Monday, 14 October 2013

Why I Doom Part 2: One Year "Uninterrupted"

One year and just a sliver shy of 100,000 page views later, there are no regrets.

I started this blog because there were so many great albums around, I wanted to do my part to help promote this criminally underappreciated subgenre that had restored my faith in new music.  It was also a good way to stay in shape writing-wise and to give myself a challenge.  I had never done an album review before I started Paranoid Hitsophrenic and I had no plans as to how long I would keep this thing going.  No expectations and no second guesses were just about the only rules I went into this thing with.  Well, those two and the idea that negative reviews are a waste of everybody's time.

Oh, just a thought about the name of the blog.  I'm not great with titles.  I knew I wanted a title that riffed on Black Sabbath, but it seemed like all the good ones had already been taken.  So I started riffing on Paranoid.  Paranoia and identity have been running themes throughout my writing and it seemed like the perfect starting point.  I've been doing what eventually became the 'Doom Charts' forever so I'm always looking for hits for my personal charts, a play on words later and a title was born.

The title of this post: "uninterrupted".  If it seems like a lot of the posts here are disjointed and don't flow as a single piece of writing, it's because they are disjointed and the majority of them weren't written in one sitting, or even in one week.  For the most part, I've had to write reviews in bits and pieces because believe it or not, there is a real life that goes on behind the scenes, lazy as I try to be.  I started off writing reviews in single album-length sittings.  It wasn't long though before I got stumped and would have to break things off early and get back to them.  Also, the time it took to write reviews didn't always make me the greatest of people to live with, especially when the blog was new, the routine was new and there was no great reason as to why I was doing it.  Often, I'd be trying desperately to finish a thought or sentence with my ladyfriend trying to get my attention in the background.  My thoughts didn't often win those battles either.  By now, things have settled in to a more comfortable routine of writing around others' schedules, for the most part ...

I got my first couple facebook shares very early on (via Venomous Maximus and Bison, Bison) and that inspired the hell out of me.  I wanted to say thanks or something so I started a facebook profile and, after being a cynical curmudgeon about 'social networking' for a number of years, I'm glad I did it.  Six months ago I started a facebook page for the blog itself and some 240 'likes' later, I'm slowly learning how to run it properly.  I started doing interviews early on because that's just what music sites do and over the course of the year, I think, I learned how to do those the right way too.  Hell, I've even been interviewed myself a couple times (on Temple of Perdition and The Ripple Effect websites) and those were a lot of fun.  They taught me a lot, those interviews.  The thing I'm most proud of is that I continue to learn something new about life or writing every single day and Paranoid Hitsophrenic has been a huge part of that process this year.  It might be time to get back to doing those ...

Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I opened up the doors for review submissions and was excited to see the response.  Before long however, it became overwhelming.  At one point I had a queue of some 70 albums and EP's to review.  Being just one guy, with a full time job, I started being unable to fulfill commitments as the list of submissions spiraled out of control.  For that reason, the year hasn't been a complete success and I had to close the submission door.  I did whittle that list down a bit but there are still 52 albums and EP's in that list that I never got around to featuring.

I went a bit crazy with the year end stuff, which I think is a lot of fun.  I wrote something like 120 or 130 short reviews of different albums in December on top of my regular schedule of articles which put me way behind schedule.  When the new year hit, I decided to up my game and really focus on the writing, trying to make it as strong as I possibly could, and for a time, it seemed to be working.  I started writing reviews on the side for Stoner Hive and it felt like I might be stretching myself a little thin.  Then I opened my big mouth and said how much I'd like to write for Sludgelord ... one day.  Well, it seemed there was no time like the present.  It wasn't long after that that The Temple of Perdition came calling.  I'm a huge fan of that blog too and there was no way to refuse the invitation to write for them.  I had a week off in February and I pulled myself out of the quagmire and got a week ahead of schedule.  By mid April I was behind again, writing for four blogs and starting to struggle with the words.  How do I say roughly the same thing in a new way?

It was around that time that I started the facebook page and from an idea by Steve Miller (who writes for Temple of Perdition), I came up with the concept of the 'Super' Doom Charts (he even came up with the name, though that was later).  What an insane thing that was to do, but remember, there have been no regrets here.  Compiling the 'Super' Doom Charts ensured that the end of every month is a chaotic clusterfuck but it's the best damn idea I ever had for this blog.  The first one rolled out June 1st.

Then, the day after America's Independence Day, my Step-Father passed away suddenly and it was time to focus on real life and family once again.  It's still tough and my mom's still taking it hard.  It's still really tough.  Anyway, I had to stop writing for the other blogs after that and there are no hard feelings.  When it happened, I was working on a review of Steak's then-new 'Corned Beef Colossus' EP.  I started writing it at their place, where I was staying for the weekend with my ladyfriend.  We do that occasionally.  I played the EP and Step-dad commented that "Hey, these guys sound like Black Sabbath!"  I wrote it into the review.  I found it weird because of all the bands I listen to, Steak seems like one of the least Sabbath-y of them all.  It was a good weekend.  Less than two weeks later he was gone, and I couldn't bring myself to finish the review.  Just thought I'd share that brief little story.

After that, I just didn't have as much time to focus on the blog and I found myself, more often than not, listening to an album for the first time, reviewing it and posting it here all on the same day.  That's not the way I like to work, but I had to do it to keep this thing going.  By now things have calmed down quite a bit.  These days, I like to listen to an album once with no pressure and no thought of starting a review, then listen to it a second time and write an introduction (things always go easier when you have a good introduction), then listen to it a third time on the day of posting, and write the bulk of the review in that one sitting.  It's a good way to work, I think because it's less stressful.

The blog keeps growing.  Even as I write this, this has been the biggest day for the blog yet.  Why?  I don't know, but things keep expanding rapidly.  I went from 20 pageviews a day to 200, then to 400 and the blog is currently enjoying its first four digit pageview day, a year to the day that it was born.  But it would all mean nothing without the relationships that have been forged along the way.  Getting to know my fellow reviewers and music fiends from around the world and some of the dudes in the bands has been the highlight of the whole process.

Artwork by Olaf (Talis)
It's been a crazy year.  I never thought this thing would catch on, even in the small way that it has.  The readership has grown every single month and the posts here have been shared more times than I can count, more times than I even know about I'm sure.  There was ample opportunity in my personal life and ample excuses to lose interest, stop blogging and move on to other things.  The demands of the blog are such that I've started three short stories, one novel and one non-fiction book (plus another novel idea and an idea for a comic book series) this year and have nothing concrete to show for it.  There were other ideas that came and went too, nothing outside the blog got finished.  There were plenty of blog-related ideas too that came to nothing.  There were so many things I didn't have time to do.  I had no idea what would happen with this blog, but I had about a dozen ideas when I started, most of which were never done, some of which were quickly dropped or only done once.  Time is a mothah and it goes by way too fast.  And yet there are no regrets.  I don't resent the blog for the time it consumes and I don't see it as an imposition.  What's sustained me over the course of a crazy year is that people keep reading and keep sharing what I have to say about this or that album, or my lists of what I'm listening to at the moment.  It makes me give a shit.

Today, Paranoid Hitsophrenic celebrates its first birthday and it's all your fault.  Thanks everyone!

Rick Cimato (Thinning the Herd)
Mike Scaccia (Ministry, Rigor Mortis)
Jeff Hanneman (Slayer)
Kevin McDade (Behold! The Monolith)
Craig Ethier
Joey LaCaze (Eyehategod)
The Gates of Slumber
Mike Boone (Sourvein)
and everyone else who went down fighting this year.

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