Jan. 19, 2023

Michael Kuelker on The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Today, the spotlight shines on author and educator Michael Kuelker, here to talk about his recent book, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils On Record: A Narrative Discography. Michae is a teacher, writer, and reggae radio DJ in St. Louis, Missouri. 


The Ozark Mountain Daredevils are an American rock group who first formed in 1972. Hailing from Springfield, Missouri, the band had two major hits, "If You Wanna Get to Heaven" from their debut album in 1974 and a certified smash,  "Jackie Blue" from their 1975 follow-up.


Michael’s book uses the framework of their discography as the scaffolding on which to hang not only over 50 years of their story, but to go back further to describe the music and cultural scenes of the Ozark region as well as the various threads of the music business and cultural industries that the band buffeted against over the years. It is a unique mode of storytelling, one worth reading and applying to other artists and scenes. 


Michael joined us to talk about his work on the book and to give us some insight into the band and the world they developed in.


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Michael Kuelker


Michael Kuelker is a teacher, writer, and reggae radio DJ in St. Louis, Missouri. His new book is The Ozark Mountain Daredevils on Record: A Narrative Discography, a work based on more than 50 hours of oral history with band members and insiders about the music across the Daredevils' 50-years-and-running career.

Kuelker edited and published Book of Memory: A Rastafari Testimony (2005), the memoir of Jamaican Rastafari elder Prince Elijah Williams. His immersion in reggae and Jamaican culture have led him to co-host "Positive Vibrations" on KDHX 88.1 FM, a 43,000 watt independent radio station in St. Louis, from 1997 to present.

Kuelker is Professor (Emeritus) of English at St. Charles Community College, where for the last 22 years he has organized a four-day annual educational forum called SCC Democracy Days.

The book launch for The Ozark Mountain Daredevils on Record took place on Sept. 8, 2022, at The Cellar nightclub in Springfield, Missouri, where the band formed in late 1971 and where they are still based. Kuelker was accompanied by John Dillon and Supe Granda, two founding (and present) members of the OMD, for the signing. The book is being sold at independent outlets in the Midwest and through OMDonRecord.com.