Touring bands ain’t got shit on me because baby, this guy did some serious driving between 2000 and 2005. Luckily for me, all the bands I went to see back then all chipped in and paid my gas bill each and every month as well as chipped in for the maintenance on my vehicle…….NOT! That would’ve been a sweet deal to be sure but that’s not what happened nor was it something I expected to happen or needed to happen either. I absolutely LOVED what I was doing and loved that I was contributing to something so much bigger than myself. I really felt like I was part of something exciting and cutting edge and after a while, really felt like I was doing a legitimate service to the local music community.
That whole first year I was in serious collection mode – collecting bands (and knowledge of even more bands), collecting music from these bands, collecting URL’s to band websites but more than anything, collecting interest in what it was I was trying to do. I was also collecting a lot of mileage on the RemuS Truckster which at the time was a jet black 1998 Ford Explorer. I was finally doing well enough at my job with Northpoint Communications to finally afford an American vehicle again so the one I bought had to accommodate a 6ft ladder, it had to be able to haul a 20ft extension ladder on top, if needed, and it had to have a covered rear area so that I could haul around all the network routers and bridges Northpoint shipped to me monthly to configure and leave at the customer’s home or business when I turned up their new Internet service.
Now, collecting the knowledge of Houston bands was fairly easy because I had a few existing resources I could tap into. I spent a lot of time at 420Radio as well as Houston Bands(.net) getting familiar with and collecting links to bands if they had a website to go to. Prior to social media you had to actually build a website and that was usually easy enough given that you could build websites for free through almost every ISP or Internet Service Provider, not to mention you could build free ones at Yahoo, Geocities, Xoom, Tripod, Fortunecity and probably a few more. The first RemuS Radio website was a free website I built at Yahoo until that fateful day just a few months into it when I received an email from Yahoo saying “Congratulations, your website is so popular now that we need to start charging you to justify the bandwidth your site is sucking up”
Maybe not in those exact words but from the perspective of the business side of Yahoo is concerned, that’s what they were saying. Up until that point I hadn’t paid for shit other than my remusradio.com domain and a box of fancy business cards that I designed myself and paid too much to have printed up.
I hadn’t really given it that much thought at all – I never dreamed I’d ever get the kind of traffic to the site to warrant such a rude letter from a big “dot comer” like Yahoo but, whatever. It was what it was.
So now I had to shop for a new web hosting service because what they wanted to host the site at Yahoo was a bit out of my budget which up to that point was pretty much…..no budget. I totally went into this thinking that the only thing I’d have to budget for was gas and booze…..maybe even a little bail money but really nothing more than that. Luckily, I found EV1 and what they wanted to host was at least manageable but I shopped it to a few other places first before I went with them. I still had some time before Yahoo would cut me off or expect a credit card number so I went on about my usual business of bar hopping and talking to bands and collecting their music and thinking of ways to link to them online in a format that was low maintenance and palatable and while still being easily surfable.
Up to this point I had never officially launched the website, per se, because in the very beginning I never really had an audience to launch the website to. I honestly didn’t think that I was going to make a noticeable splash in what I thought was an already a very active and heavily covered music scene. My perception of it at that point was very skewed and SO very wrong in that, I didn’t know yet that what was actually being covered in the local mainstream press was so geographically selective and I didn’t know just how much of it was either being overlooked or in some cases just straight up ignored. It didn’t take long though to figure it all out and when I did, it washed over me like a large and unexpected wave hitting a little kid whose wandered just a bit too far out into the surf.
Did I mention that at the time I wasn’t a commercial graphics or RTF major at any school or college and that I’ve never taken a class or read a book on building websites at all? I didn’t know Java, I didn’t know how to write HTML, I didn’t know dick about anything that I was about to try and accomplish. I initially used the website builder that was built into Netscape’s browser at the time and it ended up being so easy that eventually I graduated to using just Microsoft Notepad to code the website.
I had never worked in Public Relations or organized any events, I had never seen the inside of a recording studio and I had never even owned a camera before. Needless to Say it was time for a serious reality check before committing myself to something that, on any and all levels I knew absolutely nothing about.
I had to ask or at least state to myself:
- Deaver, are you in over your head? (Probably)
- Do you know what you’re doing at all? (No, not really)
- Do you even know anybody that can help you out with any of this? (No, I sure don’t)
- Is there a possibility of extreme public humiliation and/or failure? (absolutely)
- Do you realize you might get yourself into deep trouble somewhere? (Yepper)
- Are you good at talking your way out of trouble? (No, not really)
- Do you have anything to legitimately give to this community? (maybe, maybe not)
- You might meet some women, ya know? Melissa will need a girlfriend so……
Reality checks in place, I decided to officially launch the “RemuS Radio” website and local music broadcast on a Friday the 13th. More specifically on Friday Rocktober 13th, 2000 and by then I would have the entire website data copied and moved to the EV1 servers and hopefully all the bugs worked out with it being linked to the domain and the rest of the outside world. This date also allowed me plenty of time to hopefully pull off a huge coup by recording a live performance of James Rivera’s Metal Gods when they performed on September 30, 2000 at a big show I had recently seen a flyer for.
Then I could convert the raw recording from tape to individual MP3 files and have the entire show to play on the RemuS Radio online broadcast either as individual songs or as one entire performance, it was pretty much my choice. Yep, that’s what I was going to do and this would show the people how serious I was about all this local music shit and they would then know without a doubt that I was being for real and that I was the man for people to keep their eyes on and trust when it came to the local scene……or somethin’. I was obviously driving completely blind, folks.
Had I ever recorded a live band before and did I even have the right equipment to do so? Not really but I was certain I could wing my way through it enough to pull it off because after all, how difficult could it really be, right? I’d just haul my home stereo cassette deck and amp to the show, buddy up to the sound guy and he’d let me plug my amp directly into his board and we’d be golden. It would not only be the coup of a lifetime it would anchor my reputation to the musical community as the guy to make things happen. Well, let me just say it didn’t quite work out the way I had planned it at all and I mean not even in the same zip code as being close.
I showed up early at Forgetta ‘bout it (FBI) [now called BFE Rock Club – ed.] and began to haul in my shit inside. One thing to add here is that I hadn’t been to FBI before, I didn’t know the owners and hadn’t really touched base with anyone or told anyone of my plans to record parts of the show either. I had no idea what the layout was or if I would even have power for my equipment, such as it was. The following was the gear that I had brought to record this show:
- One Technics 1000W Class A amplifier
- One Technics dual head cassette deck with left/right inputs
- One pair of JVC digital ready headphones
My thoughts were that I could just get the sound guy to front me a pair of cables to go from his left/right channel of the mixing board directly into the left/right inputs of the amp then I’d tap into the feed with my headphones and monitor the level hitting the deck with the volume control of the amp.
Did I happen to mention that I didn’t know the sound guy either?
Luckily, it really didn’t matter because he was a friendly enough guy and agreed to help me out. His name was John Schoolcraft and although I didn’t know it yet, he was also the frontman for local band Victim whom I hadn’t seen perform yet and his advice at the time was that I would fare better just capturing the sound through a couple of spare microphones that he had and would lend to me along with two mic stands. We got it set up, I plugged my amp and deck in through an outlet off to the side of the stage and when the Metal Gods took the stage I was ready to go, or so I thought.
The band gets introduced and they come out and kick it off and damn the luck, less than a minute into their set a breaker blew and took out half the stage lights and all of the band’s equipment. One flip of the breaker later the show was back on and off we went again. James made a couple of humorous remarks about how their performance thus far had taken the power out etc.(Ha Ha Ha) and a few seconds later the show was back on again. A minute or so later, I’ll be fucked if it didn’t happen again. (Question mark now visibly floating over my head) Surely this is just a fluke of some kind, right? This can’t really be happening to me so WTF?
The breaker gets reset once more and once again the band lights into it and BAM! Yes, the power goes out yet again and I’m really starting to get a little fucked up over this so – very disappointed and feeling paranoid as hell at this point I just said “Fuck it” and turned all my shit off. Obviously it just wasn’t meant to be for some reason or another and you know what? After I hauled my gear back out to the truck that show went off without a single hitch and not a breaker one was thrown again the rest of the night. I really hadn’t put 2 and 2 together yet and the whole dynamics of equaling out power consumption and drawing current against breakers etc. was not registering with me and so I proceeded to get liquored up and licking my wounds and walking around with my tail between my legs.
What could’ve made such a thing happen like that and why did it stop when I finally stopped trying to record it? It wouldn’t really occur to me what exactly happened until the next morning when I was on the phone with my girlfriend Melissa and reading up on the specs of my stereo equipment.
As I slowly woke up and the fog began to clear, it dawned on me that the volume knob for anything that has a volume knob is nothing more than a variable rheostat which is really just a small circuit made up of resistors that one uses to vary the amount of power or in this case, volume that would normally be going out to a pair of speakers. They are used in ANY kind of knob that varies anything and I mean anything at all including any knob on a guitar or a TV or fucking anything where you can control how things look or how things sound or whatever. That part of its basic use never varies and I mean at all. It’s a variable resistor, short and sweet.
However, in turn it is also varying the amount of power that the amp draws from the electrical outlet and in my case, adding to the strain already being placed on the electrical breakers in the bar’s breaker box. By itself it would’ve been fine but adding to the current that was already being drawn by the band’s equipment as well as the bar’s PA system was totally pushing its threshold and was throwing the breakers exactly the way it’s designed to do. I felt like a complete tool and as Melissa began to giggle on the phone and eventually laugh hysterically, I couldn’t help but join her and did so for several minutes.
Did I happen to mention that I also studied electronics for 2 years back in the mid 80’s? Yeah, I damn sure did and look how well I put it to use. I was literally mortified and my only saving grace was that I was the only one that knew about it. It was totally my and Melissa’s little secret and when I first started writing this article I decided to finally let someone else in on my big secret. Namely, Steve Jones who had put that show together to celebrate his own website’s 1st birthday and to hopefully help create a sense of oneness or a sense of family so to speak amongst the local bands playing the show as well as the rest of the local music community.
We’ll get Steve’s reaction to all of this and find out what his website “Metal Mad” was all about next time so until then, always remember to keep it TRUE and by any means necessary keep it METAL.