Bloodrock ‘n’ Rollin’ – from go to whoa and all points in between.
Searching for Bloodrock on the Internet in the early to mid 90’s was like searching for the proverbial needle. Nothing apart from badly written or researched reviews existed on the band that as far as I’m concerned was one of the most progressive of their era.
Having just walked away from a GFR web site (politics saw its demise) I decided to devote more time to this virtually non-existent Bloodrock site I’d (along with Roy Long) been toying with. Basically it started off as did the GFR site, as nothing more than a dedication to the band but something happened that took me and I dare say Roy by surprise, it took off like all get out!
The decision was made to move it to a decent server and expand on it. I looked into obtaining Bloodrock.com but was beaten to it by someone in New York (from memory) who was essentially holding the name for ransom or so I’d been told (the last I heard, Jim Rutledge was chasing this up) so we opted for Bloodrock.net which is when the fun really began.
A decent host meant being able to add more features, such as a forum etc. It was around this time (late ’97) that Ed Grundy contacted me to express his views and concerns. His major concerns were copyright issues and were we in it for the money, or was I just a ‘Fanatical fan with perhaps a wee bit too much time on his hands’ – the copyright fears were soon put to rest and we went on to have a great working(?) relationship, Ed’s input was invaluable.
Of all the band members, Ed, Steve, Lee and Rick were the most approachable, and having the chance to speak by phone with Steve and Lee was nothing more than a treat in itself (one has to remember I am 10,000 miles away from DFW) and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
As the site grew with content, so did its user base – at one stage passing the 1,500 mark. IRC chat sessions were the next big idea; bring in a band member for the fans to chat to. A successful exercise? Some may think so; I was never satisfied with the lack of enthusiasm from the fans when it came to these chats. When the idea was first floated the response was massive so the first chat session was organised with Ed, and we sat in IRC waiting for the rabble to invade – I think it reached ten users, I should have looked at that as a pre-cursor of what was to come.
Along with the chats with Ed, Steve and Lee (With Rusty) dropped by but it seemed like the fans that filled the guestbook with comments of ‘undying loyalty’ chose to stay away. Why I’ll never understand, but again it raised the spectre of a fan base that preferred to either pay lip service or the anonymity the web.
Content for the site was hard if not impossible to come by. Band member bios proved a most difficult task. Ed, Steve, Lee and Rick, again came forward with their biographies but Nick Taylor and Jim Rutledge seemed to be completely unapproachable (once again) – I was starting to get the feeling of ‘politics.’
I can’t continue without saying ‘thanks’ to those that did supply content for the site, it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without that handful (and I mean handful) of ‘truly’ dedicated fans.
During the early period of the site, we sold (or tried to) T-Shirts simply to assist with the overall running costs. We weren’t interested in profits, damn this was Bloodrock this was the band that didn’t deserve the bulk of the crap that the media of the time had covered them in. Did these custom T-Shirts sell? No! Actually I think we may have sold two or three, or did we give them away, I can’t remember – but one thing was for sure, the fan base was still only paying lip service. Although he’d probably be the first to say his part in the Bloodrock site was a trivial one, I couldn’t have done any of what I wanted to without Roy Long. I put the T-Shirt design together and Roy organised the printing, that’s only a very minor piece of input from him, his input was continuous and greatly appreciated.
As we entered the early to middle half of ’98 the idea for the convention was tossed around with the regulars in IRC so, I posted a message on the front page of the site requesting expressions of interest from fans who may be willing to attend such a thing. My mailbox was continually filling up with responses – ‘I’ll be there’ or ‘try and keep me away’ – you know the type. At a blind guess, over a period of two or three months I must have received at least four hundred ‘yes I’ll be there’ emails, as for how many Roy received I’ve no idea. It was mentioned to me that I shouldn’t expect Jim Rutledge to appear at the convention, not unless I was willing to roll out the red carpet and a limo. I laughed at that, but in hindsight should have taken it as a warning of sorts.
This may seem irrelevant to the web site but as far as I’m concerned it isn’t, as it’s this period that was to herald the beginning of the end. During this period, I was approached to assist a local bands vocalist – he could sing, but needed a little guidance. Their manager then asked if I knew a producer to assist with the recording of their first album, not a local one, someone with an overseas name so I approached Ed and Steve who both for reasons of their own couldn’t take the job so in IRC with the now current site webmaster I mentioned my predicament and he suggested someone to contact.
A deal was struck to bring a ‘name producer’ here to Australia, record the album, and then it went on from there. To cut a rather long story short, the bands manager stiffed me for near $1,500, ripped the band, a recording studio and a music store off and left me looking like an idiot in front of this ‘big name’ producer, who’s supposed deal had now just gone down the drain, an ominous silence was now creeping in from the main players in the Bloodrock site, coincidence? I’ve never been able to shake the feeling it wasn’t – the Bloodrock web site was now in its death throws.
The convention was drawing near and to quote Rick Cobb in an email conversation with him about it, ‘The fact that no one came forward to act as your right hand man, someone who could physically go hobnob and hustle the business of organising something as tricky as a convention for hundreds of people is probably the main reason the convention is in jeopardy.’ I was at a loss, we through the Bloodrock site had organised a venue that we’d been told was a decent one, the local bands had been organised and the prizes had been forwarded on (they subsequently vanished prior to the event). The convention was a great idea; I just wish someone else had had it. I copped nothing but flack over its failure, and still feel well let down by the Bloodrock sites fan base and their lip service – the Bloodrock site was now near DOA.
This spectre of politically motivated doom was now hovering low overhead. During all this the Tribute CD was quietly running along. Bands such as Fantasy Factory had sent in some truly excellent covers of Bloodrock material, but why has everyone suddenly gone quiet?
Numerous emails went out from me but never once did I receive a response in regards to it and if I did it would have been a trivial one or I’d have remembered.
As with the convention, all profits were to go to charity, but I got the distinct impression that some people thought we were going to make a bundle from this CD, “NOT SO” but I continued trying to get this CD off the ground – I owed the artists who took their time and money to record the Bloodrock covers at least that.
In its last twisted blood spattered guise, the Bloodrock site received a welcome injection from Ray Brooks, a friend of the band members from their ‘Naturals’ period, and a gold mine of trivial information. Unfortunately illness closed this chapter and sadly he passed away. The ‘Reminiscence with Ray’ page, saw the light of day for a very short period.
Bloodrock – Behind The 8 Ball, the Fan Collection Vol 1. A compilation/best of CD that we had the members of the site vote on for the tracks that should be included. Its 12 tracks spanned from the first album through to Passage. Its sarcastic cover, an eight ball floating in space echoed the way I thought Bloodrock was treated by record companies and media alike. I tried to get that launched, I was even willing to put up some of my own money but it too fell on deaf ears so was shelved, although somehow one of the few (dunno who) who had the preview copy has leaked it to the internet as a bootleg.
I sent more emails about the tribute CD, which again appeared to fall on the same deaf ears or disappear into the void; I was still receiving hate mail for the failed convention, I’d had enough, I wanted out, I took it by offering the site to its current webmaster.
Would I do it again? I seriously doubt it, though if the band as a whole were willing to contribute on a fairly regular basis, perhaps I might. They as a unit have to remember (though it seems Rick does prefer to forget) that they created the monster that is Bloodrock, the fans just followed like screaming 17th century townsfolk howling for the blood of the ego.
This may appear to be a piece penned by someone with a giant chip on their shoulder – not so. I’m just disappointed that regardless of the amount of effort someone puts in to something, there are always those that are ready to drag it down with innuendo, sarcasm or plain back-stabbing.