Having the foundation for his love of rock paved for him at an early age, Tulsa based author Greg Renoff can recall his first connection to it; “I was about four or five when Band on The Run was a hit and I remember loving it. My Uncle Tommy also turned me onto Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and the Allman Brothers in the late 70s.” It would be years beyond that time before he would be catapulted deep into the realm of rock, but once he got there, there was no stopping him. Growing up in New Jersey, Renoff became intrigued with history. The son of a college professor, he remembers having books all over the house. He says, “he used to take me to the library often while he did research. I read lots of books on World War II, my favorite was Guadalcanal Diary.” Following in his father’s footsteps, he too became a professor and accepted a job at Drury State located in Springfield, Missouri. While there, he met his now wife Denise Dutton, and a relationship ensued. She was soon offered a position at the distinguished University of Tulsa, and together they packed up and headed west.
As Greg’s love for rock grew, he came across a band that seized his attention immediately, the mighty Van Halen. He saw their video for “Jump” on MTV, and says “I was hooked!” He dove deep into their past, and just as history had fascinated him before, it did once again. Renoff states, “No one had fully documented their early history. The more I learned about their adventures before they got signed, the more I was convinced that Van Halen Rising was a book that needed to be written by me.” So, he researched, he questioned, he learned, he collected, and in 2015 “Van Halen Rising: How A Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal” was published. Highly rated, and beloved by many, the book has become a fixture to any Van Halen fan. He has followed it up with “Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life In Music” an authorized autobiographical story of Van Halen’s Grammy winning producer. Demanding Templeman’s story be told honestly, they wrote it together, and he was published once again in 2020.
Renoff is a huge supporter of the Tulsa music scene, and has established a strong relationship with local guitar great Joshua Jones. He says, “he and I met thanks to a mutual friend. Joshua has an unbelievable musicality on guitar - plus he and I share a love of Van Halen!” 3 weeks after Eddie Van Halen’s passing, Greg emceed “GOAT: A Tribute to the Man” at the IDL Ballroom. Orchestrated by Joshua, Homer Larry Robison, and Tom Green, it brought musicians and fans together to honor the one and only. An emotional but productive evening allowed all proceeds to go to cancer research.
Today, Greg continues to call Tulsa home with his wife Denise and their two daughters, and says, “Tulsa could be on it’s way to being the next Austin or Nashville. There is a lot of talent in this city.”