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Columns > Dean Budnick - From the Editor

Published: 2005/09/15
by Dean Budnick

It Was Seven Years Ago Today

During the summer of 1998 I was preparing for the release of my second book, entitled Jam Bands (not to be confused with my third book, entitled Jambands- which for the record is not a second edition of the first book but an entirely different take on the subject, with a slightly different title- the second time it’s one word not two. But I digress). Anyhow, during that summer while preparing to spread the word about Jam Bands, I contacted Andy Gadiel (then of Andy Gadiel’s Phish Page fame) with an eye towards creating a website build around the book. At the time, as best I can recall, Andy had had just come off a magazine project that never quite materialized called Purple Magic and he suggested that rather than just some sort of e-commerce site I might want to create an on-line music magazine. At the time I was in Cambridge, MA, teaching, writing my doctoral dissertation, preparing for the birth of my daughter, seeing shows, you know the drillbut I though it might be a fun idea and also something of a mitzvah to spread the word (indeed, if you look at the first issue there was nary a mention of my recently-published book).

Well seven years later here we are. Andy has since taken the tour database and moved it to JamBase.com. Jeff Waful our original CD Review editor and columnist, who later became Daily News editor, is now off working the light board for moe. (looking back I find it interesting that his first column for us, one of his best-known pieces of writing at Jambands.com, “Not A Glowing Review,” focuses not only on his distaste for glowsticks at Phish shows but also their negative impact on the efforts of the lighting director, a role he now occupies). Another original columnist, Big Wu guitarist Jason Flagader, eventually left that group, took some time off and recently started it all over again with God Johnson (in the interim somehow we snagged another Wu columnist, the inimitable Padre Pienbique). Our first “Venue of the Month” a feature that eventually fell by the wayside but may well be revived in the months to come was the Wetlands- the subject of my soon-to-be documentary film directing debut (with the aid of a dozen digital animators and featuring music and interviews with many of the club’s leading lights, look for it to surface early next year). Also upon our debut it swiftly became apparent the two columnists whose work stimulated the most conversation were Jesse Jarnow and David Steinberg. Well, seven years later that still holds true. My association with them (and with the many others who write for the site or just write letters to the site) has been one of the most gratifying part of the past seven years.

Our first header

Our second header

Anyhow, in looking back, I figured I’d offer up my initial editorial

Opening Riff (Join us)

This is an interesting, exhilarating moment. I’ve been a rabid live music fan for quite some time now. I suppose the first jam band I saw perform live was Max Creek at the original Lupo’s in Providence, circa 1982 (and what do you know, they’re still at it, with a new disc and many new fans, now tearing it up at the new Lupo’s- it’s strange, sometimes I feel as though everyone else at these shows stays the same age while I’m the only one getting any older- well okay, me and the band). At any rate, more than any time I can recall, there is now a swell of groups committed to the art of improvisation. We intend to spread the good word with jambands.com.

The web zine you are now browsing is the product of more than fifty persons who devoted their time to the site simply due to their love of the music. Each month I’ll probably single out someone who really digs deep for the cause- this time it is Jeff Waful. Jeff, former WERS Space Jam host, and live music madman, learned this week of an illness to a family member. Nonetheless, this Jam Band trooper hauled his ass into a copy shop (and a rather lame one at that by Jeff’s account) in order to make sure that the section he edits (CD Reviews) made it in on time. Since I’m hyping Jeff, I might as well tell you that his column, Waful House, which focuses this month on glowsticks, is one of Andy’s favorite pieces.

At any rate, what I very much wish to do is publicly thank everyone involved in the site. They’ve really produced a jam-packed debut issue. Of course the amazing thing is we all have to do it again in 30 days. So please, join us. Float an idea or an article to an editor. Tell us about that band or that show that really moved you (or failed to move you, and why). We promise to do the same. Oh yes, and feel free to send me nasty email about my crappy cartoon, Mikey.

Later days and peace,

Dean – budnick@fas.harvard.edu

Indeed, these sentiments still hold true. I still wish to thank everyone and I still encourage you to submit your work. Thankfully, I don’t have my crappy comic to kick around anymore.

Later days and peace,
Dean budnick@post.harvard.edu

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