Longtime Boston DJ Chronicles The Change In Rock — And Radio — Over The Years

Most devoted concertgoers cannot say right off the top of their heads how many shows they have attended. Carter Alan, however, is not the average concertgoer.

“I’ve been to 3,313 right now,” the WZLX midday DJ and music director said in a recent phone interview. The Hopkinton resident went to his first-ever concert in his native Pennsylvania when he was in ninth grade. The date was Dec. 28, 1970, and the band was The James Gang.

Most of Alan’s 3,000-plus concert attendances have been made possible, or necessary, by his job as a DJ. After graduating from New England College in 1977 and subsequently moving to Boston, he started off at WTBS in Cambridge and would later spend 19 years at WBCN before assuming his current position at WZLX. (In 2013, he published “Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN.”)

Despite the myriad Alan had to choose from, he somehow narrowed his experiences enough to write his new book, “The Decibel Diaries: A Journey through Rock in 50 Concerts.”

“The common thread,” Alan explained, “[was] to find shows that have a great story to them as a writer. So it was more of a writer’s situation where I have to create what I thought would be 50 short stories that would be really interesting to read. My idea was to get someone to read the story and enjoy the story no matter who the artist was.”

One of the most interesting aspects of several chapters is the author’s having seen many artists before they became known to millions worldwide. In 1974, Ted Nugent took the stage in the presence of “60 or 70 people.” Talking Heads was still a trio when they did a three-night stand at Kenmore Square’s The Rathskeller — aka, “The Rat” — in 1977. U2, meanwhile, played a 1982 gig to a mere (by the band’s later standards) 1,500 people aboard the SS President in New Orleans.

And these are just a few who went on to be huge.

According to Alan, “In the case of Guns ‘N Roses [1987], when they left the stage at the Paradise it…

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