|dedicated to the music & fans of Mark
A not very brief, factual yet amusing history of onewhiskey.com
If you're interested in the site, how it came about, and where it's been since, this is the place.
Sometime in 1996, I got a computer. A hand-me-down 386, that ran AOL for DOS - and I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. The internet. Wow. An amazing tool, information at my fingertips, the ability to communicate across the globe...so the first thing I did was look up bands I liked.
Eventually I came across the now defunct Sweet Oblivion, a Screaming Trees fan page run by el Kurt Page. It was a wonderland of articles, images, and fan reviews - actual fans got to write in and say what they saw at the shows, not just reviews from magazines. Fans got to send in their own pictures, too - to actually participate in the site. Kurt responded to his emails, and built a little community of fans, and I was proud to be one of them, sending in pictures and such when I found them.
One day I thought, "Maybe I can make a web page." I don't know why I thought that, I could barely figure out email. But I wanted to have a cool page and community, like Kurt - and AOL had a marvelous thing where you could go and click on colors and such until, as if by magic, you made your own page! And so, The Low-Rent District was born at http://members.aol.com/raeni (which no longer exists).
The Low-Rent District was home to the few items of Screaming Trees interest I hadn't seen on Kurt's page, plus a few items about Mark Lanegan's solo career. There didn't seem to be much out there about his solo career, so a few items was cool. I no longer have a copy of the site, but I can tell you the first color was a sort of aqua, and the graphics were CUTTING EDGE:
Be still your little hearts! As I grew more skilled, The Low Rent District blossomed into two actual sites - Screaming Trees, and something called The Lanegan Annex. Again, the visuals allowing you to choose which side to look at were stunning:
In September of 1997, I went to see Lanegan play at the CMJ Music Festival in New York City on SubPop night. I drove 8 hours. He played 4 songs. But at that point I knew - it was time to abondon the Trees half of The Low Rent District, and make The Lanegan Annex my baby. On New Year's eve in 1997, the change was made.
About this time in our little tale, I acquired a big, fat book about AOL. It told deep, dark secrets of how to make your webpage better, using their Hometown AOL. Kurt Page was still helping me out, trying to explain to me that not EVERY font will show up on a viewer's computer, just because it showed up on mine. He pushed for hand-coding the HMTL, but I was too, well, non-skilled, we'll say. I also became very enamored with purple.
A couple of cool things had happened by this time. One, people began to email me. Fans of Lanegan, who had magazines and music newspapers (yes, real printed ones!), photos, and other cool items. These people graciously typed up the things they had and sent them over, because I tell ya, finding stuff on the web was NOT like it is now. People who played on the albums with him, or played live shows (the first big solo tour, 1998!) were actually contacting me, offering me photos or just encouragment, which was great. The intent all along had been to create a place for the fans to be able to contribute and be involved, and it seemed to be coming together.
Being the late 90's, I had the ability to stay up very late and still make it to work the next day, NOT like it is now. I would sit up going through search engines (no, there was no Google then!) I often used Dogpile, because it would search a bunch of stuff at once. I followed little tiny references and leads for hours until I'd come up with a prize - an article, or a picture, or the email of someone claiming to have read an article or seen a picture. And then I'd contact them, asking for what they had. I got everything from enthusiastic cooperation to comments of "Why would anyone want to make a page for Lanegan?" For the most part, though, people were helpful and supportive.
I started signing up for free webpage sites, like freeserver, to store all the web site images and articles I was finding. The 2MB of storage AOL offered was being rapidly outgrown, and I think I had pages spread out over two AOL accounts and two free webpage places, all linked back to The Lanegan Annex. The site was growing.
The second cool thing that happened was, I got a job because of the site. I started thinking it would be fun to work on webpages all the time, to sit up and dig for information all night - I wondered how people got to do cool things like that. So I started calling companies in my area (Buffalo, NY) that did those things, asking what I would need to do to get started. One person I called mentioned meeting with a young man who was starting his own company - he suggested that I contact him and ask about an internship.
By this time I had mastered email, mostly, so I contacted Craig Chapman at Rare Earth Interactive Design, made my request, and yes, I DID send him a link to that purple page you see above you, my proudest and only internet accomplishment. And surprisingly, he responded!
What Craig saw in The Lanegan Annex was my eagerness to learn, dedication to the job, and attention to detail - I had ALT tags on every image. After all, the big AOL book said I had to...anyhow, he offered to take me on, letting me learn in exchange for helping with small, detail-oriented tasks on his real projects, like zippo.com!
After punching out of my full time job as an animal keeper at the Buffalo Zoo, two nights a week I went to Rare Earth, where I learned to use Fireworks, GoLive, Dreamweaver, and other real programs. Rare Earth was a one-man company at the time, and my limited abilities were put to use in searching for appropriate photos for sites, and using the graphics programs to line things up, and tagging images. My first solo assignment was...to redo The Lanegan Annex. This was the point where Craig broke the news to me that while he appluaded my efforts, the purple site had to go. He also taught me about file structure - the site previously had none at all with everything sitting in the main directory. Considering the volume of information the site contains today, file structure was a DARN good thing to learn! My first attempt at being more professional led to my registering of the domain name onewhiskey.com in 1999 - and inexplicably changing the name of the site to Undertow, and creating this notice:
Rare Earth was hosting the site, for free. So of course right about then, I moved to another state and stopped my intership! I had been offered a Zoo position in Issaquah, WA, so off I went, after creating this:
Several months after taking the new job, I had to return to Buffalo. That's another story for another day. Lucky for me Craig had a spot in his growing company, and I was hired on at Rare Earth as project manager/office manager. By this time there were more employees at Rare Earth, including some very creative folks. I knew I was NOT so creative, but I wanted to fit in:
Undertow, late 2000 - early 2001
While this was a fun look, Field Songs came along
about then. I was inspired by it's earthy look to create this "old
wood" feeling design:
Though very sad to leave Rare Earth, I finally had the opportunity to put Buffalo behind me, and I moved to the Joshua Tree area in California. This caused the green site to remain basically through 2003. And a bad thing happened - without the good influence of Rare Earth, I stopped logging and saving copies of each phase of the website. Which means the fabulous designs that followed this one are gone gone, except for what I could retrieve from the Wayback machine, at http://archive.org. At least during this time, the onewhiskey.com name got onto the site and stuck for good.
This sadly incomplete version of a Here Comes That Weird Chill era, end of 2003 site:
I know the Bubblegum site was black and red, beyond that, it is a mystery. I looked in my files, but I no gots, as they say. Some have suggested I was too busy going to every show on the US west coast Bubblegum tour to have saved the updates (this is true), but I know I was also just plain irresponsible and will try not to let it happen again.
In 2004, the Forum was added to the site, which increased participation about a million times, and brought many tears of joy and sorrow with it. By that point there were so many ways and places to find information, it has been invaluable to me in helping me stay updated and informed - there are tons of people out there who have the time and ability to find things faster than I do, and they faithfully post the information on the forum for the fans to share - which was the entire point of the site to begin with. To promote the music, but to give the fans a place to share stuff.
The sites above were from 2005 and 2006. The ones below are both from 2009. At the time of this writing, the 2010 site up, and I promise to add it to this page as soon as I change it again. So that is the story of how this site came to be, and along the way, I have to say I have met some really great people, had a lot of fun, and yeah, a bit of misery here and there.
While Mark Lanegan's fan base has increased, and information about him via interviews and articles has become much more plentiful, I hope to keep this site updated with everything that can be found. onewhiskey.com, in one form or another, has been doing that since 1997. Thanks to all the fans for keeping this site going. I think our 'community' is pretty much alright.
Thanks to Rare Earth Interactive and Craig Chapman, who continue to host this site for free, despite it being HUGE compared to the little purple thing it first was. If you need serious web site deisgn, optimization, or state of the art applications to allow non-technical people to connect over distance or update their sites, please consider contacting Rare Earth!
And of course, thanks to Mark Lanegan, for consistently making music that is real, that is quality, and that we fans still love. No matter who it's with, or what name the project takes, it's still just what we need to keep us comin' along to the sideshow...
Debbi Sullivan, aka raeni