When Mike was young and the world was full of hope.

§ December 22nd, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on When Mike was young and the world was full of hope.

So in the early-to-mid 1990s, I was fairly active in some of the local computer BBSes, being the resident funnybook expert on a handful of them. My main online hang-out at the time was a board called “The Retreat,” where there was a lot of emphasis on creative writing, punnery, silliness, cleverness (or “cleverness” — my glasses aren’t entirely rose-colored), obfuscation, what have you…and of course, I had a comic book subboard there, too. It was a very fun BBS, and we’d even have occasional get-togethers at the sysop’s house, just to hang out, talk, play nerdy games (my one and only time playing “Cosmic Encounter” was during one of these gatherings), eat junk food, whatever.

One day, pal Andy, who was also a regular Retreater, put the call out to some of the folks on that BBS, asking if they’d like to contribute to a forthcoming music magazine being assembled by his mother and aunt. A handful of us gave it a go, including me…and that’s how, for a brief period of time, I was actually a published and, just as importantly, paid writer.

The magazine was Music Confidential, an irreverent, National Enquirer/Weekly World News-esque assemblage of humorous articles, reviews, interviews, and celeb photos, and featuring contributions from such notables as surf-guitar god Dick Dale, Rodney Bingenheimer, former MTV personality Kennedy, and…was Kato Kaelin involved? I think he might have been. Or maybe he just showed up to the premiere party.

My try-out piece was a bit of business about visiting a “Paul Is Dead” convention, based, naturally, on my comic convention visits. It was a bit nerve-wracking, sitting there in the Music Confidential offices, watching a handful of people passing around my article and reading it, but thankfully they all seemed to enjoy it and, with some slight editing (since then, as now, I tend to go on a bit) that article appeared in the first issue.

Although I wrote a variety of other columns and filler bits for the magazine, my regular gig was “Mikester’s Comic Corner,” in which I’d discuss and review music-related comic books. The running “gag” through the columns was that I’d tease discussing that KISS appearance in Howard the Duck, but, whoops, maybe I’ll get to it next time! Yeah, I know, it’s about as insufferable as it sounds, but I did finally get around to writing that Howard the Duck review for issue #5.

However, the magazine only lasted four issues (plus a one-shot “try-out” issue published quite a while before I came along), which as I recall had something to do with distribution difficulties…not to mention the fact that it’s just plain hard to get a magazine going.

But it was fun while it lasted…I don’t have any particularly wacky stories to tell from my time there, other than having to rewrite my article about Prince (as cover-featured on Music Confidential #2, pictured above), since the original version apparently worried the lawyers. That’s something to be proud of, I think.

Oh, and there was a brief stab at producing a pilot for a TV show based on the magazine, and I performed in one of the skits filmed for it…from which we learned – Mike Sterling: NOT AN ACTOR. And hopefully all copies of that performance have been destroyed, and not on the verge of showing up on YouTube, Andy. One disappointment was that I had worked up a bit for the pilot based on those old elementary school educational films about proper behavior at a rock concert, complete with the dry, deadpan instructional narration (which I hopefully would have provided). Yeah, that’s Comedy Premise #18, but I think it might have been funny, in my own unbiased opinion.

Anyway, on my old website, “Progressive Ruin 1.0,” I had posted all my articles, including several intended for the never-published #5. That website’s long gone, but lives on, kinda sorta, at archive.org…most of the articles are still there, though a couple will result in dead links. Hey, what can you do? But be gentle when you read them, as they’re in the voice of a Mikester in his mid-20s, and not the embittered old Mikester you’re dealing with right now. (But I think the “Interview with God” thing still holds up, so try that one first.)

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