Jan 122012


Five years later I guess my answer is Yes, to all of the above. I wanted to bring the life of the list to a larger stage—and more than the life of the list, the life of the people involved in our daily discussions. I wanted to share that and see how it could grow, free from the intense focus of headphones, without safe boundaries. This group of people meant (and means) a lot to me. I’m proud of you, proud to count you among my collective thinkers. What would happen if we unfurled our freak flag? Who else we might attract? I was probably insensitive to it then (and I probably am to this day, as a person who still needs to control himself from ripping the headphones off complete strangers), but my McMurphy-like desire to take us out for a deep-sea fishing trip wasn’t shared by all, as one longtime participant, known here as The Great 48, would so eloquently put it:

I may not be the only person here who’s less than enamored of the idea of moving RTH to a blog format. This is partially because personally I like the insularity of the list — it’s kind of like that one late-night restaurant in Chinatown where the city’s kitchen staffs go after work to unwind and talk shop — but also because I can’t imagine that many people outside of this group being at all interested in what goes on here. I mean…who cares?

Well, I did and I still do. In a world where a no-talent, gossip-column hound like Sienna Miller and her pregancy are considered worthy of publication, why shouldn’t the crap we kick around share the same media space? What’s any less ridiculous about anything one of us gets on a soapbox about than Rick Santorum‘s public proclamations involving gay marriage and bestiality? And honestly, what’s healthier for people to read, should they so choose to read either: news on Sienna Miller and Rick Santorum’s love puppy or a group of music lovers fighting over the merits of the Love‘s Forever Changes album? More honestly, what we talk about is fun and important to us. We care. Every couple of weeks someone else does too. Perfectly cool people are out there, wishing they could get in on those late-night discussions among kitchen staffers. Our doors are open. A level of self-perceived, possibly deluded coolness is assumed.

With the chance to breathe and see the light of day, maybe stuff we care about will turn someone else’s head. I spend New Year’s Eve content in the company of my oldest friends. There’s no other way I’d rather spend it, but the other 364 days of the year I’m happy to run into as many people who share similar concerns and similar means for discourse as possible. When the race to elect alexmagic‘s long-discussed President of Rock is held I want to know there’s a bloc of voters out there willing to sort the wheat from the chaff. And capable of having fun doing so.

Populism and public discourse have their hurdles. Over the years the participation of some vets, sadly, dropped off. A few dropped out altogether. Many new voices, however, have since joined the fray, posted comments, and took on the responsibility—and yes, as was feared by many, that word responsibility connotes an element of W-O-R-K involved in crafting threads for public digestion—of developing new content for discussion, new quips and insults to resonate longer in our heads than would be expected in the head of a “normal” person.

This place still brightens my day, leaves me with a laugh, teaches me something new, and brings a cool mix of music lovers together. I wanted to wrap this up by looking ahead, but what’s the point? If we choose to keep the chatter going, if we allow ourselves to be open to discuss how we feel about music, something worth our time will result. Thank you.


  26 Responses to “This Is Your 5th Anniversary, Rock Town Hall Blog!”

  1. Happy Birthday, RTH and a big THANK YOU to Mr Mod and Sammymaudlin. I can’t believe it has been 5 years on the blog and 9 years total. AMAZING!

  2. machinery

    Happy B’day to all. Thanks for creating a fun, informative and very cool corner of the interweb.

  3. diskojoe

    Happy 5th Anniversary & here’s something to celebrate it with:


  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Gyorgi told me to send you his congratulations!

  5. alexmagic

    Mod, I know “Five Years” isn’t one of his measley 30 Great David Bowie Songs, but I’m curious if it would be in fall into the 31-60 range.

  6. 2000 Man

    Hey, thanks for five years of behind-the-scenes hard work keeping our playground clean and relatively safe!

  7. Yes, it makes my Top 35, I’m pretty sure.

  8. That’s nice. I wonder if “Tastybasslee” will check in to send his well wishes

  9. I reiterate the first comment that I made on this site: I have my suspicions of this whole blog concept, but it LOOKS great. Nice work Mod and Sammy!

  10. misterioso

    (dabbing away profuse tears and clearing throat) That was beautiful Mod, just beautiful. You should be Myles Standish Proud to have done so much to create a space where people can address the truly important issues of the day. Sir, I salute you and all who have made RTH what it is today. Meaning, 5 years old.

  11. Happiness Stan

    Lovely piece Mr M, and congratulations. I’ve only been here a few months, but it’s getting longer every day (oo-er!)

    Thanks for all of the work you put into keeping the place going, and on a personal level for making me feel so welcome, it’s like a little beacon of interesting and fun in amongst all of the other stuff that’s forever kicking off around.

  12. trigmogigmo

    Happy Anniversary RTH! Thanks to Mr. M and sammy and all who created this great place to hang out and discuss what we love. It has been very enlightening to me to read these threads every day.

  13. Congratulations, Townspeople, you’ve got a community, if you can keep it. Thanks to Mod and Sammy for all the behind-the-scenes work, you’ve got a unique thing here.

  14. Well, the last two months of 2011 saw me unable to enter the hall for an assortment of reasons. And despite a new year’s resolution, a dozen days of 2012 continued the streak.

    And I sure have missed it! I’ll never have the time to go back over two months of threads though (but tell me, did I miss a discussion of the Smile Sessions? did anyone answer my unasked Christmas music question of why “Santa Baby” suddenly became THE holiday song to the point of being heard every 30 minutes or so?). But that fact that I did miss it is testament to the denizens of the hall – their knowledge, perceptions, and humor – and most especially the efforts of Mr. Mod, the sina qua non of RTH.

    I joined up in the first year of the Chess version and I still miss that iteration. If nothing else, I couldn’t have gone close to three months RTH-less in that format; those emails forced attention in a way the blog doesn’t. At this point I accept it and the only remaining regret are those lost along the way (EPG, Great 48, and others). Mr. Mod, here’s to the next five! Thanks for everything.

  15. I have no idea how long I’ve been checking in here, probably at least the last four years, and it’s always been one of my favorite places on the web. No other music blog does such a great job generating discussion with the readers. Kudos!!!!

  16. cliff sovinsanity

    This blog answers those eternal questions of life…Who am I? And why am I here?
    Happy Woody Anniversary.

  17. sammymaudlin

    Huh, huh, you said “culminating”. And for some reason I’m now a huge Dead fan and there wasn’t even any sound in the video that turned me on.

  18. Happy Fifth Anniversary, RTH! Thanks to Mr. Mod and Sammymaudlin for all they’ve done to keep us rock nerds happy.

  19. ladymisskirroyale

    Happy Wood Anniversary, RTH. May we all make it past Tin, Crystal, China and into the beyond!

    Virtual hugs to you all, but especially to Mod and Sammy. I’ve so enjoyed following the RTH silliness (and learning some things along the way).

  20. I do miss RTH Mercury for it’s amazingly unstructured, endless discussions, kind of like After Bathing at Baxter’s now that I think of it. Favorite post of all time was Michelle’s lengthy post on public bathroom etiquette and various technical terms for situations encountered therein.

    Although I don’t post here as often as I’d like, often playing catch up when the moment has passed, I visit very regularly and am an avid Saturday Night Shut-In follower. The recurring features, Mystery Date, How Lou Reed’s Music Was MEANT to Sound, and that True confessions Scarlet Nun logo are top notch. RTH Forever, or at least for another 5 years.

    By the way, EPG would approve of the Freaks and Geeks Video intro. I recall that Box of Rain was the one Dead song that he thought was really great.

  21. cherguevara

    The email list still lives! Viva email!

  22. BigSteve

    I’ve been meaning to say Happy Birthday to Us. What is the new RTH anyway? Is it a ‘group blog’? Sometimes I want to invite a fellow music geek, and I don’t know what to call it.

    What’s interesting to me is how the blog format has opened things up so that it is truly a group project, but it still exists as a true reflection of Our Fearless Moderator, not least because he’s the most dedicated starter of threads.

    I’m glad we’ve been able to attract new contributors who stick around. Maybe this thing will outlive us all.

  23. I simply call it a music discussion blog. I don’t know if there’s an official term that would be more appropriate. I remember when sammy was designing the blog he referred me to a political blog he liked, that had a “by the people for the people” feel, The Daily Kos. Apolitical sort that I tend to be, I referred him to the highly participatory UniWatch, which examines sports uniform oddities/highlights.

  24. alexmagic

    There is nothing I hate more in the world than having to publicly give someone praise, but I want to echo the fact that the Mod’s sensibilities are integral to what makes RTH go.

    I’ve seen, and am even a part of, a number of web enterprises who are starting to do things that might someday evolve into something like The Hall, and I gotta say that they’d all do well to bring Mod in as a consultant. Nobody has content generation and discussion leading skills (if I can engage in blogspeak) on par with Mr. Moderator, and I’m constantly amazed and entertained at the topics he comes up with and the hilarious, yet strangely insightful, approaches to talking about them.

  25. Thanks, and feel free to recommend my “services.” In the case of one possible venture, I’ll work for the right to dump the 12-year-old Canadian kid who thinks those Occupy Wall Street types need to get a job.

  26. I refer to it as a “rock nerd music blog” and I kind of sheepishly mumble it when I say it.

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