Where the ‘Akron Sound’ Abounds

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Pop-up museum’s contents will soon go global

by Michelle DeShon

Wayne Beck, curator of the “Akron Sound” Museum standing amidst his collection at Summit Artspace. (PHOTO: theakronsoundmuseum.com)
Wayne Beck, curator of the “Akron Sound” Museum standing amidst his collection at Summit Artspace. (PHOTO: theakronsoundmuseum.com)

It is clear that Wayne Beck has a passion for Akron’s music history. One can sense it in the way he eagerly points from photograph to photograph telling the story of the “Akron Sound” while listing names like Tin Huey, The Bizarros, The Trend Setters, Rubber City Rebels, Fifth Wheel, The Hurt, Red Sun Rising, Chi Pig, Unit 5, The Black Keys and Devo.

Beck brought his collection of the “Akron Sound” to Summit Artspace from May 19 to June 4 as a temporary pop-up museum. According to his archivist, there are approximately 400 items in his collection. Yet, Beck estimated that only 40 percent of it was displayed in the pop-up museum.

“It started with four milk crates. Now I have to rent a car to transport it,” he said.

Some of the items were originally his, while others were donations. His collection kept growing and taking on a life of its own, and he thought that instead of just making an exhibit, it should be a museum. The Akron native said that he was ready to do something he was truly passionate about.

“I don’t want to go work for a bunch of millennials anymore,” Beck laughed. “I’m just too old for that.”

According to Beck, his collection is unique because it encompasses all of the “Akron Sound” movement. He said that this musical movement, which took place back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, was unique because there are so many little connections that link all these Akron bands together. The concept of the museum is to preserve the legacy of Akron’s music history during this particular time.

Beck’s Devo painting hangs above photographs of Mark Mothersbaugh, lead singer of Devo, signing the painting at the Akron Art Museum. (PHOTO: Michelle DeShon / The Devil Strip)
Beck’s Devo painting hangs above photographs of Mark Mothersbaugh, lead singer of Devo, signing the painting at the Akron Art Museum. (PHOTO: Michelle DeShon / The Devil Strip)

Beck was excited to show his Devo painting, by Akron artist Jason Scala, that was recently signed by Mark Mothersbaugh during his Myopia exhibit at the Akron Art Museum. The painting is now irreplaceable because no one else in the world has the same one. The artist, who typically works in black and white, added the signature red Devo hats for Beck. Photographs hanging underneath the painting show Mothersbaugh and Beck at the Akron Art Museum.

A glass frame protects a pair of original pants worn by Rod Firestone of the Rubber City Rebels for only one concert. These are no ordinary pants, though. They are constructed out of inner tubes and rubber cement. A closer look reveals details like rubber valves and large staples.

Beck enthusiastically announced that the Akron-Summit County Public Library will digitally archive the contents of his museum. When the process is complete, anyone in the world will be able to research Beck’s collection.

“The ‘Akron Sound’ Museum now can go global,” he said.“The next step is to make sure every single button and tag and comb and everything else is archived.”

According to him, the library should have everything archived by the end of this summer. The three-dimensional items will remain in his care as he searches for a permanent location to house the collection.

(Featured image by Michelle DeShon)

 

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