Tag Archives: anniversaries

XX

Glorious Noise turns 20 and my have things changed. 

Twenty years is a long time, especially in the Information Age where time bends and flips unto itself in meta ways. Digital Culture is not measured in years but memes…in Scaramuccis. To think back on twenty years of Glorious Noise is more than my feeble Gen X mind can even really do or bring any sense to. Still, I must try because it’s the only reason to even participate online anymore.

When we started Jake had to jigger a light hack to even allow comments. The Internet promised to democratize information, but to even have two-way conversations required some level of technical ability most normies didn’t have. So at first, it was still us broadcasting to you. It was our turn to be the gatekeepers and tell you what was cool out there, and more often than not what wasn’t cool. It was fun and basically what my friends and I did at every party we ruined in Chicago. We got loud and debated the legitimacy of the host’s music collection. Now that everyone streams, can we even do that anymore? Where’s the fun?

For a while the site made some money, which kept us online and allowed us to throw parties and launch a record label. You know all this because we mention some version of the site’s history each year at this time. I mention it now because nobody makes money online anymore. Even porn is free. So we don’t throw any parties anymore and we don’t put out our friends’ records. 

I don’t write this as a whine, but to list a few more examples of how things have changed. We didn’t launch the site to make any money and now we’re back to the beginning. We do it now for the same reason we started: because we like to talk about music. Maybe not as much as we used to, but still…

So happy birthday, GLONO. I am pretty proud that this site has been running for twenty years. We’ve found and shared a lot of really cool music in those twenty years and my one true hope is that somewhere along the way, that music changed your life.

Father John Misty - In Twenty Years or So

Twenty Years Ago Today… Well, Tomorrow

On February 6, 2021, Glorious Noise will have been online for twenty years. Twenty!

I’m trying to remember what life was like twenty years ago. 2001. So long ago. The world wide web was still pretty new. You could buy used records for a buck or two. Good stuff, too, in good condition!

No smart phones. How did we coordinate anything? How did we know where we were going? I guess a lot of times we didn’t know. We just stumbled around until we found what we were looking for.

We’ve seen a lot of changes over these twenty years. The music industry, especially. With everybody streaming now, we’re finally hooked into that “celestial jukebox” that filesharing originally had us thinking about back then. Pretty much. There’s still tons of stuff that’s not available on streaming services.

While announcing our tenth anniversary in 2011, we went on hiatus for a while. That was ten years ago now. There were a lot of reasons for it, but we needed a break. At the time, I wasn’t totally sure if we would come back. But we did and we’ve kept it going ever since. Looking back, 2013-2016 were pretty slow, averaging just 35 posts a year. That’s as dead as we got. But in 2017 and 2018 we recommitted and posted something new every weekday. We’ve grown a little lazier since then, but the goal is still to find as much good stuff to share as we can.

And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.

This is typically the time of year I ask myself what’s the point of doing this at all. I still don’t have a very good answer. I look around at other dads and they keep themselves busy with golf and…I don’t even really know. I still like to listen to music and I still get excited when I hear something new that’s good. And when that happens I want to tell people about it.

So here we are. Twenty years later. Doing it ourselves. For no good reason. A labor of love.

Let’s all hope this year is better than last year. Maybe we’ll get to experience live music again before 2022. I hope so. I miss going to shows. Yelling at bands. Drinking beers with pals. Buying t-shirts from the merch table. It’s been a really long time.

I can’t wait until we’re all vaccinated and we can kick off the Roaring Twenties for real. Until then, hang in there.

Previous birthdays: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

Continue reading Twenty Years Ago Today… Well, Tomorrow

Hey Nineteen: Happy birthday to us!

She thinks I’m crazy
But I’m just growin’ old…

Sure, when you’re a grown-ass adult, 19 seems impossibly young. But when you’re a website? Well, 19 is old as dirt. C’est la vie.

2001 was a long time ago. A lifetime, really. It’s freaky to think how different the world was before Facebook, before Twitter, before YouTube, before iPhones…

Nineteen-year-olds today have no memories of life without a phone in everybody’s hand all the time.

But we do. And here we are. Still going. Still finding good music and sharing it. Occasionally still digging deep into something we care about. Mostly, we’re trying to stay positive and convey joy in an environment where that’s getting increasingly difficult.

But music helps. And whether it’s the thrill of discovering some kid’s debut single or the comfort of replaying something you’ve heard a thousand times, music provides a salve for our battered souls.

Skate a little lower now…

Audio: Steely Dan – “Hey Nineteen”

From Gaucho (MCA, 1980).

Continue reading Hey Nineteen: Happy birthday to us!

Glorious Noise is 18. And we like it.

Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen (1972)

Every year around this time I ask myself a question: Why are we doing this?

There’s no really good answer. I guess the hope is there’s somebody out there who likes rock and roll music but doesn’t want to have to seek out good new stuff. So we’re providing a service.

The reality, of course, is if you’re bothering to go to a web site like this you’re already seeking stuff out. You don’t need us.

So are we in it for the money? Well, let’s just say a couple weeks ago we started messing around with ads again for the first time in years, and so far the results would suggest no. Google tells me that in the last seven days we’ve made $1.08. We’ll see how it goes, but if it stays like that I’ll yank the ads. It’s not worth it to have to look at men’s underwear and stupid t-shirts every time I open a web browser.

It can be downright depressing if you dwell on it.

But it would be more depressing at this point to just quit. I like GLONO being the O.G. that’s been around since 2001, and we’ve published a bunch of good stuff over the years. I’m super proud of our small part in helping kick off the careers of some great writers.

Plus, it’s still exciting to have to meet the challenge of finding something new and good to post every day. There’s lots of great music being released all the time, and it’s fun to find it and share it.

One other thing that’s been cool this year was finally starting an instagram account in September. I had stubbornly and stupidly been opposed to it. Seemed a little too late/dollar short. But DP made the case: “People love photos! And we actually have an archive of some pretty dope ones.” I had never considered re-purposing our backlog of hundreds of photos from fests and shows over years.

So yeah, we’ve been posting to instagram every day since then and we’ve managed to attract 292 followers. So thanks to everybody who’s followed us. Again…worth it? I dunno. But it’s been fun to look through the photos. We’ve shot a lot of bands!

I apologize for the somewhat negative tone. The past two years have been mentally exhausting and psychically debilitating in a lot of ways. It’s tough to stay positive. There are signs of hope for the future, maybe, but it’s a slog to find them when you’re overwhelmed by soul-crushing news every fucking day for 748 days straight…and counting.

Then again, I’ve been through many times in which I thought I might lose it. The only thing that saved me has always been music. A wise man said that.

So the state of this web site, I guess, is alright.

Previous birthdays: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018.

Continue reading Glorious Noise is 18. And we like it.

Hey What’s Up? Glorious Noise Is 17

Time flies. Seventeen years? Crazy. GLONO is the same age as the lead singer of my favorite band. There are kids in bands today who weren’t even born when we started this. That blows my mind.

I remember turning 17 the summer before my senior year of high school. John Cougar had told us to “hold on to 16 as long as you can” and I took that advice seriously. But that was almost 30 years ago. That blows my mind too.

Over the past year we’ve been trying to publish something every weekday, which has required seeking out a lot of new music. That’s been rewarding for me, personally. Too many grownups get stuck in the rut of feeling like there’s nothing good being made anymore. As if music peaked your senior year of high school. When you were 17. The same age as this website.

That’s baloney. Of course it is, but the older I get the more I realize that you have to consciously and actively look for good stuff. It doesn’t just fall in your lap like it used to when you were always hanging out with friends and listening to records together and going to bars and shows all the time. It’s work now to find new music.

Is it worth the effort? Yeah, for sure. It’s awesome. We’ve found tons of great new songs by artists I’d never heard before, and many of them happen to be young women. There’s still plenty of old dudes kicking out the jams (and GLONO will always love classic rock), but most of the exciting new music is being made by girls. (Neil Portnow’s a moron.) Look back at the past year’s worth of songs we’ve covered and you’ll see that about half are from bands fronted by women. And way more than half if we’re talking about brand new bands. So that’s cool.

But I get why my fellow grownups don’t want to put in the effort. That’s fine. I am happy to listen to 80s music and drink wine while our kids play videogames in the basement. That’s fun too.

On the other hand, if you want to be exposed to some good new music, we’re here for you. At Glorious Noise we work hard so you don’t have to. Like Scrubber Bubbles. Tune in, and we’ll turn you on to good music.

And if all goes well, we’ll be doing this for another 17 years. I hope I’m still digging new music in my sixties. I have no doubt that kids will still be picking up guitars and playing rock and roll. The only questions are: Will my ears still work, and if so, will they still be open to hearing new sounds?

We’ll see…

Continue reading Hey What’s Up? Glorious Noise Is 17

Glorious Noise Turns Sweet 16

When we first launched Glorious Noise in February 2001 the country had just inaugurated a Republican president who had lost the popular vote after a bitter, draining campaign. My pals and I were not optimistic about the future.

We’ve written at length about the origins of this site, about the influence of Vanity Fair’s “Rock Snob Dictionary,” about Jim DeRogatis’ Lester Bangs biography, about the on-point emails from Johnny Loftus…but equally influential was the work of Hunter S. Thompson, who had recently launched his online column, Hey Rube, for espn.com (thankfully archived here). His posts were honest and fearless and beholden to no one; we idolized him. Thompson took his own life shortly after Bush was inaugurated for his second term, and I miss his voice every time I read the news.

The GLONO posse has always been a bunch of politics junkies. Which is why in 2006 we started POLJUNK, the national affairs desk of Glorious Noise. The site is no longer active, but the Twitter account is still on fire. You should follow it. We try to keep most political commentary out of the @gloriousnoise account so we can keep the focus on music, because in times like these it becomes more important than ever to remember that there is still good stuff going on in the world.

Please don’t think we are putting our collective heads in the sand when it comes to the current political situation, but there are lots of avenues available out there that provide your minute-by-minute fix of outrage porn. It’s important to stay informed, but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed by the constant barrage of bad news. And that doesn’t do anybody any good.

Independent voices are getting more and more consolidated as people increasingly get all their information from fewer and fewer sources. 16 years ago when we started GLONO the online world was a very different place. I was convinced that the internet was an incredible thing, leveling the playing field between the bigwigs and the little guy. The democratization of opinion was going to make the world a better place, where a bunch of nerds with a modem could potentially have as much influence as Jann Wenner or anybody else. And musicians wouldn’t have to go through evil record labels to get their music out to the whole world. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

Back then, I didn’t want to call this site a blog, despite the fact that we started out using blogger.com as our content management system. I thought Glorious Noise was cooler than that. We had multiple contributors, our own domain, we weren’t diarists, we didn’t feel obligated to post multiple times a day, most posts weren’t just reblogs of existing content. We were an online zine, not a crummy little blog. We are, after all, professionals.

Today, that distinction–and snobbery–just seems silly. Glorious Noise is a blog. It’s always been a blog.

And now Twitter and Facebook have basically gobbled up all of the former ways to measure a site’s connection to its readers. Remember when comments were fun? Remember following a bunch of different sites with RSS? Remember discovering cool new sites by following links on other cool sites? Does anybody even read blogs anymore?

So why bother? Why spend your time writing, editing, and publishing articles when you have no indication that anybody’s reading them, and most evidence suggests that not very many people are?

I had a few beers with Johnny Loftus in Chicago a few weeks ago and he asked me pretty much those same questions. My response was, well, why did we start this shit in 2001? Why were we posting stuff back then? Nobody knew about us. Nobody read us. It took us almost a year to reach our 20,000th unique visitor. And half of those were probably bots. But we were thrilled. It was exciting!

We did it because it was fun. And because we had something to say. Even if it was stupid, and sometimes it certainly was. Who cares? Sure, it’s cool when readers give us feedback, and it’s cool to reach new people, but that’s never really been what it’s about.

Our earliest mission statement reads as follows:

Glorious Noise is a forum for my friends to post their thoughts on various subjects, mostly dealing with music. We have been described as rock snobs, but I don’t think that’s a totally fair label for us. We like what we like, and if you want to go out and spend your money on the new Limp Bizkit record, that’s up to you.

This is not a record review site. No one cares about the opinions of a bunch of strangers. If we were professionals, we wouldn’t be here. If you want professional reviews and real rock journalism, I recommend InsiderOne. Glorious Noise just contains some essays, stories, and rants about how rock and roll can change your life.

I hope you like it.
Jake

That still cracks me up. So snotty. And righteous. But that was our mindset when we founded the site.

And now I’m asking my posse to keep it going. Because I think it’s important to put good stuff out there. Now, more than ever.

I fully understand that everybody has limited free time. And I get that it’s uncool to ask people to work for free. We’re all grownups now. We have a lot of other pressing, real-life stuff to do. But it’s important to not allow yourself to get bogged down by negativity. As Johnny told me, “In a world of rancor and hot takes, we could all use a safe space to hang.” Purposeful self-interest and self-preservation. And that’s our goal for Glorious Noise for the immediate future. Or at least until the internet is shut down or the world ends…

We are going to continue to self-publish independent content on this self-funded site. Just like we’ve been doing for the past 16 years. And I still hope you like it.

Say it loud: I’m BLOG and I’m proud.

Continue reading Glorious Noise Turns Sweet 16

Glorious Noise is 11 years old today

One year ago for our tenth anniversary, we took a little break. A sabbatical. After six months with nary a peep, we quietly started publishing stuff again. And we’ve been posting stuff fairly regularly since then.

The break was nice. It gave us time to migrate from MovableType to WordPress. We also switched hosts from Hostrocket to Dreamhost. And then switch back to Hostrocket after Dreamhost couldn’t power our decade-worth of content with their measly 8MB of PHP memory.

Our break also gave us some time to think about why we do this whole Glorious Noise thing and whether or not to continue on with it. When it comes down to it I realized that I enjoy sharing good music, interesting news, and critical opinions with the people who read this site. It’s easy to get bummed out when comments are non-existent, when pageviews are low (or are only high for stupid stuff), and when ad revenue dries up.

But then I think back eleven years to when we started this thing and we didn’t have any of that business. (Remember when enabling comments on blogs required separate software? BlogVoices, RIP!) Then again, we don’t have the novelty factor anymore. Plus now most of us have kids, real careers, etc. But we still care about music, musicians, and the music industry so we’re going to keep this going for the foreseeable future. As long as it’s fun.

I’m excited about Sab’s new column, My Vinyl Solution, where he’ll be listening to his entire record collection in (more or less) alphabetical order. We’ll be rolling out a redesign over the next couple of weeks. And we’ll try to come up with some other fun ideas to keep this interesting to our readers and to ourselves.

I’m off to drive to Chicago to see Jeff Mangum right now, so I’m signing off. But I’ll leave you with some inspirational thoughts from Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and MC Ren.

Previous birthdays:

• 2002: Happy Birthday to Glorious Noise!
• 2003 :Terrible Twos: Happy Birthday to Us!
• 2004: Happy Birthday! Three is a Magic Number!
• 2005: Glorious Noise is Four Years Old
• 2006 (belated): The Black and Orange Ball: GLONO’s Fifth Birthday Party
• 2007: Happy Sixth Birthday to Glorious Noise
• 2008: And if the Devil is Six: GLONO is Seven!
• 2009: Glorious Noise Turns Eight Years Old Today; Eight Years Ago: It started with emails…
• 2010: Glorious Noise Is Nine Years Old
• 2011: Decade: Glorious Noise Turns 10

Decade: Glorious Noise Turns 10

Decade

Ten years ago, on February 6, 2001, we launched Glorious Noise with this simple declaration: “Welcome to Glorious Noise. Coming soon: lots of opinionated essays and stories about how rock and roll can change your life…”

Phil then posted a follow-up: “Hey all, let’s get ready to rumble. Jake and I are taking our email argument about Britney Spears online. Be ready to argue about rock and roll, country, hip hop, pop and straight up poop. Let’s get it on!”

And that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing for the last decade. Ten years. That’s a long time. We’ve been lucky to work with tons of great contributors over these years, several of whom have gone on to real (i.e., paid) rockcrit/journalism jobs. That makes me very proud.

But now it’s time for a little break. How little remains to be seen. If Glorious Noise is to carry on, we’ve got to do some major behind-the-scenes overhaulage. We’ve been on the same web host since 2002, and we’ve been at least partially unhappy with them since 2007. And we’re still powered by Movable Type 3.36, which is old and creaky. I’m not suggesting we’re a complete tear-down, but we could definitely use a gut rehab.

Plus, frankly, after ten years I’m feeling a little burnt out from the daily responsibilities of editing and publishing an online music zine. It’s time for a break. A hiatus if you will. And while technically I guess one would have to describe the hiatus as “indefinite,” I don’t like the implication of that. I’m pretty sure Glorious Noise will be back. And when we do come back, we’ll be refreshed, recharged, redesigned, reinvigorated, and ready for another decade.

In other words, we want to preserve what is beautiful and special about the site and have it stay that way.

We’ll keep you up to date on our progress via Facebook and Twitter (for those of you not on Twitter, I created a special page for you), and in the meantime you’ll still be able to read lots of Todd Totale’s stuff on his Glam-Racket blog. And you can always sift through ten years of Glorious Noise Archives—relive the magic!

Thanks, everybody, for reading and for all the feedback over years. It’s been a ton of fun.

Continue reading Decade: Glorious Noise Turns 10

Glorious Noise Is Nine Years Old

Mmmmm, GLONO cake.We’re so old we’re getting to the point where we don’t even like celebrating our birthday anymore. But GLONO has been around since February 6, 2001. Time to bust out that old picture of the birthday cake from our party at Beat Kitchen in 2004

We’d like to thank everybody who’s stopped by to read an article, download an mp3, watch a video, post a comment, or start some shit on the message boards. The interactivity is what makes it fun. On that note we’d also like to thank all the people who’ve re-tweeted our stuff, posted things to Facebook and all those other social sites that have decentralized online interaction.

Previous birthdays:

• 2002: Happy Birthday to Glorious Noise!

• 2003 :Terrible Twos: Happy Birthday to Us!

• 2004: Happy Birthday! Three is a Magic Number!

• 2005: Glorious Noise is Four Years Old

• 2006 (belated): The Black and Orange Ball: GLONO’s Fifth Birthday Party

• 2007: Happy Sixth Birthday to Glorious Noise

• 2008: And if the Devil is Six: GLONO is Seven!

• 2009: Glorious Noise Turns Eight Years Old Today; Eight Years Ago: It started with emails…

Enter a contest to win a Glorious Noise T-shirt below…

Continue reading Glorious Noise Is Nine Years Old

Eight Years Ago: It started with emails…

Old schoolTo 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.

Continue reading Eight Years Ago: It started with emails…