WINCHESTER — Back in the 1960s, getting a group of friends together to go hear live music was a popular weekend activity in the Shenandoah Valley.
In Winchester, teenagers could be found dancing to rock ‘n’ roll most weekends at fire halls, the armory, the War Memorial Building or the Elks Lodge. The older crowd went to clubs like the Back Room and the Peanut Cellar.
“It was a big thing to have live music somewhere in the Valley every weekend,” said Steve Strosnider, a Woodstock-native who played bass with the band the Versatiles. “We were charting our own course.”
Strosnider, 69, interviewed many of these Shenandoah Valley bands for his 2017 book “Tales from the Bandstand.” The 122-page book featured photographs and stories from bands that played regularly at venues from Winchester to Staunton.
Stronsnider is back for an encore performance. He’s written a new book called “Tales from the Bandstand — Collector’s Edition.” Strosnider will sign copies of “Tales from the Bandstand — Collector’s Edition” from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Winchester Book Gallery, 7 N. Loudoun St.
After the first book came out, Strosnider said he heard from a few people wondering why he left out their favorite band while others said they had a great photo that would have been perfect for the book. Creating a second volume gave him a chance to correct any inaccuracies and to include even more local bands and photos, he said.
“Even though it was comprehensive, it wasn’t comprehensive enough,” Strosnider said of the first book.
This Collector’s Edition is 203 pages with 101 photographs. The self-published book sells for $30 for softcover and $45 for hardcover.
The new book includes more stories about such Winchester bands as Brutus and Roamins, Sandy and the Satins, The Princetons and, of course, Mod and the Rockers.
“They were the group that everyone looked up to,” Strosnider said of Mod and the Rockers.
Strosnider went on to earn a living as a psychologist (and continues to work part-time), but he looks back on those rock ‘n’ roll years fondly — even though being a band member was a hefty time commitment.
Strosnider calculates that he had just 11 free weekends from the time he was in eighth grade until he graduated high school.
“Playing in a band didn’t give you much time to do anything else,” said Strosnider, who still plays sometimes with the Versatiles. “And I can’t believe my parents allowed me to play some of the places I played.”
Stronsinder calculates he earned a total of $4,400 during his early band-playing years.
Cash went a lot further in those days, he said, so “I never had to ask my parents for money.”
Plus, the memories are priceless.