The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

11 Jul
Bob Hunt

So Long, Surprise

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | No comments

I was a compulsive record flipper in the days of vinyl. Whenever I could break away from my parents, whether at the mall or some discount store, I would make my way to the nearest racks of LPs and look for the file tabs with the names of my favorite artists. Then I would start flipping through those albums, hoping that today would be the day I would find something new. Growing up in a small, Midwestern town, it was the best I could do to stay connected with the musicians I admired. Often, I wouldn’t even know that a new album was in the works until I uncovered it right there at the store. And concert itineraries? Maybe a few dates would come to light thanks to the latest issue of Cream or Circus, but without a regular scanning of bigger city newspapers, a favorite act might swing by the nearest metropolis and be gone without a warning, like the errant path of an unexpected comet. Weekends were for staying up late in the hopes of catching that special performer on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert or The Midnight Special. In between these peaks were the longest valleys of endless record listening and wondering what my preferred entertainers were up to.

One of my all-time favorite artists from those days has a new album coming out at the end of this month, and oh, has the period of anticipating a new release changed! For one thing, I’ve known about this disc for a long time, whereas in my youth I would be lucky to be aware of the release date before it turned up in the record store. Also, thanks to the artist’s own web site, I’ve already heard one of the tracks and have seen a number of publicity stills that will make up the album’s artwork. But that’s not all. I used to think I was one of the few fans this performer had left in the world, but a massive fansite and message board has kept me abreast of every relevant thought of my many fellow admirers. A number of them have succumbed to the temptation of P2P sites and have already heard a leaked version of the as-yet unreleased album. They are currently posting their own reviews of the disc under headlines that include words like SPOILER ALERT. And now that our fave act is touring, photos from last night’s performance are up on the Internet, video is being hastily posted and just as quickly removed from YouTube, and trading circles already have the sounds and sights ready to exchange. Gone are the days of artistic surprise, when the album you brought home contained songs you’d never heard, and when the only way you’d know a concert setlist was if you had caught the same act one state over.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. It used to be tough luck if you missed that once-in-a-career appearance with Johnny and Ed. Miss a Leno appearance, though, and there’s no need to fret. If you didn’t record it, someone else in the worldwide fanbase did and has already uploaded it for your viewing pleasure. And now that every artist has an official website with a tour page, there’s not a chance of missing the nearest concert performance. Still, though, there was something oddly appealing about being an isolated fan, waiting for more while being totally in the dark about your favorite act’s next move. Yes, the valleys were long and deep, but the rare peaks were higher than they could ever be today.

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