Where were you born and where did you grow up?
JR: I was born in Oxnard, California. Kinda in the middle of the state, about 45 minutes south to 4LA and 45 minutes north to Santa Barbara. I grew up on and off between there and Stafford, VA. I also lived on a naval base in the Phillippines during most of my high school years. In ’86 I graduated, moved back to Virginia, then California and wound up here in Dallas, TX where I’ve lived since the mid-Nineties.
What sort of kid were you during your middle school years and what did you want to be when you were growing up?
JR: Just a usual kid. Kinda low-key but friendly for the most part. But after around 10th grade, I was the dude carrying around various cassettes, homemade comp tapes and whatever kinda jambox I had back then. I really dove headfirst into music after being a pre-teen with my older brother’s (EARLY!!!) Chicago, Boston and Heart 8-tracks. Not into sports at all except hockey when I saw the Miracle On Ice thing back in 1980. As far as what I wanted to be when I grew up, I guess that would be something to do with radio. I got in touch with a couple of people – DJs and stuff – when I lived on the east coast just to see what that might be like but it never really amounted to anything. But, I also had friends back in California who did college radio so I used to hang out with them. I did end up doing internet broadcasting for a good bit here in Dallas though and still wanna get back to it at some point in the future
So how did discover metal, not underground metal, but heavy metal music?
JR: Oh man, I love talking about this!!!! When I lived overseas on the base, we had a library with a music section. You could go in and listen to stuff on headphones. This was the early to mid-Eighties so there was a lot of reel-to-reel machines and albums on tape you had to set up so you could listen. I dug up the first Sabbath, put on the reels, strung it up and clicked the play switch. The build-up of that thunderstorm effect and all the ominous feel was creepy and completely hooked me. Then Iommi lets loose that dark, massive RIFF!!!! Plus Ozzy creaks and bellows!!!! Man, it all sent a chill through me, which was kinda scary yet totally fun and killer.
I was the same way back then. So besides Sabbath, who were some other bands you discovered and got into?
JR: Well, the big one back then that clicked for me was Thin Lizzy. I had known about them from the typical “hits” type stuff like “Boys Are Back In Town” or whatever then one of my high school friends had Thunder And Lightning. So I put that on one night when we were hanging out and that opening track/title cut just blew me AWAY!!!! From that moment on Thin Lizzy would go on to be my favourite band. I slowly grew into their catalogue after locking into their more aggressive songs at first. Overall, I started off into the Hard Rock trip but it had to be on the grittier side with some weight in the sound. I was into the early Ratt stuff a lot, bands like Black N Blue – stuff like that. Then Riot’s Fire Down Under was big in my book as well as stuff like Restless and Wild by Accept along with Armored Saint. Then I discovered Metallica, Anthrax, Metal Church and that first Testament record who ruled my world, which led me into all kinds of deeper action.
Riot “Fire Down Under” is a classic. So now when you heard some of those bands you mentioned, did you take to them right away due to some of the speed (at the time ha ha) or did it take a few listens and you were hooked?
JR: Chris, I thought Swords And Tequila by Riot and Accept’s Fast As A Shark were HEAVY back then, hah!!!! So Fight Fire…by Metallica comes along and melts my face the first time that I couldn’t handle it. The funny thing is Ride… is one of my favourite albums now.
Still love the first 3 albums. So you said you were overseas at one point. How long did that last and when did you come back to the US?
JR: I lived overseas from ’83 to ’86’. And since we were talking about Metallica, I graduated that year around when Master Of Puppets was released. I came back to the states with a dubbed copy of that album on bigtime rotation
So when you got to the US is that when discovering the underground really broke open for you?
JR: 1986 was the perfect time for me to start really building my music collection and everything that goes along with it. I was still very into bigger, “mainstream” stuff of course but I quickly developed the urge to dig deeper. I had some pretty cool record stores around me in Virginia. Even the ones in the malls were awesome with those so-called “import” sections, hah!!!! That’s where all the underground action was happening. There also were a few newsstands/bookstores that stocked different music magazines so I totally devoured as many of those as I could. I would check out stuff in, like, Creem’s Metal and Thrash Metal where they would write about smaller bands.
I picked up the skate mag Thrasher because of Mike Gitter’s music column which ruled!!!! Rip Magazine would even mention smaller things I wanted to check out. Eventually, I even got a subscription to Metal Forces in the UK since I dug it so much. Along the way, I found out about demo tapes’, fanzines and local bands too. Plus I was always reading thanks lists on record jackets or seeing who bigger bands were into.
Damn Mike Gitter, I have not heard that name in years! So what was the first metal arena show you went to? Who did you go see and how long did you wait in line for tickets ha ha?
JR: Yeah man Gitter is a big-time industry guy now but he started off just like us with the Thrasher thing and his Somebody Got Their Head Kicked in a column for a mag called Powerline. But anyway as far as big shows go back then I didn’t do the arena thing really. When I was young my brother took me to this soft rock/yacht rock band called Firefall at some big place. I saw Cheap Trick in a baseball field on a USO tour which was cool. But that’s about it. I was more about small to mid-size places when I really started going to shows on a regular basis. My favourite arena show I do have off the top of my head would be Sabbath here in Dallas at Reunion Arena with Pantera opening. That and all the daylong summertime shows at our outdoor amphitheatre called Starplex.
So what was the first underground show you went too and what were some clubs you saw a bunch of shows at early on?
JR: One of the first underground-type shows I saw was at this teen club near where I lived in Stafford, VA. This band from the Northern Virginia area called Silence played. They had Sonny Mayo who would go on to be in Snot and later Sevendust. Another cool show was at this place in D.C. called the Safari Club with Sacred Reich and Forbidden, which was really memorable for a few reasons, hah!!!! In California, I went to the Country Club in Reseda a lot. A lot of the up and coming LA thrash bands played there plus I saw a crazy gig with Napalm Death there where the crowd went absolutely nuts, rushed the stage and caused all kinds of chaos. Also, there was a killer venue in Santa Barbara/Isla Vista called The Anaconda where I spent a lot of time. I saw Man Is The Bastard and Melvins there in one day on two different shows. Then I saw Tool there in their early days. I saw a pretty raw Neurosis gig where Eyehategod opened. I mean, so many bands that went on to be on another level had gigs there.
So when was the first time you heard the term “fanzine” and what was the first one you saw and read?
JR: Fanzines and tape trading back then went hand in hand so the more I got into getting demos the more the world of zines opened up for me.
It’s hard to pin down specifics but I think the first zine I heard about was Ron Quintana’s Metal Mania from the Bay Area in San Francisco. There was another that I got a hold of somehow called Gray Matter from Texas which blew me away. Overall though it was really cool to know about people who had a DIY mindset to support the music they liked.
So at what point did you toy with or think about doing your own zine? Did you do any prior writing before starting your own?
JR: I just started getting cool demos I thought people should know about and I eventually became friends with Brian O’Neil who lived in Virginia when I did. He came up with Curious Goods and we went full-on into it with interviews and reviews. My writing started off kinda cheesy here and there but it got better with time. I just told myself to do it like I was writing a letter to a friend about some cool band I discovered. Eventually, I got the hang of it enough to where I developed some sort of style or whatever. I was way better with words than math growing up and tried to focus on writing and marketing while taking college classes. Basically, I just read a lot of music mags and modelled what I did after what I saw in those.
So why the clever name Curious Goods? Were any other names tossed around?
JR: I think Brian got that from some movie. I’m not sure about any other ideas for names but I remember he really didn’t want to use the word “metal” at all. Our tastes were pretty diverse so I guess the idea was not to pin things down to one specific style of heavy/aggressive music. It was a good move because when I look back at the issues the variety of names on the covers are really cool.
So now, how many people wrote for the fanzine and who were some early writers you looked up to?
JR: Brian and I did the first one then he handed things over to me. I think mostly on issue 2 and beyond was when other people started to really contribute. I had a small group of people who were involved which really helped to fill out the contents really well. It was pretty cool because each of them had their own personality and were totally into it. Mostly all of them did their own zines at the same time as well. To this day I still need to give a big horns-up to people like Matt Coe, Jeff Wagner and my friend up in the Pacific Northwest John Book for being involved. As far as writers I dug goes, I already mentioned Gitter. There was Stefan Chirazi who had stuff in Kerrang and Rip. Also Katherine Turman from Rip and BAM. John Sutherland everywhere he had stuff. Katherine Ludwig during the early days of Metal Maniacs.
There were all kinds of people who shaped my listening habits and influenced how I put words together about bands.
So who was in issue 1? How many copies did you print and how did you get the word put? Did you make ads up that you had other zines and bands spread through their mail?
JR: The first issue had Testament as the cover along with Forbidden, Sacred Reich, Fates Warning, a VA/DC-area band called Medusa plus a couple of others I can’t think of off the top of my head. I would go on to put everyone from Faith No More to EyeHateGod to Prong to Deadhorse to Pantera on future covers. Originally Brian and I tried to print as many as we could. We made copies anyway possible. I remember we accidentally wrecked a xerox machine in a 7-11, hah! But I don’t remember how many of issue #1 actually got made. So, yeah, around that same time we made small ads/flyers that we passed through the mail to the contacts we were making.
So how soon did issue #2 come out and did you have any local stores sell them and did you feel your writing got better with each issue you put out?
JR: Well after issue #1 Brian moved to New York so I put together #2 myself before I packed up and moved back to Oxnard. It wasn’t a huge amount of time between the first and second issues though. But after I got settled back in that’s when I started putting out the zines on consignment in a record store or two around town. And, yeah, I felt my writing did get better. I started to make the pictures look better by copying and play around with the design too. But where I kinda flubbed things though was in making it way too big with pages. It was taking far too long to put out issues on a consistent basis.
Did the mail start to pile up with bands sending you demos, trading with other zines, record promos and zine orders etc?
JR: Things started off okay then they just totally poured in. There are still mail buckets of demo packages in my closet to this day. In Oxnard, I had to get a bigger mailbox because so much stuff was coming in on a daily basis. We had some really great response from getting in touch with labels. They were sending promos/advance tapes all the time. So much so that I arranged things by label. There was the Roadrunner section, the Noise section, the Metal Blade section, the Combat/Relativity section, the Century Media section. I still have it set up that way in my shelves, hah!!!! Even major labels with Hard Rock/Metal bands were cool to work with. There were some great publicity people around back then. In between all that, people from everywhere would buy issues of the zine plus, I would trade a lot with other zines and made friends with so many like-minded people all over the world. (those were the great and classic days of the underground-Chris)
Looking back how do you feel you were at interviews and also doing reviews?
JR: We did it all, man. Interviews, record reviews, demo reviews, home VHS video reviews, live show reviews. I liked doing everything. Having to transcribe interviews back then was tedious but in the end, I really liked how those turned out. Everything was a means to an end, y’know???? Come up with a bunch of good questions, do a decent interview then either decide if it was gonna be a Q&A or in a paragraph story – those type of things. I was into it all, enjoyed it and tried to create something good.
Did your circulation go up with each issue? I know we traded issues back in the day. Were all your issues cut and paste xerox style on white paper?
JR: Not really. I only did the cut and paste, B&W xerox thing. Looking back now I should have pursued doing, like, more of a newsprint type thing which I was considering. There were all kinds of other things besides writing that were involved that made it a real learning process back then along the way. I never got more than a couple hundred done up.
Who were the biggest band you interviewed and one of the worst interviews you did?
JR: Early on in the zine days, it was probably Faith No More right during the time “The Real Thing” was blowing up. I had a cool talk with Mike Patton in person before they played. The worst was Keith Morris from Circle Jerks. That was COMPLETELY on me because I didn’t prepare at all and didn’t go in knowing enough about everything.
So how many issues did you end up doing?
JR: It was almost ten issues. Maybe nine in full. The last one I was putting together just kinda fizzled out. I was really stepping things up with a new logo style, more readable font, less pages. It was gonna be awesome but other commitments took over.
So at the point, we’re you kinda getting burned out on doing the zine?
JR: No, I didn’t get burned out on doing Curious Goods. I just had to spend more time with the other stuff I had going. In the mid-to-late ’90s, I wrote for around five different magazines in the US and the UK at various times. That took up so much of my time that doing the zine took a backseat. It was cool though because I had my column in Rip Magazine where I got in all kinds of underground music.
If you remember what were the 5 other magazines you wrote for in the ’90s?
JR: Oh, I remember, hah! Those were big moments in my life. The first thing I did with Rip was in 1994. It was one of their special issues called “Death Lives” that spotlighted a bunch of death metal bands that were exploding at the time. I got in a few grind bands and some other extreme stuff in that one besides the bigger names around at the time. After that, I did a bunch of things for the regular monthly magazine. I eventually had my own column called Rabid Reverberations where I put in some very underground action for a major, mainstream newsstand publication. Along with that, I did features with Napalm Death, My Dying Bride, Crowbar, Life Of Agony and Machine Head to name a few. I was also getting in reviews for stuff like Buzzov-en, Starkweather and the Power Electronics stuff like Merzbow, Masonna and Namanax Relapse was releasing at the time. I tried to get some cool underground music of all types in Rip. Around the same time that was happening, I also had stuff in Raw which was a magazine based in England and part of the company that put out Kerrang! I was part of their staff in America and covered a lot of stuff going on in California during the nineties. Another magazine I was involved with was called HUH that was kind of a music/lifestyle magazine where I mostly did CD reviews. I went on to do a bunch of stuff in Terrorizer from the UK and the last big newsstand magazine I did was Metal Maniacs, first with Jeff Wagner then with Liz who currently does Earsplit PR. I had a pretty good run back then just writing about bands that I wanted people to know about.
So how did you end getting these jobs? I hope you were getting paid ha ha.
JR: Oh yeah, I got paid, hah! Especially on those checks from overseas with the exchange rates. It really depended on how much stuff I did. But, with Rip, I was lucky enough to meet Lonn Friend at one of the Foundations Forum conventions that went on in LA. He was the editor at the time so that’s how that happened. I think both Raw and Terrorizer contacted me or knew about me somehow. And Maniacs was just knowing Jeff Wagner from the zine days. Same with Liz when she took over until the end.
So now did any bands ever ask you to manage them and if so who? Did you accept or deny the request?
JR: Well almost immediately after I moved to Dallas I started checking out the local scene. I made fast friends with a lot of people and saw a bunch of bands in the DFW area. I was always willing to help out almost anybody. This was, and still is, a great, thriving town when it comes to music. But the one band I really got involved with the most was called Deadindustry. They were kinda like a mix of Hatebreed and Chimaira, but a couple of years ahead of what those guys were doing. They were popular around here and regionally, did big shows with Crowbar, Acid Bath, plus opened for a lot of touring bands. I did a lot more on the promo side of things for them -made merch, flyers and mailing lists. My girlfriend and I spent more than a couple of late nights at Kinkos/FedEx Office on copy machines with all that stuff, hah! I also put out some music by them along the way too. We eventually got hooked up with an upstart label but that fizzled out. They did get us hooked up with artist Travis Smith for some cool album art though then gave us back the album that was gonna be released. Other than that it was just helping out other bands who were buddies. I also did some stuff with my label contacts as far as sending them demos and that type of thing too.
How about being an A/R guy for one of the bigger indie labels or tour manager, etc?
JR: Well it was just where a couple of bigger indie Metal label contacts I had thought my ear was good and knew I was out and about basically just seeing bands. It was a real casual, informal thing. Labels had all kinds of networking going on back then. Press people, fanzine kids, radio people, local promoters – anybody who knew about something promising. The internet and websites like MySpace became changed all that. But, I mean, reps were PICKY. It wasn’t just a CD or a demo being standout. They had to hear about a killer live show or something that made a band cut through everybody else out there. That still applies now but I remember when labels used to ask for unsigned band submissions.
Speaking of live shows, what are some of your favourite shows you have seen? Best live band in your opinion. Weirdest bill you have seen and some of the worst shows you have been to?
JR: Wow, I had to put some thought into this one. I always have loved seeing Neurosis live. I’ve seen them a bunch of times and in all kinds of settings. Big places, small venues, indoors, outdoors, in daylight at Ozzfest. With their full visuals and as they were evolving with that stuff. Once I got so mesmerized by their full-blown live experience I had to be snapped out of it when the show ended, hah! I was lucky enough to see Kyuss a few times which was really cool. Napalm Death with Melvins in London was awesome. The first time seeing Gojira live it sounded like being under a plane taking off, hah. Clutch opening for Motorhead in Austin. Getting to see the modern-day version of Thin Lizzy, that was right on. Weirdest or strangest would be Dillinger Escape Plan with their first vocalist opening for Mr. Bungle. I guess Mr. Bungle were out supporting a pretty mellow record that was kinda tame and that’s what the people there were expecting. So here comes DEP all nutzoid sounding, screaming with all the strobe lights. I was upfront loving it, cracking up at the audience reactions. I saw Soundgarden in a gym in Santa Barbara once where it was decided that rows of connected folding chairs would be a good idea for floor seating. When Soundgarden went on the place just erupted so there were those lines of chairs over everyone being pushed out. The worst was that Napalm Death/Godflesh gig at the Country Club in Reseda, CA I mentioned earlier. The whole place was just bubbling with this weird vibe all night that just escalated. The bands were cool to see, especially Godflesh who did a lot of ‘Streetcleaner’ stuff. But, I think somebody in the crowd was getting hurt while they played and they didn’t realize what was happening. Then during Napalm so much of the crowd rushed the stage at one point you couldn’t even see the band. I don’t know how they even kept playing during all the chaos. There are actually pictures of it in an old issue of Flipside magazine. It was wild. A friend of mine and I walked by the box office window which was all busted out afterwards so that ended up pretty wild. But, the best live bands I’ve dug seeing are ones on their way up to something bigger. Those groups who you know you’ll be seeing in huge places or prime festival slots eventually. The thing that makes it all though was being so close in front of Tony Iommi during one of those last Sabbath reunions. Standing off to his side in the photo pit while he’s churning out those riffs was ABSOLUTELY COLOSSAL!!!! It doesn’t get any heavier.
What were some of your favourite interviews and some disappointing ones?
JR: As far as all the national/international magazines go, I wrote for those until they went out of business. But I got to do some memorable things. Rip sent me to England for my first story on Napalm Death. Everything that went along with that as well as interviewing the band was great. Rip also sent me to New York City for Corrosion Of Conformity while they did the ‘Deliverance’ record at Electric Ladyland studios.- that was amazing all around. For Metal Maniacs I did an early interview with Slipknot where they were not in costume. And also in Maniacs, I have a great story about when I talked to Dave Grohl about Probot. We totally clicked during the talk and when his people said our time was up he specifically told them, “No, I wanna talk to this guy more.” We totally went off on how much we both liked Voivod. On top of that, I did a Q&A with a few of the vocalists on that album. Cronos from Venom answered me back in all caps, hah!!!! As for disappointments, there haven’t been many at all to mention. There was a misunderstanding with Chris Barnes of Six Feet Under when he split Cannibal Corpse. I just let that one go because he took something I supposedly implied the wrong way or whatever. It was so long ago and so insignificant that it does”t even matter to me anymore.
Do you have copies of all your issues? Did you ever consider doing an issue on newsprint?
JR: I had layouts for a couple of interviews done up but never completely finished another whole issue. I wanted to get something out on newsprint but never pursued that option. I still have one, maybe two copies of all the issues. I need to make a copy of the first Curious Goods for myself so I can send Brian O’Neill the original. That’s something I will do eventually, hah!
So I want your opinions on the following, first off
Heavy Metal :
JR: Great movie, one of my favourites. I Gotta watch it again. Sometime. Hah! No, seriously though, you mean straight down the line Heavy Metal???? For me, that’s always been Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, the whole NWOBHM thing. I never really got into Manowar much but that’s just me. (me neither-Chris) I was more into early Queensryche and especially Metal Church who I’ve been getting back into recently. I’ve kinda come around on Cirith Ungol a bit lately but I’ve known about them forever since they’re from Ventura which is right next to Oxnard where I lived. Then there’s Night Demon around now who are kinda related to those guys. What I think is really cool is stuff like what Spirit Adrift and Khemmis are doing. That stuff is what I would call Heavy Metal today. Then there’s stuff like Eternal Champion that does it full-blown without being overly cheesed-out. What I’ve heard of the new Accept is right on. Most of all though, the latest Armored Saint just rules!!!! I have loved that band since the beginning and they are still absolute kickass news. That’s Heavy Metal!!!!
Power Metal :
JR: Not my thing at all. Maybe ‘Keepers…’-era Helloween I guess. But if Savatage ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ would be considered Power Metal then eff yes!!!! I kinda got into it when I was younger but that’s one genre that I never really keyed into. Great Pantera record though, hah!!!! (ha ha-Chris)
Thrash Metal :
JR: Now that’s what I really got into. Way beyond the Big Four too. They were there in varying degrees but I just kept digging deeper looking to discover more and more. I got into stuff like Sacred Reich, Vio-lence, Dark Angel. I just jammed “Kill As One” by Death Angel the other day. Forbidden on ‘Twisted Into Form’. I got really into Exodus during ‘Fabulous Disaster’. Then I was into the East Coast stuff like Nuclear Assault, Overkill. I recently went back and dug up some Whiplash. Along the way, there was the European stuff like Kreator and Coroner for me. But I was the metal guy who liked the heavier side of punk, so I totally got into the crossover-type stuff. When I got ‘Speak English Or Die’ by SOD, that was wild. I got into Cryptic Slaughter, Excel, Hirax. I still dig all that and really went for bands like Wargasm, DBC, Demolition Hammer, Forced Entry and Zoetrope. Exhorder was/is a favourite. There was all the Texas stuff like Gammacide, Rigor Mortis, Devastation and especially Deadhorse. There were a lot of Bay Area bands I found out about during their demos like Epidemic and Horde Of Torment – I dug all that. And I thought the resurgence of Thrash a while back with, like, Municipal Waste was pretty cool. There’s also the crazy Blackened Thrash bands like Midnight and some of the South American bands which is cool. I really dig Plague Years currently on top of everything else I mentioned, hah!!!!
JR: That really kicked in for me with ‘Consuming Impulse’ by Pestilence really. When Brian O’Neill and I did Curious Goods back in Virginia, he found out about King Fowley and Deceased so I knew they were doing the DM thing early on but it didn’t click for me right away. I guess when it really did was when the Roadrunner, Century Media and Relativity/Earache stuff blew up. I started to get into the second Obituary record, Entombed, Grave and way into Bolt Thrower. It was like Thrash though, I gravitated to stuff that mixed in heavier Punk elements. That’s kinda how I started checking out the dirtier, weighty crust. I found out about bands like Sacreliege, Extreme Noise Terror and Deviated Instinct. I went in that direction as opposed to outright Death Metal. The lines were getting blurred between DM and other extreme sounds anyway and about that time I got the Brutal Truth demo. I got into Autopsy a lot though and ‘Blessed Are The Sick’ by Morbid Angel still rules. Massacre too. I do think this fresh wave of bands like Gatecreeper, Necrot and Frozen Soul from here in DFW are really cool.
Hair Metal (ha ha)
JR: There’s almost as much of that stuff as anything else in my record collection, hah! I mean, I started off into harder rock anyway so…I wasn’t too keen on all the sappy love ballads those bands did. I was really into that first Guns N Roses live EP. I still think ‘Night Songs’ by Cinderella is killer. I was way into the first two Tesla releases. I don’t think they really count as full-blown “Hair Metal” though, hah. I guess I went for the whole bluesy, grittier styled bands. I had Junkyard. I had Dirty Looks. Later on The Four Horsemen. There’s Jetboy, Bulletboys, Kix, Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Hurricane all in my vinyl. I dug out this band Princess Pang from the East Coast and checked them out the other day. I got into Dokken for a stretch. Ratt for a big stretch. I have the Whitesnake big hair-era stuff. After a while, I just gravitated away and went more aggressive, weirder and weightier. That stuff is fun to indulge in every so often
JR: For that it’s Darkthrone. They’re one of my favourite bands and I totally dig how they’ve evolved over the years. I’m really looking forward to this new release they’ve been talking about lately. I liked Mayhem on ‘Deathcrush’ plus a couple of other things from them.
That’s about it – just the raw, knuckle-dragging stuff. I never got into all the other craziness surrounding everything that the press made into a big deal. I got into early Bathory a little. Absu is cool. I’ve got a few kinda “obscure” things in the collection like this band Tangorodrim that Southern Lord put out which I still dig. But, currently, I like how Black Metal has seeped into and been mixed up with other elements in bands like Zeal And Ardor. Tombs do that really well. Plus there’s Of Feather And Bone who I really like. Uada is another, along with the whole scene up in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been checking out a bit of Alcest too.
Do you think there are too many bands and labels out these days making it hard for bands, the good ones to stand out?
JR: When you’re a person like me who likes a pretty wide variety of stuff there definitely is a lot to enjoy. But that’s the keyword – enjoy. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone down musical rabbit holes checking out bands – both old and new – on the internet especially. And that can be done with a cool actual music collection too. I do both all the time. You dig up something that was lost in the shuffle of things and say, “Man, this is kickass news!!!!! I should’ve listened to this more.” With heavy music, hard rock, any kind of rock -no matter if it’s mainstream or underground – there will be a handful of stand-outs. The ones who are lucky enough to capture that spark and click with it stick around and transcend. There will be others that carve a niche for themselves and make some impact then the mediocre stuff just kinda drifts away. There are a handful of bands who used to be around with cool records the average person doesn’t immediately know. For every Sabbath or Zeppelin, there’s Sir Lord Baltimore or Cactus. For every Metallica or Pantera, there’s a Bulldozer or a Wrathchild America. For every Sepultura and Morbid Angel, there’s a Ratos De Parao and Ripping Corpse. Every Ministry a Skrew. Every DRI a Life Sentence. Yes, there is a TON of stuff out there, but to me, that’s a great thing. Embrace as much as possible!!!!
Do you have a lot of copies of zines that you traded with and do you have any rare items in your collection?
JR: Yes I do. A whole drawer in a file cabinet. Nothing too rare from what I know. I’d have to look through. Maybe a copy of Ron Quintana’s Metal Mania. I do have a lot of magazines in general. A few Flipsides, MaximumRockAndRoll, HeartAttack, ShortFastLoud, B-side, Seconds. I consider them historical in a way. Instead of a big book library, I have all these chronicles devoted to loud sounds, hah!
So now after your writing stints ended, what did you end up doing with yourself?
JR: The writing on a regular basis wound slowly down with a couple of local music/entertainment magazines here in Dallas. Then I got involved with an internet radio station that focused on Texas-based music. I did a Metal/Hard Rock show with that and co-hosted a local DFW band show before it folded. From there I moved on to another webcast type station with another show. I also started DJing at a couple of bars/venues.
So has any metal websites asked you to write for them?
JR: No. But, on the other hand, I never pursued anything either once printed media started to diminish. And that was back when a lot of established internet stuff now was getting off the ground. I’ve done little things now again in spots, yet nothing completely clicked enough to do anything on a regular basis. There are options available for me as far as web outlets go currently, but it’s got to be a good fit and feel right. I think I’d like to talk more about music than write about it these days. That latter option is always in my back pocket though, hah!
So what are you doing with yourself these days?
JR: Well, just life general and all the things it can throw at someone, hah. A few years back I had an incident that ultimately led to me having to completely try to stand and walk again – just function upright. There are other things that went along with that as well but I’ve managed to get over those to a certain degree. My big-time focus though has been trying to control body balance and actually put two feet forward as good as possible. So, I work on that while dealing with everything else that happens on a daily basis. The whole pandemic thing has given me more time to work on getting better physically. I’ve just been laying low, staying determined and positive mentally. Through it, all music has been right by my side. I’ve discovered all kinds of radio shows playing heavy sounds from across the US and beyond. I’ve gone deep into my record collection and pulled out stuff I hadn’t thought about in years. Music is life to me now more than ever before, just in a different way.
Jerry, I am absolutely sad to hear that. Now if someone reading this remembers you and wants to contact you, the best way is….
JR: Nah man, it sucks and has since it happened, but I haven’t made things a sad situation at all. I’m striving and all my effort has been paying off little by little in so many ways I’ve found that I’ve gotten better the more I’ve told myself to never give up. And when I did manage to get out and do stuff before the pandemic I always had a bunch of good friends and cool people helping me out. It’s still a bit difficult for now but I’m so glad I can tell I’m making progress. Anyway, as far as getting in touch with me I guess the best way is through Facebook. My profile usually has a Dallas Stars or LA Kings pic during hockey season and a bunch of music posts on it so people can find me that way.
What are some of your favourite times during your time during the Curious Goods days?
JR: Probably the biggest thing overall was just getting to know people. Other people doing zines or people in bands I really liked. I discovered great groups like Only Living Witness, Starkweather, Psychosis, – (16)-, 13, Confessor, EyeHateGod, Crowbar. I discovered stuff like Bovine Records, Pessimiser, Red Decibel, Relapse early on. I got to know some very cool label/promo people during those days who turned me on to some stuff that ended up becoming pretty huge. There were people from all over the world like in Denmark, France and Japan who I got to know which is still wild to me. I kinda made my way into the music business on a few levels by doing the zine. I didn’t plan it that way, it just kinda happened, hah. It was all simple, natural and innocent good times from a tape-trader kid who liked aggressive music and wanted to do something with it.
This was a great interview. Horns up for doing it. Glad we reconnect on here. Any last words to wrap this up?
JR: It was very cool, Chris. I had a great time. I did it all on my phone so I’m sure I made a few typos in spots. Hopefully people reading can figure out those. Kinda stream of consciousness on my part too. I just went off the top of my head or with what came to mind. So just let me know where this is going and when it gets up. I’d like to share it. Horns back atcha friend!!!!