This month it’s Bruuuce.com, a site that focuses on all things Hornsby. Here are some thoughts from the site’s creator Simon Twining…
I went looking for Hornsby fans when I first got ‘net access back in ’98. Rather than get to know a few people with a lame "What’s your favorite song?", and never hear from them again, I began a one-page poll for everyone’s top ten favorites, then collated the results. The result was spectacular, or more specifically, it wasn’t. A spreadsheet confirming that – guess what – everybody loves "The Way It Is"...
More polls followed, and a guestbook which quickly became a trading ground. Along with the tapes I received came e-mailed photos, and along with the photos, some words about the gigs – that was another few pages to include, right there. A trading community (which was already in place long before I poked my nose in) had a forum on which to strut it’s stuff. Things pretty much took off from there, when I gave people more than one page to look at.
From what I gather, people visit for two reasons – the setlists to work out a trade, and the "Daily Dose" of a live song of Bruce’s.
The kick-in-the-rear for me to really get involved was when Tom Doub, who had compiled a list of 25 years’ worth of setlists, sadly retired his own site and appealed for volunteers to carry the project on. Things pretty much took off from there, and I’d like to think that it’s a handy tool for anyone looking to trade.
As a result of my own trading, I’ve compiled quite the library of shows, which has let me put up several hundred songs for download over time. A new one gets put up each day, and that’s where the bulk of the visitors come from. They’re good people.
Bruce’s fans are a pretty eclectic bunch, and are really keen to get involved, and so it’s certainly not a difficult site to maintain. I’ve been known to receive concert photos the night of the show. Setlists are also regular. I’ve recently put up a new section dedicated to the "Bruce Community", including their own sites, and a "pen pics" page for the alliteration-tolerant amongst us. Meals and meet-ups (sorry, I did it again) have resulted, based around the gigs.
We have fun with competitions, surveys, and the like. Gifted musicians, too – some have their own bands, which I’m happy to showcase – and remind them off if they ever become famous.
I’d estimate that there are now over a thousand "regulars", 400 of which stop by every day. Not all of them came thinking they found a Bruce Springsteen site.
I recently said that it’s kind of like the opposite to a vicious circle – as long as Bruce plays on, then God willing, I’ll keep the site going. I hope he’ll consider that a promise rather than a threat.
I just got done with a site facelift (sitelift?) and most seem happy with that. I’m ever hopeful of putting entire concerts up for download once again, if anyone has the server space…
Plus, there’s a new album coming out in June, and a tour with it, so hopefully the music can be spread out a little more. And if Springsteen should sit in again, well that’s always good for trebling the visitors…
Carwyn Fowler, Harm van Sleen and others have put a great deal of work into interpreting Bruce’s lyrics. Carwyn, especially, makes a great job out of a feast to work with.
Thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans coined the phrase "Bruuuce", and I stole it from them.
Tom Doub gave me 25 years worth of setlists.
Miguel Danielson keeps me on my toes.
Sue Wasiljov, Rosemarie Rey and others have donated shows to those new to the scene.
Bruce’s management and brother Bobby keep me informed.
Countless fans have donated time and energy into contributing to photos, setlists, gig reviews and the like.
Rich Diakun coined the phrase "Daily Dose".
Brian Meadows promised lots of bootleg CD covers in 1999 but never did them (just a joke, Brian! I’m sure I’ll see them…).
And Bruce Hornsby calls me every filthy Cockney-rhyming slang name under the sun, but I still follow his music regardless.