Everything that I said I would do in the fourth year of GrizzlyButts.com, I’ve done. — It is important to make that point up front if only to sate an admittedly unnecessary saltiness, a sturdy “Fuck you” is too satisfying an opportunity to overlook. As prophesied, I’ve initiated an independent label & publishing company (Spirit Coffin Publishing) and will have released a total of 9-10 records and published (designed, and written) the first two issues of my new print zine (Mystification) by year’s end. Although the lot of it won’t hit a point of profit, the experience and gained perspective has been invaluable. It is necessary to see the other side and keep looking. Beyond the practicum implied, these personal lessons will guide me well into the future — Form, vision, mistakes, corrections, management, et al. but more importantly I know better where to stand apart (and whom with) now that these veils are lifted. If I’d been left with anything beyond the second half of 2020 it was a body full of exhausted, stagnant blood resultant of sedentary service to my own goals and standards, it was about time to shake that blood out. I do not answer to anyone, and it will stay that way in the future but, a shift away from brutal singularity was in order at the start of 2021 and continues to implement via small steps today.
“THE WORLD KEEPS BURNING“
Change is necessary, and this basal, nagging need for the “next stage” meant a ritual of creation — Books were written, sketchbooks were filled, scores of paintings were blocked in and needled over, and even a couple of demo recordings were made so that some sort of vision for the path forward would come into form. A self-imposed, efficiency enabled work ethic won’t likely ever change but the project focused upon will phase in and out more often. Where does that leave GrizzlyButts.com on the priority list? Conceptually speaking, the same in most regards. We’ve a one key question to figure through: Why have a “new releases” focused short review column, a “news this week” column, and a “here is what I’m working on this week” post on social media in three separate features? A lot of work for a “small” readership on those type of posts, right? Starting in August all of these things will integrate for one weekly information dump, a conversational column that will include: Release announcements (and reactions, links to new songs), 5-10 short reviews, and ratings/discussions for all upcoming releases I won’t be covering otherwise (one week ahead). Think of it like a newsletter with some fanzine habits. It’ll be titled Symposium. Beyond this more efficient and personal column long-form music reviews will continue to evolve in their own right as the main focus of the site, video game reviews will return, and now interviews will become a more integral part of Grizzly Butts since I will have more time.
Meditating upon the pressure for “growth” — Instead of succumbing to shilling and becoming a presenter of abysmal personae driven commercialism on YouTube or whatever, the future of the site will involve a focus on retaining personal spiritual hardiness, while still acknowledging the proper standards for covering and supporting small businesses on genuine terms. What does that mean? Defiance, wonder, subjective/objective balance, information rather than nostalgic pits, and encouraging art/literature with infused meaning rather than hip thoughtlessness. Upholding these personal values and not losing touch for the sake of “playing the game”, essentially. If I cannot sustain all channels with integrity then none of it will exist.
As the webzine becomes more of a spearhead to rip through the morass, the print zine will become the oasis to ponder at the end of each half-year juncture. Roughly ten interviews are in the planning stages for MYSTIFICATION Issue II: “Altered Visions” which is due out December 15th this year. The title is inspired by the lyrics of Cryptic Slaughter at their most raw and distraught, reaching the point of absolute disillusion and breaking. Of course the bands will be largely death metal. Interviews will target bands with a journey behind them, those who may or may not reflect deeply when prompted on the process and purpose of art. It will feature a 20 item “Best Of…” selection from the completely re-written An Exhaustive Study: Wild Rags Records (1987-1999) feature which begins its total revision mid-August. To top it off, I’ll be compiling a list of the 50 Best Albums of 2021 with half-page reviews for the Top 25 for this issue. The content will be (almost all) exclusive to print this time around. I do not yet have a contributing cover artist or photographer(s) so if you’ve some interest and can deliver a full color, deeply detailed, hand-painted pair of works (front and back cover) please get in touch. If you want to help ensure this second issue happens, please buy a copy of Issue I: “Primitive Futurity” as I intend to do my best to break even and keep the zine self-sufficient. No advertisements, though I will mention my own releases in part of the editorial.
The fact that people were so generous during 2020 has irreparably humbled me, with a few very kind supporters essentially paying the site hosting costs for 2021 and allowing me to begin to consult on some website design changes and (potentially) a new logo design, these are yet to be finalized but surely a long time coming. Last year’s donations came from: P.O., R-A.P, D.K., M.K., J. M-H., P.K., M.P., H.B., KVR, O.T., D.J., R.C., T.S., S.G., HDR, R.A., M.J., JdC. G-L., J.K., D.K., J.R., S.McL., A.G., B.B., G.Z., S.C. Z., A.G., JID, K. B., J.G., A.K., R.L. !!!, P.W., W.B., T.S., F.M., E.J.C.L., J.S-H., S.C.Z., S.J., and hopefully I haven’t left anyone out or made that too hard to read while making sure your identities were secure. A few years ago I made the decision to do this thing only on my own terms, to get rid of Patreon and just keep my head down and do my best so, thanks so much to folks who give me a pat on the back once in a while — I don’t show gratitude often enough and that is the main purpose of reflecting on the past year. Thank you.
The huge support I get from Press Relations, directly from Labels and Artists is just as important! Without these people there would be no content, of course, and their hard work and efficiency is what props me up and kicks me into each new week. The fact that so many seriously personable bands are willing to interact and occasionally re-post reviews on social media is an honor and it makes an enormous difference. Artist/label reposts has long been the main source for viewership since I do not “kiss ass” or push bands/labels to feature my writing. By my own will, by your own will, pure respect for those who exist as artists and professionals on their own terms without being egotists. Thank you all, don’t hesitate to contact me personally if you’d like to work together on features/interviews, I won’t bug you otherwise.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Hah. The “low-fantasy, psychedelic occult” novel I wrote in 2011-2014 will eventually see release in mid-2022, the editing process is pain incarnate and has taken two years. The story builds upon a vision illustrated during a six hour period of hallucination (the ego-death prime, as it were) induced via LSD in 2011 — An “in the back of my mind” project for too long, alienation heavily influenced by Kafka‘s last three novels. It will be garbage but still worth the paper it’ll be printed on. An ‘Living in Darkness’ inspired surf/street punk tape is on the way sooner or later, a total bummer. In early August I will announce two new Spirit Coffin Publishing releases, the last two of the year. Keep an eye out for those. There will only be three slots for music releases on Spirit Coffin Publishing in 2022, likely favoring at least two formats. Otherwise the main focus will be building up the reach of Mystification + book publishing in tandem. An Exhaustive Study: Thrashing Behind the Iron Curtain 1981-1991, “an examination of the speed/thrash metal achieved under the bleak circumstances afforded artists during the final years of the Cold War” will begin its on-record research phase in January of next year and extend into a shorter column for Issue #3. No promises, all ideas subject to disassembly.
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