Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mike Portnoy's Forum Retrospective (Part 2)


Digital Dementia

Forum Meetups

Roseland Ballroom

The Six Degrees Leak

So there's a ton of anecdotes and memories from the earliest times I was on "The Forum"

First off, I probably did, at least on the forum, explain my username, "angra1." But likely never in here, so I'll go ahead and do it now again.

So 1 of the things I noticed early on hanging out on the Forum and was there were a lot of other features besides the General Chat.

The Chatroom #mikechat which I'll try and add more later to.

Mike's "Hero of the Day" which in the early days, was 1 of the coolest parts of the forum. A featured band/album/movie/director/tv show or something else he would give a THUMBS UP to. Honestly, I really began to miss this feature once he stopped, long before Social Media even. And even with the Forum posting gone now for everyone else but Portnoy and the Admins, I would LOVE to see him do these again ON THERE (along with or instead of Social Media) besides his End of the Year Lists, etc.

Because I can trace maybe a dozen, or 2 or 3 dozen Bands and Movies especially that I got into just from that 1 feature.

Tourography including all the SETLISTS

But getting back to the username, there were pictures of maybe 50 or 100 or more users on there. "Userpics" or something. And this was long before the days of even Avatars mind you. In the year 2000, pictures could take a lot of memory/load time, depending on your connection and the website.

So I wondered what username to pick obviously, and 1 of the things I thought of was, lol, WOMEN somehow. A band like Dream Theater and a progressive rock community, well, didn't have many. But my naive 23 y/o self, single, wondering if I'd ever meet someone, even long distance.

If you were female and a fan of this stuff on an online community, you would have your pick of the litter potentially. So, I somehow came up with the silly idea to PICK A NAME STARTING WITH THE LETTER "A."

Like AAA or AAAA-Painting, etc, it might be the 1st name some woman (or anyone) would see if they look through the userpics part of the forum/website.

And with it being Angra, well I was especially at the time a pretty big fan of the band Angra, and they were maybe the 1st band I could think of alphabetically, so like Kevin Moore said, I thought of a user name and had to register something so I just thought what the fuck?

The "1" was just to sort of add a numeric part and 1 of course. Not necessarily claiming to be their biggest fan there or anywhere, although I came to sort of think of myself as 1 of them. Although ironically, my interest in them dwindled once the split happened and Andre Matos formed Shaman and then went solo, etc.


1st Era 1999-2002 (Part 1...?)

I guess the thing to do is just think about the ERAS so to speak. When I joined, the place had been up and running for almost 9 months I guess, although it was very much still in its infancy. DaveH aka Dave Hatlee had created it/set it up, etc both the website and forum with some pretty modern software for the time I want to think.

But the 1st ERA I guess I see being from that point of inception. Many regulars from other places previously, largely the Ytsejam Email list "The Jam" as it was known signed up.

Many for news and to discuss the new album Scenes from a Memory which was released the previous October I recall. And there was a long, epic topic discussing the story largely that I'll be honest I maybe read once or twice, but never got around to reading all the way through. Hence, why the site was intimidating to me. It may have been 50 or more pages long, I dunno.

Many came there to talk about the live shows, and of course trading bootlegs (which I learned way back in 1995, was a very big part of being a Dream Theater fan, like many bands).

But this ERA I guess may be easiest to look at from the launch point of the site in June or July of 1999 all the way through the last "Crash" per say on 5/18/2002. If you registered before that date, your Registration date was 5/18/2002. And I was 1 of I dunno, 3000? maybe more who had that.

Why I guess that is when the 1st ERA ended, is partially per eventually many people left or posted less. And it was clear many regulars didn't come back after that Crash. Mind you, there were maybe 2 or 3 previous "Crashes" but the 1 in May 2002 always stood out as like the final Big Crash where everyone had to re-register, etc.

But I can say this, like many bands, tv shows, etc (even Cheers, which the Forum it has donned on me, was sort my real-life Cheers in some ways. And Cheers is an all-time favorite show of mine. Also Gary Portnoy wrote/recorded the theme..lots of connections/nuggets, i know :p), I have a FONDNESS for this period of time on the Forum.

I'm not sure if the activity level was the highest, but I guess it just felt NEW and was a time and a place that always had things to read about. I was probably my most active then too, I think. I guess from a Forum/Forum-related and social-with-forumers largely online (and some in-person, both in Minnesota at concerts (DT and prog related) and at Festivals like Nearfest and especially ProgPowerUSA.

But when I went to the forum, and it was often at night/late at night. I would check the General Chat and would very often go to the #mikechat chatroom. I actually think I and many others used to use the Chat more than read or at least post in the General Chat Forum.

Why? well it was instant, and there would be regulars hanging out in there. Weymolith, Esucarys, DaveH, Tabs, mandaX, mabrown, Vampy, Kirby, KorgX3, DTF, Evilgerbil,, Jared Chrisallen, Pellaz....many many others. I do recall both Chrisallen and Jared came along a little later, but they were definitely both regulars in there.

And part of the #mikechat or later on their own chatroom was DaveH's "Digital Dementia" radio show. Which happened spontaneously it seemed. I recall hearing it maybe half a dozen times. And I don't remember if it was the 1st time, or 2nd and on, I recorded a lot of it. On a Mini-disc in fact, so the quality was not great. But I do still have many of those recordings, now packed away in my storage space (although I know where).

Digital Dementia was like Howard Stern, but for Prog and Metal nerds in some ways. Dave was the man on the Mic and in some was a Mac-Daddy, lol. It seemed the limited women who were in the chatroom or who would call in, and would address things adult-related.

Edit: now thinking more about it, it was more Dave coerced them to talking about their sex life, but they always seemed willing/consenting conversations.

So maybe it was more like Dr.Drew. Dave did it well though.

Digital Dementia would go on sometimes 3, 4, 5 or more hours.

Shit, I don't remember how many times I tuned in, and recorded (which I will admit, I probably stopped after 3 or 4 times since those recordings went rather long).

But I can remember 3 shows especially:

1 featured at least 3 callers/calls. 1 being LTE Tabs playing live guitar on the phone. He played some Dokken (calling them "Butt Rock" but not bad "Butt Rock"), and then him playing the guitar solo for "The Spirit Carries On" and also for "Under a Glass Moon" which after he did,

Dave was like "Okay I'm gonna hang up on you now.

LTETabs: "No no no no no. Why?"
Dave: "That pisses me off that you can play that!"

which had me rolling on the floor laughing my ass off (roflmao). I loved it when Dave gave him and others a hard time. It was comedy gold.

But the very same show, was an absolute CLASSIC. The 1 and only DTF called in. Brian from Eastern Canada (Toronto?).

Dave to DTF:"This is like a bad episode of Beavis and Butthead man"

DTF likely was drunk, but even if so, some of the shit he was saying like

"you're a boot" and Dave was like "I'm a Boot?"

and DTF says "Yeah, you're a boot. I always call people a boot, because they don't know what it means." 

part of this is you'd have to hear it, which I wouldn't share it publicly, but I was in TEARS laughing so fucking hard.

Dave: "Who the fuck is Mike Patton?"

DTF: "You don't know Mike Patton is? You're a moron. I'm not going to grace you with his name."

Dave: "Hey, before you go, you have to request a song"

DTF: "Do You have any Winger?"

Dave: "Winger? Do I Have any Winger? C'mon, do I look like a guy who never wore hairspray?"

I guess at some point, I may try and revisit this recording, and transcribe more of it, if not the whole thing. In TEXT like this, the humor may not come across like it did in audio.

But to add to that, I remember that same show Kirby called in. Aka Nicole. And among her stories, she mentioned being in a movie "The Chase" when she did some acting or "stage work" as I recall "The Hitman" who was on the mic as a co-host with Dave at that time.

But maybe the best line was

Dave: What do you do?

Kirby: I do work creating Project Management Software for a company

Dave: Is anyone at your work having sex?

Kirby: Not currently, no.,

Dave: Really? Wow, What a shitty place to work.

And the last memorable portion of this particular show had 2 callers.

KorgX3 (or just Korg? aka Chuck who was from either Idaho or Montana, I forget) and EvilGerbil who was from somewhere in California I think.

There was talk about crushes and sexual exploits, and eventually some stuff about toothbrush and someone's dad using hair follicles and a magazine. AKA Some weird, OUT THERE SHIT, although for 2000 or 2001 or whatever maybe it was, but maybe today, it may not seem so much.

But my favorite line was probably

Dave: He totally stole your thunder Gerbil. He took the Golden Dementia Award right from under your brow.

So to wrap up (for now) the Digital Dementia portion, there were a few other memorable shows, namely with JKasper and Esucarys and some of the Partys. Also the dude from Pope's Pizza. I guess Dave received a complementary Pizza from them on 1 or more occations.

Digital Dementia eventually became and Dave along with Weymolith and some others migrated it over to that site. It was an online radio station/network for many years. Sometimes having interviews with the likes of Portnoy of course and even Kevin Moore.

I wasn't able to follow it/listen etc as much once it migrated over there, but I did sometimes and was on the forum there. That was maybe 2003 2004, 2005. I'm not sure when it ended. Maybe around 10 years ago I thought I saw Weymolith mention on Facebook.

per the time tonight. This Era or Chapter will try and resume sometime tomorrow. The 1st ERA though, is likely not DONE with just a whole schpeel about DD, because like I said up above, this was a HUGE time to be on the Forum. But per length and timing (and I often hate writing a whole shit ton of stuff out and then just have to leave it in Draft Form), I'm gonna put this up and see what I can get to tomorrow and/or over the next few days. Somewhow this weekend though being my 1st Wedding Anniversary and a Trip to Duluth, I dunno how far I will get with this.

But, this is already a NOVEL of course. But we're talking a long 17+ years of my life telling about the time I wasted. It was never going to be SHORT, lol.