Hats Off To Bryan Baker by Dick Metcalf
One of the early, smaller sized editions of Gajoob Magazine published by Bryan Baker.
Baker later went on to do a Homemade music publication and then later, Tape Germ.com with Chris Phinney, an interactive loop based web site. There are many interesting artists currently working and offering free downloads.
Gajoob went to a larger format after a few issues. Baker is now involved in Discover Sounds, a review and information site that archives the Gajoob reviews and info. He also runs IndieOneStop, an artist resource for making CDs, distribution and networking.
You can see ( our profiler) Rotcod Zzaj’s name on the cover of this 1993 issue above.
Gajoob was an essential publication for home tapers and for me personally. Of the 4 people listed on the cover of this 1990 issue I am still in contact with 3 of them. And these 3 are turning out some of their best work now. Only guitarist Kathy King goes missing and too bad because she had a unique style and sound.
With Gajoob, Bryan Baker picked up the mantle from Sound Choice and Option and actually amplified the volume on DIY artists even more than those publications did making Baker one of the most important people of this movement.
Bryan Baker is also an outstanding musician with many releases available. His project is called The Blind Mime Ensemble. His ambitious two CD set is pictured below.
“What’s a “GAJOOB”?”
One of my earliest contacts (other than Bret Hart) in the whole Home-taper underground was a gent from (of all places) Salt Lake City, Utah, named Bryan Baker. He would take tapes (remember, in those days, we didn’t have any “internet” or “digital” means to capture & distribute our recordings) for review from anyone who sent them… he started a ‘zine called “Gajoob” (was it late ‘80’s or early ‘90’s?). As soon as I heard about his efforts, I began correspondence with him immediately, & sent a whole RAFT of my collaboration tapes to him for review. I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit if he stuffed (most of) them in the nearest wastebasket, but over the years, he managed to get nearly everything I sent him reviewed.
I believe the most exciting thing about having hooked up with Baker was that he was always LOOKING AHEAD for things that would benefit the collective… he was an innovator in so many ways, it would be hard to describe them all here, and when something new came out (whether a new issue of GAJOOB, one of the sampler CD’s he produced later on, or a new web concept), those “in the know” hastened quickly to see what he had created… in fact, many of us STILL DO that… Bryan started many projects, finished quite a few of them, & has made the transition to the web quite successfully… you can find his latest writings and collections (all database/indexed) at his DISCOVER SOUND http://indieonestop.com/jamroom/ – you’ll find a WEALTH of information, both historical and current, about many in the old “hometaper” networks. In fact, if you want to see issues of his magazine, they’re available at THIS LINK I actually use DISCOVER SOUNDS as my “spoke” for all my digitized sonic efforts, & have done ever since Bryan put the site up… some really convenient toolsets that make it easy for any & all who do “D.I.Y.” (do it yourself) music!
Many of the ideas for “Online Music Distributors”, or “OMD’s”, were initially mulled over and discussed between Bryan and MANY of those involved in the whole network thing… his HOMEMADEMUSIC.COM
was one of the first sites I shared music from. Those first iterations were somewhat painful for all of us, as we weren’t really used to the tool sets available for uploading content. Bryan sometimes took a day or so to respond, but he ALWAYS got back if we had questions or problems with the toolsets he deployed on the site. The HOMEMADEMUSIC.com site is being rebuilt as I type this – currently, you can download the “GAJOOB samplers” he created from the inception for minimal cost. One of the most unique things about sites that Bryan built was that they used databases to “index” all the material. As anyone who has looked into the homemade scene knows, the music magazines (& eventually sites) were used by those actively involved to contact others, and Baker was one of the first to “see” ahead to the volumes and VOLUMES of music that would need to be indexed (much like an online library) as a reference for those who wanted to contact others, & whether it’s the HOMEMADEMUSIC.com site or the INDIEONESTOP “Discover Sound” projects, it’s all in a database that Bryan has running on his host servers. In fact, as soon as HOMEMADEMUSIC is running to full capacity, I’m seriously thinking about switching ALL of my material over to his project.
The whole “underground” scene has many unsung heroes, and Bryan Baker is at the TOP of that list! His dedication to ensuring that we would all have a place to focus our efforts through has been admirable and ongoing for so many years now that I can’t even remember the exact date/time I first hooked up with him – BUT, I’ve no doubt that his indexing/database efforts could come pretty close to telling me when it was. I MOST strongly recommend that you get yourself acquainted with Bryan – if it weren’t for him, it would have taken years longer to get home production known on the wider basis that it is today! GO, Bryan!!!