I’ve always been a believer in the concept of things happening precisely when they are meant to. We’ve been talking about bringing Rick’s Cafe back as an online publication since shortly after we published our last issue in January of 2007. In fact, we talked about getting the content from our four years of publication archived online even longer ago. At one point I even spent a lot of money getting a shell set up so I could do that. Trouble was, it was so complicated I couldn’t work it and didn’t have the time to figure it out. I guess those folks made their money off me precisely when they were supposed to. This time, however, I will make my promise that, yes, all of our content from Rick’s Cafe will show up here. This includes over 300 CD reviews.
After all, Local Sounds is about preserving Madison’s musical heritage (as you can read here). Take some time to check out the Local Sounds Wikis and help us accumulate our musical heritage. The information that is added by first-hand knowledge, the more accurate this will be.
So what happened anyway? Well, 2006 was starting to look pretty rosy for us, actually. We were breaking new markets in the Fox Valley and in the LaCrosse area. We had a huge, loyal and inspired following. But in that summer the gas prices spiked and began driving a nail into our already meager condition. Later, in November, I managed to cheat death (yet again) when I crashed my station wagon into a semi at 60 mph as I was heading out of Janesville in terrible weather. I was going too fast, making deliveries for a distributor who didn’t show. I was mad and I didn’t care. Fuck it, let’s hit a semi! After I spun out and time went into slow motion; after I hit the truck, then spun two or three times on the Interstate, miraculously avoiding a collision with anyone else; after I landed in the median without rolling, I looked at my hands and realized I had survived. Then I looked out the window and saw my precious Rick’s Cafes all over the road. I struggled to get out of my now-accordioned vehicle to get them because goddammit, I had deliveries to make! I knew then that I had a problem. I finally admitted to myself, right then and there, that I had pushed myself too far. One issue later, I pulled the plug before my own plug got pulled for good.
Of course, as all senseless obsessives do, I began to miss it. I searched the Yellow Pages for AA for Music Obsession. Finding none, I immersed myself in other work and began catching up on a lot of other things. My wife (and Rick’s Cafe copy editor) Kate and I bought a house and finally took our honeymoon to Ireland in 2008, two years after our wedding. She was already pregnant with our second daughter.
The one thing I didn’t do was walk away from my commitment to the MAMAs. Anyone in their right mind, with a family as beautiful as mine and just after a close brush with death, would not want that kind of stress in their life. But as I watch the show unfold from the wings, I realize that all I really want out of life is to know that I’m useful.
So this spring we reconvened the old writing team: Tim Thompson, Kiki Schueler, Sean Bunny, Blunt Rapture, Susan Masino and webmaster Matt Jacoby. It felt good to have us all together again. As we talked and drank some brews at the Brass Ring, the time seemed right to pose the question: should we do this? We’re all too busy now for such strict deadlines but maybe there is a way to do this online. It can’t be a printed newspaper, but we sure as hell can pick up the slack and give others what we all wanted as performers and fans ourselves: a fighting chance to feel useful.
Big props to Matt Jacoby for his perseverance on establishing Local Sounds. His work is vitally important and it’s his efforts that have made this new publication possible. The importance of his work will be made more clear as we carry on with this publication, the LocalsSounds.org efforts and the MAMAs.
So, here we are. We hope you like what you see. We’ll sprinkle in some of our unfinished business with our new business. A lot has changed in a few short years. Things feel like they’re swinging up again. We’re a nonprofit now and, for the time being, we’re volunteers and you are the cause. We’ve tried to make it function like a magazine and, aside from news and live shows, will be posting batches of new “issues” from time to time. Precisely when they’re meant to be.