Blues Access Fall 1999
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Backstage Notes

Ch-ch-ch-changes: I canít help but ruminate on the fact that the coming new millennium is already causing disruptions in the fabric of time and space. How else to account for the Ricky Martin phenomenon, just to name one? Iíve also noticed Leland Rucker a spate of upsets in the personal relationships of numerous friends and family. And now, on the heels of our art department changeover, our own Catfish Whitey informs us that, after a piddling five years on the job, heís had a personal epiphany about his future while bear-watching in Alaska (I should have known better than to ever let him go on vacation) and decided to take a job that pays him way more than what he could make here at BLUES ACCESS. The nerve.

Thatís right, Leland Rucker has left us to become a desk jockey at some startup "" in Denver, managing a web site and ó get this ó listening to music solely for pleasure. Can you imagine? Just wait until he comes crawling back, begging me to lay 80 or 90 CDs on him so he can write those mini-reviews for the New Releases. Ha! Oh how Iíll laugh as I swat him aside like day-old bear droppings.

The good news is that weíre lucky enough to have an able replacement waiting in the wings. The legendary John Sinclair, a Great American and a Blues Scholar, has agreed to take John Sinclair and Cary Wolfson over as managing editor from his humble abode on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, conveniently located by the tattoo parlor on Rampart Street. John and I spent a week together earlier this summer at Common Ground on the Hill ó the wonderful music, arts and cultural awareness summer college/camp/festival in Maryland where I teach a blues appreciation class and help produce a blues concert each summer. John performed his blues poetry with our house band and we hung out till all hours, corrupting the music and morals of a largely bluegrass and folkie crowd. We had a great time and I came away with even more respect for his knowledge and talents.

John has always been a big fan of (and erstwhile contributor to) the magazine and weíre both looking forward to the new synergy at BLUES ACCESS. Iím feeling re-energized by this change in the chemistry. Look for great things to come!

But seriously, folks: Kidding aside, the truth is that Leland has been instrumental in the growth of the magazine from its days as a 64-pager in black and white on newsprint to the handsome article you hold in your hands today. Five years ago he came to my house and said, "I want to work for you" at the exact same time that I was blurting out, "When are you going to quit your #@!*%#! job and come work for me?" Even though it seemed like I didnít have any money to pay anybody to do anything, we decided that there had to be a way.

He quickly got his baptism by fire, as I had to leave him holding the bag during the deadline for his first issue when my father became terminally ill. He handled everything we threw at him and helped provide direction for me when I needed it. All our contributors will testify to the excellent rapport he was able to establish.

After 25 years writing about music ó he got his start as the rock critic for the Kansas City Times ó Leland felt it was time to secure his future and jumped at an opportunity to be part of an Internet start-up business. We wonít be completely rid of him, however, as he plans to continue writing "Catfish Whiteyís Pond" and contributing other stories. You can take the boy out of the music, but you canít take the music out of the boy. Thanks a lot, buddy, I sincerely appreciate all youíve done. --CW


©1999 Blues Access, Boulder, Colorado, USA