The first time I’d ever picked up a music magazine was probably around 1992. It was a choice made largely based on the $3 vs $5 price point and, at the time, the electric guitar had become infinitely more interesting than staring at screenshots of Japanese games I’d never play in GamePro and Nintendo Power. It had to have been an issue of Guitar World, one that’d find a vast swipe of guitarists discussing the album that’d gotten them into playing the guitar. The content was dry and the musicians were of course dodging the question as best they could but, it was the thought exercise that caught on within my child-brain– You could totally see how The Kinks influenced Van Halen, or Jimi Hendrix similarly unleashing the mind of Satriani. There my investigation into generations beyond my own began in tandem with a need to step a foot beyond the boundaries of comfort for the sake of discovering new and inspiring music. That inter-dimensional idiocy has stuck with me ever since. It was a jagged slope from there towards hardcore punk zines from the local record store, giant mail-order catalogs from Revelation Records, Flipside, and Maximum Rock n’ Roll that would eventually lead me towards Metal Maniacs and Metal Edge issues my brother had bought. By 1997 it’d clicked within my mind: Shit, if I can write a ten page report on Voltaire’s Candide in my sophomore year then why can’t I write my own zine? So, I did.
I contacted around 200 record labels through e-mail addresses I’d gathered from advertisements and additionally asked the editors of my favorite magazines how I could get started. The zine (Raze, circa ’97-’98) was a bust, a fat white paper chunk photocopied and stapled together at Kinko’s around 30 pages thick; Rife with advertisements and mostly negative reviews the trash rag that it was offended many of the labels that’d been so supportive, with a few that would essentially tell me to fuck off (Century Media, mostly). It lasted a few issues and only made it out to punk/metal labels. In the midst of this I’d begun writing for (or, submitting to) some of the (maga)zines I’d mentioned and until I’d moved out on my own (~2000) I’d hit a wall. Not being able to write proper scene reports without… a scene… was a hindrance and relying on negative reviews to entertain readers of various thicker newsprint zines wasn’t the way forward. Why give up? More importantly, why pick it all back up a decade later on a Blogspot in 2008? Even more importantly, why start a website of my own in 2017? The right inner dialogue is the key to everything.
I’d go to shows and want to talk about music. I’d go to chat rooms and want to talk about music. I’d make friends in every possible capacity and want to talk about music. At some point I’d realize I was a fuckin’ weirdo who was far too obsessed with “deep-diving” into music and that writers and/or collectors, who’d scour every release and every sub-genre for satiation, were my intended kin. Forums scratched that itch for a while, then databases, then review sites, and at some point the online communities I’d built up within felt just as ‘in passing’ as a stoned conversation in the car on the way to a Neurosis show. Back to the original thread, around 2010 I’d begin to tell myself that I could write about music if I kept it up and never got stuck on one modus. For four years I’d work on a sustainable analytical voice that was intended to be conversational as often as it was weirdly complex but without any serious discipline applied. List features were educational and provided perspective enough to dive into greater depth within long form reviews. The goal then became focused on capturing the essence/feeling of a record while attempting to speak its language, matching the pace, detail etc. but not alienating anyone who’d no clue what metal/heavy music was all about. The momentum of tasking myself with daily critical thinking became intoxicating. I’d told myself that I could do it and at some point a small group of people around me began to agree.
My life from birth ’til 35 was full of many horrors. Abuse, tragedy, death, addiction, poverty, injury, divorce, really… name a ‘low’ place in life and (short of hard drugs or doing real fucked up porn) I’ve probably lived through it but, the only real side effect of circumstance was never having the balls to buckle down and do what I loved. I’d had the confidence at 17 years old and I let the world beat that shit out of me, over and over, ’til I dropped the ball. It kept me out of great bands, kept me out of big magazines, and well… My bad. For the sake of momentum, I’ve spent countless hours (beyond working a job and a side-gig) these past two years putting every extra moment of nearly every day into Grizzly Butts. I’ve slept three hours less every night, sacrificed 3-4 hours per day (most) weekends, and more or less osmotically compressed myself into the site for the sake of proving to myself that I could do it. I’d even seen people say that it appeared disingenuous to cover so much music, as if it were impossible to review 5-7 records a week… I’ve ceased my Patreon campaign and slowed down somewhat these last two summer months to allow some time to meditate on the next step forward so that I do not become an overbaked ‘content creator’ that can only exist within an online niche. That’d be the (actual) point: I come from an era of print, of physical media, and of meaningful – connective experiences. I can do that stuff, too.
Don’t worry, you self-serious fuck, I’m not going to publish a print zine named “Grizzly Butts”. Although I am slowly learning layout design tools/PDF authorship with the goal of creating material under the GB name that will be used to help fund the site costs and keep everything ‘breaking even’; The first issue of this ($1.00/pay what you want) supplemental will release in early December as a PDF, including the 50 best albums of the year with reviews of each, interviews, and hopefully some commissioned art. Likewise a Thrash ‘Til Death ‘periodical’ (in two parts) covering all 50 (largely re-written) entries of the feature is in preparation for early 2020– more info on a potential print edition will come sooner or later. A quarterly print only (metal) zine which I’ve tentatively titled “Paean” is in the planning stages to debut in 2020, with the idea being 2-4 interviews ideally covering the four disciplines (black, death, doom, thrash) as well as some key release reviews for that three month block. Shit! That all sounds like a lot, I’m sure, but I am also writing a business plan for a ltd. run cassette/digital imprint that will initially focus on (non-genre specific) rehearsal tapes and live-in-studio recordings. Why detail all of this here and now in August? To celebrate the two year anniversary of the website with new ambitions while I express gratitude.
I say it in every feature I write, I think it every time I receive a promo from a band that I love: I am thankful for these gifts of music received for consideration on a daily basis, thankful that anyone would read even a sentence of Grizzly Butts. There wasn’t a moment these last two years where I wasn’t grateful to be drowning in new releases. As I begin my long Thank You list I want to start with the impetus of this version of the site circa 2016 when Clawhammer PR had noticed a review on an earlier version of the site (since deleted) for the first Void King record. It might not have been the first official digital promo I’d ever received but it was an encouraging first list add. From there, I’d receive major support from Suspicious Activities PR, Transcending Obscurity PR, Earsplit PR, US/THEM Group, Secret Service PR, Grand Sounds PR, Dewar PR, Agonia Records, Viral Propaganda PR, Qabar PR, La Caverna Records, Chaos Records, Carcosa PR, Sentient Ruin Laboratories, and Les Acteurs De L’Ombre all of whom have kept me on my toes these last two years. I’d like to additionally thank these very supportive folks who likewise contribute material on a constant basis: 20 Buck Spin, Sure Shot Worx, Czar of Crickets, Hypnotic Dirge Records, Everlasting Spew Records, Godz ov War Productions, Asher Media Relations, Anubi Press, Nihilistic Holocaust, Redefining Darkness/Seeing Red Records, Red Lead PR, Mind Eraser PR, Cardinal Fuzz, Angels PR, Imperative PR, Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions, Perfect World PR, Mani in Faccia Promotions, Xenokorp Productions, Casus Belli Musica, Loud Rage Music, Against PR, Secret Entertainment, Oinari Media, Hypertension Records, Creative Eclipse PR, Black-Roos Entertainment, Great Dane Records, Mettle Media PR, Kaos Kontrol, Final Sunlight Records, Visionaire Records, Frenchie PR, MM Press & Promotions, The Sludgelord Records, Utech Records, Inverse Records, Peyote Press, Let’s Go Publicity, TAG Publicity, and Rotted Life. Most all of these folks (and the bands they represent) have been kind enough to have Tweeted, Instagram’d, Facebook’d and generally shared reviews from the site. I hope to maintain these relationships for a long time to come! Thank you! I’ve probably left a few people out but it wasn’t intentional! This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of bands who’ve been incredibly kind with both feedback and support. Hearing from some of my absolute favorite bands: Ghastly, Faustcoven, Ares Kingdom, Tomb Mold, Serpent Column, Monolithe, Disciples of Power, and others these last two years is such a great feeling for a ridiculous fanboy like me and I appreciate when bands take a moment to respond to a review, discuss a point, or send a quick thanks. Also, a huge thanks to Misanthropic-Art for the logo design, THANK YOU!
Additional thanks to select writers/editors from online sites Last Rites, Heaviest of Art, and Blessed Altar Zine who have all been kind and not weirdly competitive, as online bloggers can often be, within social media interaction. Beyond that I’ve found the writing of Bardo Methodology (interviews), Ride Into Glory (retrospectives), and Slowly We Rot (‘old school’ zine feeling) particularly valuable. I recommend checking out all six of these mentions and supporting them if you don’t already.
DONORS (in chronological order) October 2017 through September 2019:
- Patreon Supporters 10/2017-8/2019 $325.21
- K.C. $5.00 – Z.C. $1.00 – D.B. $12.00 – S.G. $$1.00 – D.A.C. $4.00 – I.R. $1.00 – J.P $5.00 -A.B. $1.00 – N.P. $5.00 – G.M. $1.00 – O.T. $1.00 – G.E.F. $1.00 – R.B. $5.00 – K.J. $5.00 – M.T. $1.00 – R.C. $1.00 – J.S. $3.00 – J.V. $1.00 – A.M. $1.00 – D.G. $10.00 – F.M. $3.00 – A.A. $20.00 – C.H. $1.00 THANK YOU!
- Total Patreon: $325.21 (post-PayPal + Patreon cut)
- Total Donations: $94.00* (pre-PayPal cut)
- $419.21 – $~300 (3X site hosting + domain) – art commission = $-0.00
I’ve generally posted the financials of the site for the sake of full transparency and to acknowledge the generosity of the general readership. As you can see it doesn’t take a ton of people to prop a small venture up. I am humbled and grateful for the two years of support thus far. A few folks approached me about ending Patreon privately, thinking it was a dire moment, but I’d begun to see it as a contract of subscription where I’d have to deliver a certain type of content ad infinitum. At this juncture I’d like enough breathing room that I might continue to evolve. I am no less grateful, just moving on to more intrepid methods of funding such as salable periodicals, merchandise, compilations, and whatnot.
Do you, the reader need to be involved with any of these plans? No, but I would appreciate your support through 2020. To reward folks who read through this whole thing, I’ve gathered a set of GIVEAWAY items including seven CDs, a medium sized t-shirt, a book, a 12″ LP, and a 7″ EP. Don’t get too excited, you’ll pay shipping costs! To enter into the Giveaway either comment at the bottom of this post OR retweet the accompanying post on twitter @grizzly_butts / Instagram @grizzlybutts666, OR write a positive recommendation on Facebook. All entries will be selected with a random number generator and your number will be assigned chronologically.
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