Episode 88: Mr. K was A-OK

Ken “Mr. K” Glidewell put the personality into “radio personality.” He had the gift of gab, a wicked sense of humor and a way of making friends wherever he went. Ken worked at 97X during the station’s formative years while also playing with fellow 97Xer Dan “Danny Crash” Reed in Chemdyne. He later moved on to WEBN-FM and 92.9 The Fox in Cincinnati for his day job, and co-founded the Americana band Big in Iowa. 

Unfortunately, Mr. K passed away in May of 2008 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. In this episode of the podcast, we talk to a few 97X-ers who worked with Mr. K: Phil Manning, Julie “Jae” Forman and Steve Baker, as well as the founding members of the Mr. K Fan Club, Elizabeth Cannon and Wendy Dorn. 

Mr. K (2nd from left) mugging with Timothy Hiatt, Jetson and the BoDeans.
Mr. K and Jetson with Mike Peters from The Alarm.
A review of Big in Iowa’s 1999 release in No Depression magazine.

Here are a couple of videos of Mr. K playing with Big in Iowa.

You can find more Big in Iowa videos on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BigInIowaBand

Big in Iowa was awarded their first Cammy (Cincinnati’s version of Grammy Awards) as Roots Rock Band of the Year in 1997, a trophy they would own over the next several years. By the beginning of 1998, Bryant had left the band and O’Keefe was replaced by Jeff Wilson, thereby formulating the core quartet, which proceeded to prepare its second album for release. Twisted was a substantial improvement on the preceding effort. In addition to standing as Big in Iowa’s first mature work, it also began its long-term association with Germany’s Blue Rose Records. In addition to its Group Cammy, Twisted also helped to earn individual honors for Burns (Best Vocalist) and House (Best Instrumentalist), as well as new fans such as Mojo Nixon and an appearance at the 1999 South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX. The band contributed a version of “Cinnamon Girl” to the Neil Young tribute album This Note’s for You, and then set about working on its third studio album, Bangin’ ‘n’ Knockin’, which appeared in Europe at the tail-end of 1999. As outstanding a progression from Twisted as that album was from Big in IowaBangin’ provided the band with its most extensive praise yet, including notices in Bucket Full of Brains, No Depression, and Amplifier magazines; as well as its first opportunity to tour Europe (Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, United Kingdom, Switzerland) at the beginning of 2000, and jaunts through the Midwest and New England. Such was the band’s reputation that it also began landing opening slots for such lauded peers as Dave Alvin, Dan Bairdthe BoDeansthe Bottle RocketsCheap TrickAlejandro EscovedoBob MouldDrivin’ N’ Cryin’, and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others.

After the limited appearance of the live 4 Guys in a Trabi — which delightfully documented a show from its first German tour — the quartet began making treks to Brooklyn to begin working on its fourth studio album with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, one of the catalysts of the ’80s roots revival as leader of the fabled Del Lords, in the producer’s seat. Released in Europe in mid-2001, Green Pop was a quantum leap ahead of anything Big in Iowa had previously recorded, an artistic apex that single-handedly vaulted the band into the upper level of roots rock bands. In Europe, the CD’s first pressing sold out in just two weeks, and on a second tour of the continent, the band routinely played to capacity crowds, including a headlining performance before up to 5,000 people at the Wolfstock Festival. After returning to the United States, House decided to leave the band due to family obligations, and he was replaced in early 2002 by Jason Erickson. (Source: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/big-in-iowa-mn0000060379/biography)

Cheers to you, Ken!

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