Hello everyone and welcome to my sadly delayed year-end wrap-up of 2022. This is where I look at the past year both professionally and in my personal life and give you and myself perspective of where I am right now and potentially the year ahead. It’s been a tricky year, a rewarding year, and a devastating year. So let’s crack on and see where this all leads.
So the big fat, elephant in the room. Mere hours after I posted last year’s version of this, my dad died, from complications of covid, diabetes, and heart failure. Anyone who knows anything about me, watched Something Gives, or just took a shot a dark knows that a strained relationship is about the nicest thing I could say about the final years between my dad and myself. When my brother died in 2019 (yeah, they died 2 and a half years apart) I learned some horrendous, shocking, revolting, and despicable things about my dad, mom, and others in my family that I never knew about. Unforgivable things. I already had my reasons for hating my family for what they did to me. But once I found out these other things. I had to cut everyone off. And...I finally did once and for all after my dad died. I no longer felt any kind of obligation to them and if there is hell, I hope my dad and brother are burning side by side. As to the rest of my family, I said my final pieces to each of them and never looked back. I expect I will have to hear from at least one of them again when my mom dies, which I am not looking forward to, but that’s where we are.
Ooooof, so then I took a month off to try to process everything, and when it came to professionally; I had to make a change as well. So I went from the decade-long running That Drummer Guy to Heavy Debriefings. There were many reasons for this. For one, people always thought I was a drumming podcast, which I never was. That Drummer Guy was a nickname given to me after someone in the crowd of a cover band gig I played did not know my name and just kept calling me That Drummer Guy and I took that as a way of not only making fun of myself and keep myself humbled, but when I interviewed bands and musicians I wanted that persona to be a way to show off the bands, artists, etc that people didn’t learn the names of and became a way for you to learn them. Over time, some people grew to get it, but even up to January of this year when I did my final interviews as That Drummer Guy, I still got asked the same questions about it and why I didn’t ask to interview the drummer of the band instead. I learned that no longer made me happy.
Also, I haven’t played drums in over 4 years. Part is because I live in a one-bedroom apartment and don’t use a practice studio, the other being that being in a band where I got burned every single time in every band I was ever a part of. 75% done to me, 25% me fucking it up; the idea of ever being in a band again is not something I ever want to subject myself to ever again. Even as I look behind me and see my drums stacked up behind the couch, it just brings pain. I’ve often thought about selling them all (except for my autographed Mike Portnoy snare), but I just haven’t brought myself to do it yet. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
But Heavy Debriefings feels like a great joy and change to me because it feels like it covers all the ground that I like to cover. Heavy music, things enjoyed by people who enjoy heavy music (entertainment), and mental health.
All things I covered in the podcast this year, which went through a change this year as well. I stopped playing music on it altogether and started making Spotify Playlists so those that enjoy hearing me talk could get that side and those that just want the music could get that side; in ways to make everyone happy. Little did I realize that the show, which went from being on internet radio to FM/AM stations across the country in a few markets to local radio to a podcast; has just been enjoyed by less...and less...and fewer people every passing year. There are many reasons to get into that but in short. My style of talking positive about music, not using sensationalism or clickbait, and just being one person with no marketing reach; is simply not long for this world. While I haven’t made a final decision yet, I have been thinking it over for a long time and I keep coming back to the same conclusion. I either A.) completely change the show again or B.) finally put it out to pasture. And I keep coming back to the latter option. Maybe my mind will change, maybe not. But because I still have friends that don’t even realize I had a podcast and it was going on for 11 years and it wasn’t just the intervivews I put up on youtube, kinda says it all doessn’t it? As I said, I still need to make a final decision, but that probably is what will happen.
So what does that mean, I’m closing up shop? No. I am just going to be doing more with the website and YouTube.
This year, I bought a webcam, and views on stuff started growing more and more. Apparently people like seeing this sad, ugly mug of mine. So I just may focus all my attention on the video landscape for interviews, talks, rants, and some reviews.
And the website will still host all my interviews and links to them and of course the Top 10 Albums of the month list, which really did help out a lot as far as my own enjoyment and seeing bands get happy that I mentioned them, which makes me happier. I may do a video version of that as well to do alternative takes from the written versions. Still undecided as my Top 150 Albums of 2022 was an unadulterated success for the website, but the 5 videos I did for the Top 50 Albums of 2022 on YouTube had diminishing returns. So I’m on the fence.
I also wanna keep going with my Backwards Marathon series on YouTube. For those unfamiliar, it's where I rank a band’s discography. I’ve done Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, and BTBAM so far before the year-end list started, so probably in January, I’ll pick that back up.
Let’s start with the positive and say that the interviews that did happen this year, I am so happy with. I conducted 56 successful interviews this year, 1 that probably won’t see the light of day due to means beyond my control, and 1 for 2023 which is already off to a good start. As of writing this, I have one more interview set for tomorrow that I hope happens for a 2023 album that I’m listening to as I write this up.
But let me tell you something….
The number of times I’ve been ghosted or told an interview will be rescheduled to never hear about it again or the number of times I hear “I’ll get back to you on days/times” to never hear anything again had me on the verge of quitting altogether this year. I probably would have close to 200 interviews this year if all of the ones I tried to line up actually happened. The number of times I’ve sat in front of Zoom with a thumb up my ass going, “Hmm, I wonder where they are?” without getting a response from anyone really made me feel like I was wasting my own time and others did not care if they were wasting mine. I fully admit that I had to cancel some interviews this year for physical and mental reasons. This has been a bad year for my being. But I always send a message beforehand if I can’t do something, in hopes to avoid the other parties doing what I just described and have them wait in front of Zoom wondering when I’m going to show up. It got so bad with some that I flat-out stopped trying to reach out to some representatives to do interviews because it simply wasn’t worth it.
And don’t even get me started on the “You’re not big enough to cover my artists” schpeel that has only been growing in the last couple of years.
All of that said, I’m not stopping, and doing interviews is what makes me happier than anything else I do professionally. So that is here to stay. The reviews, of course, will say. Though in 2023, It’ll back down to The Top 100 Albums of 2023 come November because 150 was an anomaly in 2022. This was an abnormal year for great albums coming out and I don’t think we are going to see this good of a year again for a long time. Also...my own sanity needs it back.
Finally, what’s going on now. Well, as I mentioned, I’m mainly resting up. And last week I almost lost my leg. Did I forget to mention that? Yes. Last week, I caught a violent flu that led to an infection in my leg though a hole in my half cut off my big right toe that refuses to close permanently had I waited any longer to go to a doctor, I’d be with a fully amputated leg. I’m on the mend now and the infection is almost completely gone, but I’m thankful I can still walk on my own accord if nothing else. So outside of this potential interview tomorrow, all I’ve been doing is resting and trying to heal physically and mentally so I can face 2023 stronger. Will it work? Let’s find out!
But that about covers everything. Thank you very much for reading about the ups, downs, sorrows, and triumphs of 2022 that I’ve experienced and of course looking back on the first year of Heavy Debriefings and 11 years overall of this whole career thing. I’ll be back in January, maybe even at the end of the month to cover the top albums of January 2023. Maybe sooner? But till then, signing off for the year, this is Josh Rundquist saying, See Ya!
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)