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MFT: Preserving the Legacy of Local Original Music
Posted January 28, 2019 by Jim Rawlinson
WRITTEN BY
Jim Rawlinson
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January 28, 2019
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Hey all, Jim Rawlinson here. This is my first of probably many blog posts here on MFT. I've been a part of the music scene here in Indianapolis (and Bloomington) for an unbelievable two decades. From my early days hitting the Sitcom Collective and Smedleys, through the Emerson, Volcano Room, and Secret Location... on to Bloomington (Bluebird, the Void, Room 101, Second Story, Rhino's...). Back to Indy at house shows at the Halloween House, Woodgate Clubhouse, Purple Underground, Melody Inn, HiFi, State Street... so many more clubs and venues. From screaming with a room full of sweaty kids to chilling in a bar with a drink... music has cut through everything I've done. 

So many bands have come and gone, but shaped who I am along the way. From Birthright and Burn It Down, Dent and Perfect Nothing. TenXTimesXOver, Angelville and Illithed. I know every word to every release Split Lip and Chamberlain put out. If I saw them tomorrow I could still yell all the words into the mic with About the Fire and Bulletwolf. The guys in Suicide Note changed the boundaries of what I thought hardcore and punk could do, same for the Dream Is Dead. The Birdmen of Alcatraz, Mudkids and Big MF Stick once could fill the Emerson with 400 sweaty kids on any given night. On and on and on.

Through music I met most of my best friends, learned the value of having a diverse scene and being accepting of different ways of thinking, expanded my horizons. We learned at an early age the entrepreneurial spirit that would go on to serve us well throughout our adult lives as business owners, chefs and journalists, public servants and attorneys, promoters and record store owners. As musicians, most of us didn't see what we wanted here, so we went out and made it. We created first and apologized later. 

Too many of us didn't make it. Whether due to mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems or just plain rotten luck. So many bands (including one of my own) ended with the death of a member. The pain and loss being too heavy and big for us to continue to work through. Lots of friends moved out of town, leaving acts behind. Some of us went on to success but many more got burned out on the way. 

Musical Family Tree's archive started as an original way for local artists to post their music for fans to see, an opportunity to promote it to new audiences. While it is still that to many of us, technology caught up with the tool. Everyone has a spotify and bandcamp page. It is no longer a novel opportunity for artists to be able to post their music online. I'll be honest, we struggled and continue to struggle with how to move this tool into the next century. But another, perhaps less talked about but maybe more important use for MFT has emerged. Just for the fact that we've survived for so long, we now have an unrivaled local music collection that captures and preserves a number of bands and releases that can't be found anywhere else. We have live trackss by Margot, early stuff from Oreo Jones and Vess Ruhtenberg. We have a lot of stuff I've never even heard of. 

I know early on we had some curation involved in what would be posted on the archive, but we've long since dropped any real barriers to entry. We want the widest possible archive of Indiana music that can be put together. We want to be genre and era agnostic.

Maybe you were a part of a band a while back that played out and broke up. If you're like me you, or someone in that band, has a drawer full of music you assume no one cares about anymore. Here's the thing: MFT cares. We want you to be a part of this archive, we want your music preserved. Because we know that it meant something to someone at one time. Because we value the importance of Legacy to Indiana original music. All music scenes build upon each other. In order to understand how we got to Majhas you have to know about Burn It Down. In order to fully get BID you need to know about Transgression and Ice Nine. On and on and on. 

That is the value of the archive that we've collected here. And we want it to grow. There are WAY too many holes in this archive to give a deep understanding of how Indiana music has evolved.

Doing a quick search of the archive: Old Pike is on here but where is Chamberlain? Split Lip?

You can find a page on Dent but where is Perfect Nothing? The Stand is on here but no About the Fire? Or Bulletwolf? Where is Loretta? VIRGIL?!

So here's the deal. Because you own the rights to your music, we can't just go upload it for you (I would if I could). If you have something that you were once passionate about and put a lot of energy into, please upload it here and help us preserve your local original music legacy.  

 

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