Bang The Drum

 

I recently uncovered a copy of the final installment of my little zine that surfaced sporadically from 1990-1994. We happen to be just a few weeks beyond the 20 year anniversary of when I served that final batch of The Stew.

This is the “epilogue” that put a coda on that endeavor:

Well, there you have it folks. The last trickle of The Stew is running down your chin. I hope that you garnered some enjoyment out of this erratic series. I hope that at the least you were intrigued by our rantings and musings. Hopefully we were able to coax you out to see a show or listen to a CD. Maybe you were appalled by our head-over-heels pursuit of the “Rock moment.” Maybe you had a good laugh. The important thing is that you felt something.

The Stew, however rare in its actual fruition, was a labor of love. Not the love of struggling for words or a love of late nights at copy shops, but a love of the music and subjects that were documented. Whether or not The Stew fell on deaf ears or was even understood did not always matter. At the very least, personal experiences were documented.

Ah yes, the head-over-heels pursuit of the rock moment, this is what powered these pages. THE MOMENT. That moment when a band kind of makes you grit your teeth and smile at the same time, and you think “this is IT. “It” is something that is felt and is nearly impossible to convey on the printed page no matter how hard this was attempted.

Punk rock. Indie Rock. The labels do not matter, but if you get it… “It” can change your life.  Maybe for you it was seeing The Clash, The Replacements, Sonic Youth, Sebadoh or Bikini Kill. For me it was these moments and several in between that prompted a serious gut check. The Stew was about defining those moments and urging others to search out their own.  So keep taking a chance. You may see people and things differently or at least experience some great music.”

                                                                           Yours in concluding sappiness,                            

                                                                           M.R. Sumser

Looking back at the shortlist of life-altering rock shows that I rattled off there, it should be pointed out that while I did see The Clash in 1984, it was the short-lived Mick Jones-less band that recorded and toured behind the CUT THE CRAP album in 1984. The happening was still a pretty “Punk Rock” moment for four teens from Stark County as a mohawked Joe Strummer led the band through an opening rendition of London Calling and then promptly proceeded to send his guitar bouncing off  the floor to stage right. This was the first time my cohorts and I witnessed slam dancing (which began on the floor of Cleveland’s Public Hall even while the local reggae band First Light opened the evening). This era of The Clash is just a footnote to most, but it was the late Joe Strummer, and wouldn’t we be thrilled to see him now backed by anybody?  

I haven’t compared the excerpt above to my initial ramblings on this site, but I don’t think the passing of a couple of decades has done much to diminish my earnest approach to devouring music and pursuing those rock and roll moments.

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Digging For Something: Ephemera eXcavation

Drawing some inspiration by digging for buried treasure was always part of the plan for the Greater Listening Area.

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I am referring to my boxes of ephemera picked up through the years: fliers, stickers, and postcards from rock shows or maybe the odd promotional item from the heyday of bricks and mortar music retail. These file boxes also house countless mostly defunct music magazines and alternative weeklies that may help piece together a timeline.  Unfortunately no archivist-worthy protective measures were taken— no acid-free dividers, no temperature or moisture-controlled environment maintained. These boxes of could-be-content-catalysts have been schlepped over roughly a dozen household moves and were usually relegated to closet floors or worse, dank basements.  I am mostly unaware of what exactly might be uncovered in these mini-time capsules, but it should be enough to jog some memories. Dig this. I even saved my CD longboxes.

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