Rockzillaworld -- web site mirror

How much can one fan of OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) accomplish in just a couple of years? Plenty, if it's Rockzilla, aka photographer Michael Johnson. From 2003 to 2005, was a chronicle of the scene from a uniquely Texan perspective. But all good things must end, and Rockzilla has retired from the online 'zine scene.

This mirror site was copied from the site with the express permission of Rockzilla hisself. If you don't believe me, go to the KHYI-Fans email list and ask him! Buddy will back me up, too.

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 The Brief, Somewhat Tawdry History of Rockzillaworld

Back in 1999, the Rockzilla character surfaced one weekend on the e-mail group of a Dallas, Texas Americana radio station. The response caught the character's creator, Michael Johnson, off guard. Rockzilla's tendency to speak of himself in the 3rd person coupled with labeling his every opinion as "The Final Word" quickly separated folks into two very distinct groups. You either loved him or hated him. No middle ground.

In response to the haters, Johnson said, "Screw you! I'll start my own damned group." From that ill-conceived beginning sprang Rockzillaworld. It started out as just another fan site, complete with reviews written by the fans themselves. It was just a fun little exercise -- a spoof of folks who took themselves too seriously.

Over time readership grew and Johnson was able to attract more experienced writers. Rockzillaworld was changing. It was no longer simply a fan site; it was evolving into a serious music site and taking on a life of its own. Some folks seemed to resent the changes, and the decision to keep the site going was day-to-day for quite a while. The "screw you!" mentality won out, and the site continued to grow.

The quality of Rockzillaworld's writing increased dramatically when William Michael Smith became the Houston bureau chief. In his first year, Smith wrote over one hundred reviews and moved the site's focus from almost entirely -- and often marginal -- Texas acts to a broader range of genre-mixing Americana. He also used Rockzillaworld as a springboard to becoming a contributing writer for "the bible of," No Depression magazine, as well as other publications.

Smith eventually became Rockzillaworld's editor and, while maintaining his rate of over one hundred reviews per year, now edits all of the writing on the site. His experience as a journalism teacher has proven invaluable to some of Rockzillaworld's less experienced writers. Their work has shown a great deal of improvement under Smith's guidance. Nowadays it is not uncommon to find blurbs from numerous Rockzillaworld writers in artists' ads in various music publications. Uncompromising and often brutally frank, Smith serves as a guardian of Rockzillaworld's integrity.

Johnson says that his own tendency to be the "Hey kids! Let's put on our own show!" dreamer and Smith's to be the "It'll never work" resident curmudgeon voice of reason have blended quite nicely. Johnson still has his dreams, though, and says to look out for some big stuff in the coming months.


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