Back in 1997, the internet was a very, very different little beast. You had to tap into a telephone line to get online, and downloading took forever and a day. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Youtube, no Soundcloud. But the word was out that HTML was so easy a child could learn it, and the "homepage" craze had begun accordingly in earnest. Most of the people who were creating these pages had anything but talent and original ideas. Thus, you had 1,000 "websites" on the Beatles and Pink Floyd, and about half a billion Simpsons "homepages," all with the same damned completely generic content. The web in '97 was anything but a worldwide archive of everything that exists under the sun. There was no Google, only a gaggle of equally shitty search engines like Altavista and Lycos and I forget the names of the rest.
The idea of a website devoted to a latin rock group whose records I'd discovered on a day trip to Mexico was certainly innovative for its time, but it seemed like an absurd idea to bring into this sort of online climate. Yet that's exactly what I did, though only after joking about it to myself for some time, I now admit. And again, none of today's powerhouse social media outlets existed then, so there seemed nowhere to promote my site but on those shitty search engines, which you had to send your web address to and then wait weeks for the listing to appear, and a seedy little garage-rock message board I never felt like I fit in on. But through some folks I met on that board I heard albums I'd not heard yet by the band in question, and through the search engines, my site quickly reached Mexico City... and Armando Nava, leader of Los Dug Dug's, that band whose music I'd first come across in Mexico.
Quite honestly, were I first discovering Los Dug Dug's today, I would definitely not be starting a site devoted to them. With every last bit of worldwide knowledge of music at our fingertips now, there would surely be no need to. The sites started by myself and so many others on Geocities and the like were primitive offerings in both content and design, created with the limited capacities of the web as it was in '97 in mind. These days the various templates are already in place so all you have to concern yourself with on your Facebook, Blogspot etc. is the content itself. But back then, I had to make do with what little I had available... including my own practically nonexistent design "skills." Somehow, though... I got my message across. And oh, what I got in return for it all.
Over the course of several future posts I plan to tell the full story of raybrazen.com, the websites I produced and maintained under that banner from 1997 to 2010, and the amazing adventures, both good and bad, which came as a result of its many successes. Stay tuned, folks.