Today and for the next several days, I’m celebrating the six-year anniversary of the Musoscribe blog. I launched the site in summer 2009, and once I got into the swing of things, I began a schedule of posting new content every business day. I’ve kept to that goal ever since.
But the beginning of my music writing predates the blog by many years. When I first began to collect my writings – interviews, features, essays and reviews – I hosted them on a website, the “main” part of musoscribe.com. There you’ll find my archive of material from before and up to June 2009.
A sequence of events that led to my launching the blog was the sudden and unexpected demise of the print magazine for which I served as Editor-in-Chief. In spring 2008, I had traveled by train to New Orleans to attend the Ponderosa Stomp music festival, a showcase of unjustly-forgotten and/or overlooked figures in music. (The annual festival continues to this day, and I highly recommend it.) While there, I saw many impressive sets of music, attended several fascinating discussion panels, and did some of my most memorable interviews (more on those in a moment). When I arrived home after the festival, I received a message letting me know that the magazine had shut down, and that no, the many thousands of dollars that I was owed would not be forthcoming.
Work on the next-scheduled issue of the magazine was already done: stories had been written and edited, and the entire layout of the magazine was complete. I had the unhappy task of contacting my team of writers and letting them know that they would not be getting paid for their work, either. The good news was that they could have their stories and reviews back; they were free to do with them as they liked. Small comfort, I know. Happily, several of my writers deservedly went on to much bigger things.
Speaking for myself, I had conducted interviews in New Orleans for features to appear in future issues of the magazine. I was fortunate to place one of them in London-based Shindig! Magazine, and that fine publication also ran an abbreviated version of the other story. Both full-length features are archived on my site. Also archived here is an interview/feature that’s related to one of the acts I saw at Ponderosa Stomp 2008.
In the history of 1960s garage rock, there’s a story that’s equal parts typical and unlikely. A group of Texas teenage boys came together to make a recording that has been described as “no-fi.” The a-side – a sort of band anthem called “Green Fuz” – is among the rarest of all one-off singles of the garage era. And the story behind the band and their recording is interesting. I met with the re-formed Green Fuz while in New Orleans, and got to attend their triumphant show. Here’s the Green Fuz story.
? and the Mysterians
Speaking of oddities, the band of Latino rockers from Michigan who scored a classic hit with “96 Tears” is a curious tale, too. Though the band didn’t manage a successful follow-up hit of any great measure, they persisted. And they still persist today, nearly fifty years later. I met and interviewed the group’s leader (known only as “?” without the quotation marks), and to this day that interview remains the strangest one I ever conducted. The tapes of that interview were lost shortly thereafter, but I am happy to report that they turned up earlier this year, some seven years after they went missing. Here’s the story of my meeting ? and the Mysterians.
One of the headlining acts at Ponderosa Stomp 2008 was Roky Erickson, former leader of the group many consider to be the first “psychedelic rock” band, the 13th Floor Elevators. His life story is a troubling, often sad tale, but these days he seems to be in a much better state than before. A documentary called You’re Gonna Miss Me was made about his life, and I interviewed both the director of that film, John Scheinfeld, and a man who produced some important studio sessions for Roky. That man is better known as the bass player for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stu Cook. Here’s the feature on Roky Erickson.
My Musoscribe retrospective will continue tomorrow and beyond. As always, thank you for reading.