Member spotlight | Matt Wilkening

By Allyson Smith

Can you imagine interviewing your favorite band as a kid? Sounds like a dream come true, right?

For TDS member Matt Wilkening, its reality. 

“I grew up a big fan of KISS. When I was 8, that was the first record I ever got and now I’ve interviewed almost all of them and I can’t believe I get to talk to them.”

Matt is the editor-in-chief of ultimateclassicrock.com, which according to Matt, is “one of the biggest rock sites in the world”.

“I didn’t pay much attention in school because I was just reading every issue of Rolling Stone and Spin and every book I could get on music back to back,” Matt says. Now, he can say with confidence that Rob Halford of Judas Priest is “the nicest guy in the world.”

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After graduating, he interned with a small indie label in New York City. When the recording industry “died out”, as Matt puts it, he was inspired by a friend and started writing. 

“He would take me as a plus one to his shows all the time and it finally dawned on me that, ‘Oh, I can do this,” he explains. 

About 11 years ago, Matt moved to Akron with his wife.

“The first thing my wife told me when she said she wanted to move here was there are four drive-ins within driving range. That was like, ‘Okay, I’ll go,’” he says.

In addition to all the drive-in movie theaters, Matt and his family have enjoyed the metro parks and trails and Akron’s art scene. His favorite place in town is Square Records, located in the heart of Highland Square.

“We’re always hiking in the parks, they’re great. And the arts scene, it’s strong here,” he says.