On November 2, 2023, we lost Sam D. Carlson, a man I consider a hero.
Sam was a veteran that proudly served his country. As I mentioned in a 2015 post, Sam enlisted in the US Army in 1967 at the age of 20, and spent the next 20 years in the service. His grandfather served in World War I, his father in World War II + Korea, his son in the first Gulf War + Afghanistan and his grandson served in the second Gulf War. In 2005, at the age of 58 years old, he chose to return back to active duty, serving two years at Fort Mead, MD, then volunteered for Afghanistan in 2007, where he served with the 82nd + 101st Airborne Divisions. He retired again in 2008, only to be called back to serve as an intelligence officer with the 10th Mountain Division at Forward Operating Bases Shank + Airborne. He was considered the oldest captain in the US Army until he finally retired for good a few years ago.
Sam was also responsible for an amazing webpage that documented the various rock ‘n’ roll groups that existed in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia), mostly focusing on the 1950s-1970s era. It was a heroic gesture that Sam spent countless hours to develop this magnificent resource that documented and cataloged all of the known rock bands that existed during this vibrant era. I’m grateful for what Sam accomplished, as I consider his PNWBands.com website one of the great references that I continue to use in my quest to assemble what I hope to be the definitive documentary on the worlds’s most misunderstood rock ‘n’ roll song.
As Sam mentions in the video that I’m unveiling today, the creation of this webpage came together as an unexpected follow-up to a website that his daughter Jackie created to celebrate Sam’s old band The Regents, which existed from 1963 to 1967. He added extra pages to acknowledge other bands from the Pacific Northwest that hadn’t received any attention, which led to a far more ambitious project that became the PNWBands.com website.
This video that I’m sharing features an excerpt of an interview I conducted with Sam when I met him in person at the LOUIE Fest of 2003 in Tacoma. That being said, twenty years do seem to go by quickly…
Sam was a great guy, and will absolutely be missed. I love the idea that Sam discovered that Lady Lucy Godiva (1065–1136) was his 26th great-grandmother. As he shared to his friends… “This explains a lot about me.”
Sam’s memorial will likely be a small family affair, and his remains will be buried at Arlington Cemetery.
While the PNWBands.com site appears to be frozen, with the last update on March 7, 2020, Sam’s daughter Jackie shared an update…
There will be more updates but it will be awhile. I’m getting ready switch servers for PNW to a more modern set up and then will begin transferring all of the band pages to something like WordPress to make updates easier and for better mobile viewing. May be a year before that is complete!
For those of you that would like to provide support for the PNWBands.com webpage upgrades and additions, I’d like to encourage folks to make a donation to their PayPal account.
My thoughts are with the family and friends of Sam.
Obituary – Samuel Douglas Carlson
Hail Hail, Sam Carlson – military veteran + Pacific NW music archivist