Hi - At the beginning of 2014, www.thekansasnote.com was hacked and I was unable to make any edits. It appears to finally be fixed and I look foward to gettting back to work on this site. Thanks for checking in.
For the last 15 years I waited for someone to ask what the music scene was like in Kansas and the Midwest during the 1980s and early 1990s. It sucks when no one asks the question you're prepared to answer. Each month from 1985 to 1995, The Note documented "the scene"in and around Kansas. It ceased publication in 1995.
Since then,I carried around issues as I moved from place to place and wondered what in the hell am I going to do with these? I couldn't throw them away. Surely someone would come along and offer to build a woopty woopty website? Isn't researching the history of the Midwest music scene on the top of someone's list?
The years of 1985 to 1995 had an especially vibrant scene that brought lots of attention to the area. Though we never had a problem finding something to write about, we did have trouble making time. Even though some of the issues came out kind of rough, I can boast that we never missed a publication date thanks to multiple all nighters.
As I waited and waited for someone to come along and offer to do something with these Note's I was carrying around, it became apparent that scanning The Notes and building this website would be an obligation that'd fall in my lap. It really is the only paper of record when it comes to tracking music and entertainment in Kansas during those years.
The history of the Kansas and Midwest music scene is rooted in the 1920s and most are surprised to learn it is not ordinary. I say surprised because Kansas doesn't stand out in most people's minds a as a cultural Mecca.But the proximity of Metropolitan Kansas City and its wild west attitude made for a fertile breeding ground of artists and their careers.
I was a fledgling talent agent in 1985. I put myself through college playing in bands at venues around the Midwest. After graduating, I saw an opportunity to help other bands get into these venues by being an agent. I started publishing The Note in 1985 because the local newspapers wouldn't print stories about bands I promoted. The Objective was simple: Promote music and entertainment in the Midwest.
A number of talented editors, writers, photographers, designers and sales people joined me in the pursuit and helped accomplish the objective of promoting music and entertainment in Kansas. Most of the time, we had a blast documenting some of the most vibrant years of the Kansas music scene. Not only were Kansas musicians and bands making national headway, but the scene's foundation of promoters, live venues, sound companies, lighting companies, agents, recording studios and press developed to a level where Kansas became a nationally recognized area for good music and a good music scene (see Rolling Stone some time in the early 90s).
It was the combination of good musicians, a foundation of businesses to propel and expose the art and an audience liking the music enough to shell out money that propelled the Kansas and Midwest music scene. That whole scene is still vibrant today and it's hard to imagine a newspaper not promoting a concert or local bar show these days.
So it's been about 17 years since we shut The Note down. Five years ago Patrick Quinn (editor for a few years, best friend for life) and I opened the box of Notes I'd been carrying around since 1995. We started looking through them. The stories and articles in each issue brought back memories of the effort it took to put an issue together and the stories that accompanied that effort.
Because we were able to document a lot of what was going on in the Kansas music scene for those ten years it seemed a shame these little pieces of history sit in my closet. There's no grandiose plan here. I'll spend the next few years scanning and posting issues. Using the technology of the day, we'll open it up for comments and stories from former staffers, readers and anyone else who'd like to contribute.
The good news is, most legal statutes have expired so I'm looking forward to sharing some experiences, crisis and legal complications that seemed to always come up while we published The Note (at no fault of my own of course). There's a lot of people to give credit to for helping The Note along through those years and I am looking forward to exposing them all as well. Hope you enjoy.
Jeff Shibley Publisher