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In Memory



On September 5th, 1999, our co-worker and good friend Rooster lost his struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He was 51 years old. He left this world peacefully, and with grace, remaining upbeat and positive to the end. To the KLCC staff, he was more than a co-worker. He was a friend, mentor, blues historian, walking encyclopedia, sports fan, and overall "guy you want to hang out with." We will miss him forever.

The love and support he received from his many fans and listeners were tremendously comforting to him in his final months. He referred to the cards, letters and positive thoughts as his "best therapy."

Rooster's Message to KLCC Listeners
Printed in KLCC's June/July 1999 Program Guide

Hi Y'all,

It's that illusive Roosterman calling. I realize the Program Guide is an unusual place for a personal message, but I want to grab an opportunity to offer big thanks to you many listeners who have showered me with good wishes.

For those folks who may be unaware of the reason for my absence from the airwaves, here's the rap: For the balance of the past year I've been engaged in a serious medical battle involving many doctors, tests, biopsies & naturopaths resulting in a variety of "working diagnoses" and attempted therapies. But the winding road has arrived at a diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. To date there is no cure for this neuromuscular disease although it was "discovered" over 130 years ago, and treatment is very limited. My personal feeling is that maintaining a positive attitude and uplifted spirit is a major advantage in combatting this adversary.

Remaining on the air has been an important mental therapy for me throughout this ordeal... 'cause, you see, I love my job! But alas, though the mind and voice remain focussed and strong, the bod is making other plans and it's become increasingly difficult for me to physically cope with my daily radio demands. I'm hoping, however, to maintain a periodic schedule on Blues Power.

KLCC has been my radio home for 22 years plus. Many of my co-workers are also my dearest friends. And, I think of you listeners as part of my extended family as well.

Even out of the darkest of experiences, something beautiful blooms. For me, it is the affirmation of human generosity; a realization of the splendid depth of loyalty and support of my family and friends. There are a number of components that make this life of ours a hell of a ride, not the least of which is music. If however, the commodities of highest value in life are family & friends -- and I believe they are-- then truly I am a wealthy man.

Keep It Blue.


A Message from Rooster
Written mid-August, to the many friends and listeners who sent him cards, letters, contributions, love and support.

Dear Friend,

I want to give you my heartfelt thanks for the best wishes and support you sent my way. Needless to say, friends and family are the most important element of mental well being at times like these. Due to the progress of my condition, I am not able to write extensively to thank you. Still, I feel it is important to let you know how much I appreciate your positive thoughts and spirit of hope, because this is the best therapy I have.

Keep it blue.


The Best DJ You'll Never Hear
October 1999, AllAboutJazz.com

By RC Stilwell

When I started writing this column a year ago, one thing I wanted to do was interview some DJs who were the best at their particular game. Number One on that list was Gavin "Rooster" Fox, of KLCC-FM in Eugene, Oregon. Fate and an extremely fast moving case of ALS just cut us off from that. Rooster died Sunday, September 5th of complications from that disease, at the age of 51.

For 22 years Rooster has been the host of "Blues ower", the most entertaining and educational radio show I've ever heard. An afternoon of "Blues Power" was a journey through a record collection second to none, meticulously assembled over 30 years of deep, self-education about the music that was his heart & soul. He kind of backed into the blues, hearing things by the Rolling Stones and others that made him start looking for the original versions of those songs he heard. Growing up in the LA area in the '50's gave him the time & resources to do some very productive exploring, and some record stores that had the albums he was looking for. By the time he arrived in Eugene, he knew as much as most professionals, and he hadn't even had much radio experience. He was a Natural, with those special ears that can discern that elusive "Something" in a performer.

His influence was not just on radio. To Rooster, "The jam is a living organism.." and he brought it to life every Monday evening at "Roosters Blues Jam", a weekly jam session which was most recently held at The Good Times bar in Eugene, but had other homes in other years. Out of these little sessions came musicians that went on with bands like Robert Cray, Curtis Salgado, The Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and others. He spotted these guys early on, encouraged and nurtured their careers, and each of those bands went on to prove just how good his ear really was.

He was a big, bushy-bearded white guy that looked like he could whup any bouncer hired to protect him, except for that huge smile and laugh. He was one of the kindest, most open gentlemen I've ever seen in over 30 years of hanging around radio stations. In a business of petty little egos and nasty internal politics, he strode like a veritable knight in shining armor, a true original, so good at what he did that lesser talents had a hard time looking him in the eye. He commanded a level of respect that cannot be coerced through threats or power plays. He cared about the music, the musicians, and put his whole being on the line with every show.

He also helped other DJs get going. When I had a radio show for veterans, stuck in Broadcasting Siberia from 11 to Midnight on Sunday evenings, (a time you'd not expect anybody to be listening), Rooster not only listened, he came up to the studio to talk about bands and music, and let us know he thought we were doing pretty good. I have never seen anybody else do that, but he did. This was the kind of man he was, and one of the qualities that made him a consummate DJ. Yes, he had a good voice, his diction and announcing skills were good, but what made the difference was that he really had something to say. He could also put together terrific segues, which is perhaps the finest of all the DJs skills. You can fake being a good announcer, or a knowledgeable musicologist for a while, but the programming tells the story, and he could put songs next to each other that brought out the best in all of them. You cannot teach that in broadcasting school, you either got it or you don't. Rooster had it.

He could have been a star in any town he chose to live in. We were lucky he hung around a relatively small, obscure college town in the Northwest, because he enriched our lives more than a whole book could ever tell. He cared about their well-being, and worked to make radio better. He succeeded in that brilliantly, and his passing has left a huge, dark, empty place in the airwaves, the music world, and in my heart. But he'll be remembered in the music of those bands he helped grow, in the way other's who follow him will try to do what he did, and as good as they may be, they will only remind us of the One, True, Original Gavin "Rooster" Fox, the best DJ I ever heard.

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