up with the idea to start a record label while seeing the Elvis-esque Jack Wallace perform at a dance. The pair's Zoom Records became Southern Arizona's first record label; their sessions professionally recorded in Phoenix at Audio Recorders with engineer Jack Miller at the helm. The short-lived but now legendary label produced four records in a seven-month period, with one of the records reissued in 1966.

The 1966 reissue was the 1959 King Rock and the Knights 45, a rockin' rudimentary instrumental effort by an all-Catalina High School band (all of whom are now departed).

Says Ray Lindstrom, "The initial record pressing got very little airplay and went pretty much unnoticed until 1965, when Pittsburgh disc jockey Mike Metrovich, "Mad Mike," decided to use the B-side, "Send-di" as his theme song. I had just moved to Phoenix after graduating from the UA and a Pittsburgh record distributor tracked me down to buy copies of the record for distribution in Western Pennsylvania. I had another thousand pressed and sent off." Copies with a shiny red label and Tucson address are from the rare first pressing (Ray only has one copy left ... pictured is my copy which I've received in a box of 45s as a child), while copies with a maroon, flat label bearing a Phoenix address are from the 1966 pressing.

Lee Joseph grew up in Tucson. He's a DJ (, marketer of cool shit (Reverberations Media) and founder/CEO of internationally respected Dionysus Records, an indie that has long specialized in releasing super-rare music, and more. He came of age in the first wave of Tucson punk rock and is an expert on Tucson music. He now lives in California. Vintage Vinyl is a new, recurring addition to the Tucson Weekly.

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