In 1993 I made my first ‘zine, which was distributed for free in my High School. In the years since then, I have taken on a number of hobbies that match the fun and excitement I felt when I sat down to layout that publication. My joy when it came to radio was almost matched by doing interviews, writing for the paper, video editing, playing in bands, and, most importantly, meeting other people with similar interests. I’ve really enjoyed all the work I’ve done in the last 20+ years, as it has not only been preparatory, it has been the most fun I’ve had in that time.
Strangely, I never considered myself an artist. Or even close to the world of Art. At best I called myself a DJ, and at worst, a writer. But I never made a profit, never found myself in a position to get work with what I was doing, and more importantly, never put myself in that mindset. I made ‘zines. I made radio. I made albums. But I saw it more as a hobby than anything else. In reality, I would have another job, and that would be my vocation. This is why I rarely collected money – if anything, a single dollar – for the stuff I created. The joy was in the making, and that was good for me then.
However, as I have honed and cultivated a set of skills since the early ’90’s, it occurred to me that the amount of hours I had put in were vastly surpassing anything else I’d done in my life. I couldn’t really call myself a retail clerk, and an office specialist seemed far from the truth. Dishwasher never set well, and farm hand was very short lived. If there was anything I could apply a title to, it was, in fact, artist. I’ve been making things for a long time now. It is the thing I have done the most, for the longest time, and with the biggest passion. Certainly more that IT Support.
Now I Have To Do The Hard Thing
Most of the things I make usually fall into the “free” category. Radio and podcasts are still things that are part of the media landscape around us, and blogging is usually not considered a “paid” position. And I’m not really interested in changing that dynamic. But as our world becomes more digitized, and traditional jobs are not longer a way of life, those of us that make things find ourselves in a position of asking – politely – for money. I’m not comfortable with it, and I’m sure you aren’t, either. I find most things involving money to be frustrating and difficult, and I would rather not have to go down that road. However, it also seems strange to put so much time and energy into making things, without at least breaking even so I can keep doing it. I’ve gone without earning much for so long, it seems awkward to change that now.
Still, this is my job. I am, for better or worse, an artist, with everything that comes with that understanding. And if I’m going to this much time into something, it should be worth my time to ask you to help support it. My promise is that I will keep making things that I like, and offer much of it for free. What I’m asking is that, when I make something new that does require a few dollars to enjoy, that you send a little support my way.
I promise to make it worth your while. I will put care and attention into all the things I offer for sale, and when you buy, I will make the thing something that feels like it is worth owning. As much as I am an artist, I am also a fan. I know what it is like to buy something, take it home, and appreciate it. I download music and podcasts like everyone else. For me, I want to make sure I’m not ripping you off, either.
So, What Have You Got, So Far?
I’m glad you asked. Right now, we have two albums that are available for you to purchase, in a digital format, for $5.00 each:
The Ways of Ghosts
This is a spoken word album of Halloween Ghost Stories, written by Ambrose Bierce, and read by Austin Rich, with music and sound effects by Austin Rich, too.
This compilation of music by 20 artists was a party favor at the 15th Anniversary Blas-travaganza that went down in 2013. Now you can pick this up and enjoy the best in punk, experimental, rock, electronic, and everything in-between.
We also have a two-disc set that you can pick up in either a digital or physical form for $10.00:
The Shindig Shakedown (Disc 1) (Disc 2)
With music, zines, photography & art by over 80 artists, this massive collection (affectionately referred to at the office as a “digital seven inch”) was a party favor for those who attended my 40th Birthday party in April. Now, you can pick up the collection and rock out to a vast array of friends & well-wishers of our work over the last 20 years. This is the cumulative work of the end of 2014 / beginning of 2015, and is a real compilation, in every sense of the word.
And, if you’re feeling very supportive, we have three albums available that are entirely free, and yet, as with all of these albums, you can pay what you’d like, and help keep up going:
Cathead – In Loving Memory Of Harold (Expanded Edition)
This avant-punk group – largely from the ’90’s – recorded varying qualities of songs and live gigs over their short existence, and with the magic of the digital age, more people can experience these recordings than every saw us live in the day. This is where “pay what you will” really comes in handy.
Moth Hunter – No Contact (Live)
Moth Hunter has been a friend for some time now, and performed live on our radio program to supply the backing music for our program “No Contact.” The music is available here without the mixing and editing of the other samples that were used in that program as a four piece suite of songs for you to enjoy.
Live At Habesha Lounge 13 April 2013
This contains all the music performed live at this amazing Ethiopian restaurant in 2013, where I first joined The Dead Air Fresheners on stage for a spoken word performance. This was an incredible show, of which there is video, too, and you can enjoy it all.
Really. Thanks. I would most likely continue to do this without you, but knowing that you are out there – and that you are willing to lend a hand – only adds to the joy of making music.
Keep up the support, and you’ll get to enjoy cool stuff like this more often.