You know, up until about a year ago I still had those emails. The emails in question are three of the most important emails I’ve ever received. These emails defined who I have been for the last five years and they have dictated the path I want to travel down for the rest of my life. The emails come from Albert Mudrian, Mark Vieira and Jacob Bannon. In that order. I don’t think any of these guys knew that they were changing my life with their emails.
Let’s back up. In September of 2010 I started a website. This website was originally titled “Gnartallica” based on my longtime pen surname Gnarly and the fact that it was going to be a heavy metal centric site. I thought it was clever. the website remained Gnartallica for a few months until I was given the brilliant idea to change the name. But before we get there, why did I start a website? Thanks to Albert Mudrian, I was told that the magazine of which he acts as editor-in-chief, Decibel, was not hiring freelancers. I honestly couldn’t blame the guy. I was a nobody kid asking the guy for a gig doing something I had no background in. So I took his advice and I started a blog. From there I started emailing bands and labels, begging for interviews. Want to know something interesting? It worked. That was the first email.
Now, jump ahead a few months and Gnartallica is stumbling along. At this point I have conducted a handful of email interviews and I was working on one for the guitarist of SkeletonWitch when Prosthetic Records then PR dude Mark Vieira asked me if I every thought about changing the name. I have been using my AmericanAftermath@MSN.com email address since 2001. It was my first email and I pulled the name from a headline about 9/11. It had a good sound to it. Mark suggested branding the website with the same name and then history was made. A few months after, I bought the AmericanAftermath.net domain.
Now, let’s get to that third email. The first major interview I ever did was with the great, the legendary Jacob Bannon of Converge. Converge have been one of my favorite bands for years now and when I sent the guy an email asking to interview him, he said yes. He was great and I have always credited him to the building of American Aftermath. Without Jacob agreeing to that interview, I may have just let the website die.
So, the site started in late 2010 and in January of 2011, I began sourcing out writing. Josh Huddleston and Lane Oliver were the first two writers I hired and I knew them both from the same spot: The Metal Injection Forums (RIP). We all spent a night a week listening to Metal Injection’s podcast The Livecast and since we knew what each others comedy was and we dug the same music, I asked them to help out on the site.
Josh wrote some of the most controversial posts ever on AA and posted regularly for a few years. Then I suppose life got in the way and he kinda petered off. Lane and I continued chugging along and we hired other writers who poked their heads in here and there but it wasn’t until we got Bari Ann and Eric Nguyen that we had a solid lineup after Josh’s departure. Of course, as it happens, life again got in the way and we lost those two as well. Eric had school and a radio show and Bari ended up starting a very, very successful record label, Broken Limbs Recordings. So again, Lane and I were alone.
One thing that most people don’t know is that American Aftermath never asked for money. We never took out ads and any cost was handled in house. I never wanted to take our readers money. Everything I did, I did because I love the music and the world I’m writing about. Something Lane and I didn’t realize until we announced that American Aftermath would be shutting down at the end of the year is that we had fans. Loyal fans. I suppose we knew we had SOME readers, but the response we received to our announcement was overwhelming and, while it is sad, this is not goodbye.
The closing of the site is my doing. Keeping up with the news and everything that came along with the responsibility of owning a website just became to heavy for me to hold up any longer. Lane tried as hard as I’ve ever seen anyone try, but I feel it was just too much for us to handle alone. Much like my favorite metal blog of all time, The Number Of The Blog, it was time to close up shop.
While you won’t see me as the head of a website any longer, you can bet your ass that I’ll be freelancing around the metal networks, posting this and that and keeping it real. Lane is already building a new website from the ground up, which is going to be so rad. Thank you to everyone who ever read American Aftermath or wrote for us. We love you all. Farewell.