Past Event

Stairway to Tolkien: A Rock Legacy


All ages
Event photo

From the organizer

Co-presented by Litquake, as part of the Oakland Book Festival

Location: Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 3
Admission: Free

On the 125th anniversary birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the publication of a new book from the archives, we celebrate the author’s most improbable and continuing legacy. Following The Hobbit (1939) and The Lord of the Rings (1954/55), Tolkien’s mythology slowly infiltrated the counterculture via Pink Floyd’s 1967 recording “The Gnome,” and soon thereafter Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” in 1969: “’Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.” Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Rush, Megadeth, Scandinavian metal acts, even Ed Sheeran — what is it about Tolkien that encourages countless bands to sing about wizards and elves and hobbits? We’ve convened a stellar collection of musicians, editors, and artists to discuss.

ALAN FORBES is a rock music poster artist. He developed the signature icon of The Black Crowes, as well as posters, symbols, and album artworks for many other bands, including Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine, The Offspring, White Stripes, AFI, Dinosaur Jr., and The Misfits.

DIEGO GONZALEZ plays in 3 Leafs, does nerdy things for Pandora, and plays British folk and Arabic classical music for fun. He played in a black metal band named Horn of Dagoth, a Conan the Destroyer reference.

TYLER GREEN is a member of the band Lumerians and fellow traveller on the good spaceship named Earth.

WENDY STONEHENGE is vocalist for the San Francisco band Glitter Wizard.

JACK BOULWARE (moderator) is the cofounder of Litquake, and author or coauthor of three books, including San Francisco Bizarro and the Bay Area punk history Gimme Something Better.

Event website

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