The future has been on my mind lately. While away, I’ve been reprioritizing my life: getting sober, deciding what is and is not important in my life and where life will take me next. No Funeral has played a crucial role during this internal dialogue. This zine started four years ago when I first got sober. In the course of its development from productive-use-of-free-time to critical-evaluation-of-rock-music, the zine’s mission became clearly defined. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon during this period. Eventually, I learned that substance abuse and the No Funeral mission don’t jive together. So, here I’ve been – reevaluating anything and everything around me.
I’ve toyed with the idea of taking the site down. Google censors my material. Crying-ass record companies are all run by con artists, as are most “popular” bands concerned about “pirated” music (but that’s a separate issue). The thought that entered my head repeatedly was, “If I really wanted to be underground, I’d go back to print”, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this whole train of thought is self-pitying nonsense.
Flawed as it is, I love No Funeral’s current webzine format. I choose to communicate this way because I have extreme difficulty communicating with those in my life. This is why I took time off; so I could get my head together. I’ve learned that communication with a head full of dope is damn-near impossible. That’s why I went straightedge.
Let me explain this. I’m straightedge in the same manner that I’m Christian. It’s a matter between me and my creator that allows me to live my life effectively. I have no intentions of flying anyone’s flag for anything. Being Christian and straightedge allows me to not only write effectively but also to execute God’s will through my work. What does that mean? It means bringing glory to the kingdom of God, not proselytizing. I failed to accomplish this in the past due to mis-prioritizing and living for myself. In all honesty, this has nothing to do with you, as the reader, in this equation.
Taking the site down is an idea that has intrigued me. The internet sucks. Aside from Google tracking everyone’s web surfing, it has no permanency. The “audience” is an unsavory cast of know-nothing lowlifes and too many people can monkey with my material. Alas, too many people actually enjoy No Funeral and actually get what I’m doing. Besides, quitters never win – they just get to live their lives stress-free.
One option is to buy my own web domain and this will likely happen, eventually. Also, don’t be surprised if you see issues of No Funeral #5 floating around later this year.
Another idea is to compile the existing No Funeral material into some manner of cohesive volume and shop it around, particularly to a publishing house like AK Press. I really like this idea and it too will likely happen, eventually. What is certain is that No Funeral will not end, not now or ever, but things will change.
In using the old No Funeral format, (actually the second format after I abandoned print copies) I wanted to start a community-wide dialogue about rock music’s place in the spectrum of art and to determine this music’s place in the modern world. In this regard, I have failed you. Over 15,000 site visits and 5000 downloads this year have produced barely over 100 comments. I have failed to effective communicate the intent of this site.
That said, all you folks want is free music. In this regard, you have failed me. You continue to treat this music like a collectible and/or a disposable widget. Whoever dies with the most MP3s wins, right? I do not wish to perpetrate this behavior.
Will music be posted on No Funeral in the future? Yes, but in far less frequency than before. I’m done keeping up with the Jones.com. Music will be posted less-often but the analysis will go even further in-depth than before. More arching motifs/unifying themes will be employed and future posts will delve into subjects beyond the realm of metal and hardcore.
How does this affect the price of tea in China? No Funeral will no longer post albums, or anything else for that matter, simply for the sake of posting them. As mentioned earlier, I’m through keeping up with the e-Joneses. No Funeral will be more artfully and skillfully crafted; abandoning the current blogger-vogue of meaningless post after meaningless post.
Bizarre and experimental territories are what the future holds for No Funeral. I’m interested in further blurring the line between fiction and non-fiction. I’m interested in going back to my roots of exploring my own brand of no-future, miscreant journalism. In short, think of this site as interactive Gonzo Letters.
Why Gonzo Letters? A few reasons come to mind. The main reason is me rectifying my previously gut-level Dr. Thompson influence. I never really understood why I loved Hunter S. Thompson’s work so much; I just knew that I did. I wondered how he could produce so much quality work while stoned around the clock and why I could never do it.
I’ve spent a large portion of my “vacation” rereading the works of Dr. Thompson and I now have answers to these questions. I now know that I need to be sober and in touch with my creator to produce work of that quality. I now know that Dr. Thompson had amazing, natural talent and I often wonder what he could have produced if he were sober and in touch with his creator. It’s too late to spend any energy on why it didn’t work for Dr. Thompson and what could have happened if things were different. I consider myself blessed that I did figure it out before it was too late.
Americans are like lightning – filled with unfocused, kinetic energy that can kill at a moment’s notice for no other reason than seeking the path of least resistance. I’d like to think that my energy is better focused now and that I’m losing less of it through the wires. In my life, the wires were drugs.
Another reason for employing the Gonzo Letters tactic is that I feel no need to communicate with anyone directly right now. Instead, I will communicate with everyone and no one simultaneously. The Gonzo Letter format perfectly fits this intention. Maybe this is nothing more than large-scale self-gratification. I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Regardless, shit is about to get weird around here. We’re headed into a strange, new direction. Remember what the good doctor said? “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” THAT is what’s happening at No Funeral. Consider this my declaration for the pro draft. If you thought No Funeral was weird before, then hold onto your fucking hat. If you haven’t the stomach for it, I recommend that you get out now.
Top Five of 2009
(Half of a year, half of a list)
1. ABACABB – Survivalist
2. Mastodon – Crack the Skye
3. Coke Bust – Line in the Sand
4. Impending Doom – The Serpent Servant
5. Earth Crisis – To the Death
10 months ago