By Gary Wright

[December 30, 2015]

Apologies, as this has turned out to be a long post. It is one, however, that I have planned on doing for quite some time...

Well, what a year it has been. It is now roughly one year since I started getting back into the Des Moines/Iowa rock/metal scene. I never, ever, expected my involvement to get to the point it has. Being an information and statistics nerd, I have tried to keep track of everything that I've done, and below are a handful of achievements, highlights, and numbers for you to digest. Bear in mind that, as far as most of you are concerned, I was a 'nobody' when all this started.

In roughly ONE year I have created/founded/edited/inspired...

THE NAMELESS PROJECT - Created from scratch, totally hand-written code. Years of data, all compiled into one website. 330 individual bands/projects with full pages, 100+ bands listed without pages, 190+ more 'miscellaneous' bands listed. Over 600 band names in total mentioned and documented on the site.
* 2x published articles.
* 2x published interviews.
* 5x published album reviews (once updated).
* 90+ band members/musicians who gave specific information or answered questions as part of my own research and fact checking.
* 25+ websites used for information and information confirmation.

The Eye In Iowa - 40+ punk/rock/metal/alt bands from Iowa featured. New band showcased every Friday.

Dark Ages - 150+ videos uploaded to my YouTube channel, 30+ playlists created, 25 song videos added to netlabel playlist, 93,000+ views, 200+ subscribers.

Social media - 5x Facebook pages, 1x Facebook group, and 1x Twitter page created. Am a member of 15+ Facebook groups for Iowa/Midwest bands/musicians/scene. I converted my own, personal Facebook page for pretty much music promotion only. I started off with around 90 friends on Facebook, in a matter of just months it's shot up to over 500 since doing music promotion.

Affiliations - 5x affiliations including 3x promotional labels and 2x radio stations.

Roster - 45+ bands from or linked to Iowa that I have actively or retrospectively tried to specifically promote, support or keep alive. Many more that I help on a one-off or behind-the-scenes basis.

Radio - 35+ bands from Iowa have had music submitted to a single radio station by myself on their behalf. So far 8+ radio stations across the UK, USA, Canada and Australia have been used in targeted promotional efforts.

Endarya - A black metal band from Ames, who I created and/or edit their Artistecard, Big Cartel, Facebook, and ReverbNation pages for.

Alone In My Darkness - The solo project of Ethan Hazelwood from Ankeny, where I now have rights to edit his Facebook and ReverbNation pages.

Financial - I bought 25+ digital releases, and got dozens of free or gifted downloads. I donated to 3+ fundraising campaigns and paid for 2x miscellaneous efforts outright in goodwill.

Workload - Some weeks I've put well over 30+ hours in (that's actual work, not including breaks), and being awake at 2am having Facebook conversations with musicians.

Behind The Scenes - 50+ text files offline with organized (and unorganized!) notes, checklists, to-do lists, info yet to sorted or published.

Other - Helping 3x bands advertize and search for new vocalists.


Highlights and milestones of the year include:

* Getting a band a slot on an out-of-state metal festival and paying for their trailer rental costs!

* Getting an old punk out of a spot of bother by wiring him money for a taxi fare!

* Getting named in Murder Earth's CD booklet!

* Being sent my first ever gift package from a band in Iowa!

* Being phoned at home in England by a band's manager in Iowa!

* Having a band's set dedicated to me!

* Having a band send me a video message for my birthday!

* One band using my album review as part of their submission package for potential festival and tour placements.

* Being told by one Iowan musician that I have done more for locals than any of the successful bands or musicians that came out of Iowa.

* Being able to send musicians their songs from previous bands/projects because they have lost them over time and I have them saved in my extensive audio archives.

* Being told that the writing in my album reviews is better than a lot of people who attended further education in that specific field, by a graduate of the University Of Iowa.

* Inspiring two very special people (you know who you are) who have been doing this sort of thing longer than me, to be better at what they do and have more drive than they previously had. Inspiring one of those people so much that they branched out on their own, going solo, doing similar to what I do... after previously having been just a part of a promotional entity with many staff members.

* Looking at an employed position within a U.S. rock/metal promotions agency, being offered a position... but turning it down in favor of catering for more bands, of my choosing, only from Iowa.

* In roughly 6 months going from practically being a nobody, to being desired by many to visit Iowa... some even wanted me to move there!

* In roughly 8 months being told that there's now an effort to get me to go to Iowa by fundraising the money for my plane ticket... and a show specifically for me, with bands of my choosing, to see once I get there!

* In roughly 11 months actually being asked by bands and musicians if I will review their albums (not even necessarily rock/metal albums by bands from Iowa)!

* Plus many more things that I can't immediately think of...

In essence, I've achieved all of this with a laptop and an internet connection, sitting over 4,000 miles away in my bedroom. I'm not saying it's been easy. I treat this as a job, in its own right. I also simply cannot guarantee that I can keep this level of work up, and at this pace. Real-life keeps getting in the way and it's a constant struggle to deal with people so far away as it can be very lonely and disconnected for me. It also takes a tremendous amount of my time, because I am an absolute perfectionist and have OCD which never helps. Whatever happens, and if anything, this effort from me this past year just goes to show what can be achieved, and hopefully has set a new benchmark of what one person can do, if circumstances permit. I hope I have served you all well, and I look forward to dealing with you in 2016.


Some comments:

Anna MacDougall -- "You are a badass mdear and I don't mean that in a hokey way. Your empire has definitely grown and you are one of the biggest inspirations out there for this industry and what you bring to the table. You definitely are one-of-a-kind and I cannot wait to see what you do in 2016 and beyond."

Andy Meyer -- "Keep up the good work bro !"

Casey Gray -- "If AP ever wanted a manager u would be the guy"

Celestino Sal Ramirez -- "You're one of the most driven guys I've ever met and feel very blessed to have had the pleasure to meet ya!"

Brian Ickowitz -- "More than most do here in actual iowa... Keep up the good work and honored to know ya... Even if its lil ole iowa saying it, you are huge in our hearts!"

Roy Milligan -- "Your admiration for music here in Iowa has definitely been felt. It's pretty amazing how passion can be felt from such a distance!! Thank you for not letting your location limit such. You have definitely found out more history of the music scene than must here even. Its crazy how things unfold. Just imagine the things that have yet to be found. I have about 10 years of video and recordings of most of the local scene from before ABSOLUTE POWER. Keep up the good work and thank you again!!! P.s. Brian is right"

Edward W. Henry IV -- "Gary thanks for all you've done, what a list of credits for ya....your a busy man and your work is noticed by many....thanks"

Tim Dominic -- "You know your Murder Earths official 6th member! We love the shit out of you brother!"

Tanner Djentsen -- "Thanks for supporting all the bands!"

Douglas Havlik -- "Thank you Gary!!! Keep It Alive!!!"

Craig Lankford -- "As always, you the man!!!!!!!"

Naomi Biela -- "Thank you for everything Gary! I just met you and you are a wonderful guy."

Cory Holden -- "Thats awesome, i also have had similar success, using what I know and the wonderful people in Iowa, as well as I met you via online articles and great reads, keep up the amazing work and I hope to meet you one day! Stay positive and keep up the great work, theres much change thats positive coming in 2016"

Nathan Regennitter -- "I just read your post on your year in review and just wanted to say thank you for all that you do to support all the home grown talent from the heartland. Keep it going strong into 2016"

Note that this article was originally published on Facebook as a post...
[Gary Wright - Apologies, as this has turned out to be a long post...]