Eight Years Ago: It started with emails…
To celebrate the eighth anniversary of the founding of GLONO, we’ve asked some of the original contributors to share some thoughts about eight years of publication. —Jake
As I recall, it started with emails. Johnny used to email me and Jake and a handful of his other friends these hilarious, spot-on reviews of everything from indie rock records to live shows to Chicago bars and TV shows. Some would spin into full-blown arguments that spanned weeks and were punctuated by the most creative ways to call someone a “dumb shit” you can imagine. This was way before Johnny turned pro and so it was like watching Cassius Clay train for the 1960 Olympics.
At some point Jake decided to take the conversation online. Being a lazy bastard the decision was probably a result of his not wanting to sort through emails anymore and being a neurotic collector and indexer he probably wanted an automated system for collecting these hilarious arguments into a searchable archive. The result: a catalog of eight years of arguments and ridiculous declarations.
Sab came up with the idea of posting the White Stripes‘ marriage and divorce documents. They’re public record that anyone with $7 and time to run to the county courthouse can get for themselves but it seems nobody had the gumption to do it. Sab had both the time and the money, and better than that he had the desire to finally shut up the teenage fangirls who still got wobbly at the romantic (yet entirely creepy) notion of a brother-sister duo fresh from some Motor City gothic tale that resembled as much Flowers in the Attic as East of Eden to storm the indie rock world with cutesy blues and matching trousers. As a marketing guy I take my hat of to Jack White for the idea; the shit clearly works and our blowing their cover STILL draws a ton of traffic, drew attention from major media all around the world, and inspires the occasional angry comment or email from heartbroken fans.
It was nearly a month off but Jake’s offhand comment that we wouldn’t be surprised if Elliott Smith were dead within a year of his opening set with Wilco at Chicago’s Riviera Theater sparked a slew of comments and even found its way into one of the first major bios on Elliott post-mortem. It hurt us all to find out Jake was as close to the truth as he was.
Our interview with Jay Bennett, an exclusive at the time and the first describing in detail his departure from Wilco, got us a lot of attention again. Jay was clearly hurt by the way he was depicted in the film and the band’s attempts to minimize his contribution to what appears to be the band’s greatest mark in rock and roll history. As dedicated fanboys of the band we were more than happy to give Jay a forum to air his side of the story. The article still fuels arguments on Wilco-related forums as to when the band reached it’s pinnacle (if in fact it has) and who gets to claim credit for the creative output of that golden era.
A few years ago we introduced advertising on Glorious Noise. We had MASSIVE debates via email (it might surprise you to know that we rarely speak face-to-face) over whether to accept ads, from whom, and how that might negatively influence what we cover. I drew a line at ticket brokers because I think their practice is doing more to destroy the live music experience in America than anything else, including a failing economy. I was a lone voice in support when the US Army wanted to run recruiting messages. Somehow I won both arguments and despite that fact we make enough money to cover the rock festivals and other live events we should. We’ve also thrown the best parties in Chicago and put out three albums: none of which made us a dime.
As Mac has pointed out, GLONO ain’t what it used to be. We launched with the idea that reviewing records was ridiculous and now reviews make up the lion’s share of the shit we publish here. It took three years to cross the 50,000 unique visitors line and now we do that and more in a month. Over the years we’ve experimented with new features and different ventures: Comics, exclusive video features, a record label, parties…each with varying degrees of success but all entered into with the same intentions that drove why we started this site: we had something to say about the music that changed our lives.
Image courtesy of the Wayback Machine.