WASHINGTON — The J. Geils Band. Aerosmith. Arlo Guthrie. Boston. These are among the many bands, according to musical archivist Steve Nelson, who are the foundation of New England's musical legacy.
And Nelson and several other music lovers want to preserve that legacy.
Nelson is a co-founder of the Music Museum of New England, an online archive of the New England music scene.
Nelson is the former manager of the legendary Boston Tea Party, which was a concert venue on Lansdowne Street for many years before closing. He is currently a video producer.
Another founder, Harry Sandler, now vice president of a speakers' booking agency, was the original drummer for the Boston-based band Orpheus. Orpheus, which still performs from time to time, was one of Boston's seminal rock bands. It played with Cream, Led Zeppelin and The Who. In fact, it opened for Janis Joplin when the legendary blues chanteuse played Tanglewood in the late 1960s.
"Whenever we'd get together for lunch or dinner, the conversation would turn to this idea we'd have, of a music museum," Nelson said. "And we would kick it around, and finally we said, we'd better just do this."
Nelson said the idea originated with his own fascination with the Internet.
"When I first began exploring the Internet, even before Google, I would surf the Web and find all this fascinating stuff," he said. "And when we started thinking about a museum, we could not have done this without the Internet."
So Nelson, Sandler and their friends created the online Music Museum of New England last year, with an eye, Nelson said, to someday building a bricks-and-mortar museum.
"We are already seeing people offering stuff to us for our archives," he said. Those donations, he said, have lent an urgency to developing a plan for a "real" museum.
The museum covers every genre of music, not just rock.
"We deliberately used the term music museum, instead of rock 'n' roll, because folk music is gigantic in New England," Nelson said. "And there are other forms of music in this area, including jazz and classical."
"And I wanted to cover all of New England, not just Boston."
"We want to preserve all this rich musical history," said Sandler in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're doing it for the love of music."
The Music Museum of New England is at www.mmone.org.