I’m glad I’m out of the game of writing for a major journalistic body like a campus newspaper or the like, because this next bit of story will be extremely gushy. It’s not that opinions aren’t at least a little bit of an excuse to gush about or mock things that you enjoy. It is that I don’t think blatantly asking you to donate money is a thing I’m really allowed to do as a music writer. That is why I’m not doing this as a dude who used to write for a newspaper. I’m doing this as Trey, guy who likes my friends and wants the best for them.
Here’s a bit of a story. I probably have told it before, but I hope you don’t mind it being told again. About three years ago, I was in a frustrating rut. I had it out with politics at the publication that I worked for at the time and felt very disheartened. I also didn’t know a damn thing about how to properly profile local music, but that’s neither here nor there. I sent out an e-mail with a bit of desperation attached to Mark Hughes Cobb, who at the time (and still currently) runs the entertainment section at the Tuscaloosa News. With a barebones staff, the Tusk section that runs on Fridays still has nice engaging content that has built since the time I’ve speaking of. (Unrelated, but shoutout to my former boss Corey Craft, who writes for T-News and is probably the best film critic at least within the city limits if not the state.)
Anyways, Cobb sent me to this assignment, which was to interview Blaine Duncan. I’ve been told over the years with some slight truth to it that Cobb usually assigns someone new to cover Blaine. It’s slightly true because Blaine is the type of warm genial presence that makes interviewing easy. I’ve seen him be unpredictable, but he doesn’t do that out of malice. He does it because the story is immediately more interesting. I turned in this piece, one that I’m still very proud of to this day. I think about it when I like giving myself nightmares that I’m actually awful at writing and everyone around me is just entertaining a crazy man’s whims.
This was three and a half years ago and I think our relationship has changed from then. I became his friend, which still genuinely surprises me. I started to get the sense that I understand his peculiarities and an engagement with weird types of humor. Anybody that listens to Blaine’s music knows that the guy is funny, either in a pitch black humor sense or just a dry wit that bubbles up to the surface on occasion. As this sort of understanding became more apparent, I chatted him up more. I think I even got a little sad when I saw that he unfollowed me for a brief time, probably because I was on a rant about one of three things I will always have a ridiculous rant about: sexism, pro wrestling, or bad music. I also have a thin skin with close friends, it should be said. Hell, maybe we’re not super close friends, but Blaine makes you feel that way. Then again, most of my friends are writers and their works read like if I asked them questions that weren’t buildups to punchlines. So maybe I just bond with feeling like someone is speaking to me in music, writing, art, etc.
See, I told you this would get gushy. So let’s get down to the real purpose I’m writing this. Blaine’s got an EP mostly in the can called When She Dies. This has been sort of a Tuscaloosa secret for a little while that Blaine made this little record with help from Elliott McPherson of The Dexateens and various Alabama music names. I think I even joked with a good friend that we’re going to have to set up a Kickstarter to get it out, as Blaine often noted that it kind of costs money to put out records. As you’ll see in the link, it’s around $2,500 just to finish what he’s started as well as put out the EP in a format. I recommend you should listen through Blaine’s catalog to get a feel if somehow you haven’t done so. But more than that, I hope you donate because I can’t see a way that this doesn’t turn out at least solid. Apologies for the double negative.