top of page

The basic ongoing mission of the "Akron Sound" Museum is to foster and promote Akron's talent and entertainment venues. We will continue to keep alive vital parts of Akron's music legacies by gathering and displaying

important stages in the development of pivotal

moments in Akron's music,

performance and

spoken word histories




In the early 1970s, rubber was still king in Akron, Ohio. But just a few short years later, Akron’s most important product was, ever so briefly, music. In the mid-1970s, a group of local bands took over an old rubber workers’ hang-out in downtown Akron called The Crypt and created a mix of punk and art rock that came to be known as “the Akron Sound.” And for a while, it was almost “the next big thing.” Almost. 

It’s Everything, and Then It’s Gone, a Western Reserve PBS production written and directed by Phil Hoffman., takes viewers back to a time when the music really did mean everything. And for the men and women in these local bands, it was a way out of the factory.

“This is the story of those people, many of them children of rubber workers, who rode to the crest of the new wave and what happened to them after the attention turned away from Akron and away from them,” explains Hoffman in the opening of the documentary. Over the course of the hour-long program, Hoffman tells the story of bands like Devo, The Numbers Band, The Bizarros, The Rubber City Rebels, Tin Huey and The Waitresses and their flirtation with rock stardom.


Part two

If You're Not Dead, Play!  

This Western Reserve PBS production documents the second wave of Akron "garage bands" that continued in the tradition of "the Akron sound" that began with bands like Devo, The Rubber City Rebels, The Bizarros, Tin Huey and The Waitresses. Produced in 2005.


The Black Keys were the biggest local-music success of the past decade. But the duo’s album at the time, Brothers, may have been their last as an Akron band. Drummer Patrick Carney had already moved to New York City. Frontman Dan Auerbach was still in Akron, but he had his eyes on Nashville.

“Akron’s a great place,” says Auerbach. “But we get to see all these great cities and spend time in these beautiful cities, and sometimes you come home and it’s a little bit of a bummer. We have to drive to Cleveland to go to Whole Foods and the West Side Market almost every week. To see an independent film, you’ve got to drive 40 minutes.”

After nine years, the Keys have sold nearly a million records. They’ve cracked the upper reaches of Billboard’s album chart: Brothers debuted at No. 3, moving 73,000 copies its first week. They’ve championed local music, seen the world, and played the biggest stages with the biggest bands — Radiohead and Pearl Jam have personally invited them to open shows. Unlike LeBron, Auerbach isn’t certain yet. But with Carney already out the door, it could be only a matter of time before Auerbach follows him.

If the Keys leave for good, it won’t be as sudden or as shocking as LeBron’s departure. But it will mark a shift in the band’s relationship with its hometown. Carney has been one of the Akron music scene’s staunchest supporters, repeatedly telling folks he’s in Ohio for the long haul. (“Devo, one of my favorite bands ever...,” he told Scene in 2008, “...the fact that they left, I hate it. When something good goes away, it’s something everybody’s missing.”)

bottom of page