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HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY, VIA CHICAGO!


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Hi Via Chicago! :wave :birthday

 

11-8-2001 to 11-8-2021!

Back in midsummer, our member Albert Tatlock asked what VC's birthdate was, given our "Wilco fan community since 2001" tagline. And I realized that I didn't actually know! :o I had joined the admin team in March 2003, so I hadn't been part of the birthing process, though I'd been among the earliest members, drawn in by this witty, funny, quirky bunch who loved this great band.

 

My first contact with our admin, Narziss, was when he complimented my username when I joined. I had nabbed it from the song we all knew then as "On a Private Beach in Michigan". I was surprised another user hadn't already gotten it!

 

But to get back to Mr. Tatlock's question - our venerated & original administrators, our founders, were "llp" and "Narziss". Chris, llp, is gone now, but fondly remembered. He must be proud of our birthday.

Narz is still very much alive, and when I contacted him to ask for our birthdate, he took the time to really reminisce, and provide the deep details. I got hopelessly nostalgic, reading his memories. They're mine, too. :wub

 

We don't know the  exact day that VC began, but based on Jeff's (Narziss) and my own recollections, I have chosen us this birthday.  The date I've chosen is November 8, 2001. Today, we are 20! On a "Monday"!:dance

 

I was going to just paraphrase what Narz told me, but he tells our story so well I'm going to let him tell you. Listen to his story. If you were there, enjoy the memories! If you weren't, just enjoy. It's a good story.

 

Here's how Narziss tells it:

Quote

 

It’s all kind of foggy when I think of the actual start or launch date for Via Chicago. The funny thing has always been that Chris (LLP) and I really didn’t know each other very well and never really did. We would email occasionally about the technical side of the site but I never once spoke to him and he was very hands-off, not at all interested in the actual activity on the site itself. He pretty much let me handle all the front end side of things and how the forum was managed. Unfortunately, he passed away years ago and I never had to chance to formally meet him.

 

Nevertheless, I ended up being very close to his oldest, and best, friend after he and his family moved to Dallas around the same time that I did. His name was Rob and I had met him through a Black Crowes forum back in 1999 or so. I was still living in Indianapolis so it was before I moved to Dallas in January 2001. 

 

I remember a very early iteration of VC around mid-to-late 2000, probably September if I recall correctly. It was set up like a Reddit style forum at that point and was only up for a brief month or two. I believe it was on a platform at that time as well so it was likely a sub-domain because we didn’t buy the domain until later which is why it’s a .org instead of a .com.

 

After I moved to Texas, and met Rob, I brought up VC to him and that kind of facilitated Chris re-launching it permanently. That’s when I became involved and we became partners in running it. I’m thinking this was in late 2001. If I had to wager money on it, I would say October or November because I remember it being after September 11th but before the New Year. We were so excited about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and then it fell into that label black hole mixed with 9/11 delays for uncertainty for touring. We were desperate to trade for live shows and demos which was the original intent for the site. 

 

For the first six months or so there were like 50-70 of us and it was slow. Not much going on. Wilco had long since removed their official site forum so there wasn’t much of a community for them outside of the dreaded EZ Board which was filled with characters that lead to Wilco removing their official fan forum. It wasn’t until April or May of 2002 before it started gaining steam. I remember being on a road trip with a friend out West when I called my girlfriend at the time who would fill me in on the member count. While I was on that trip we went from 50-70 all the way to 300 or something. It was so exciting. That’s around the time we all met. The ghosts of VC past. People like you and me, Redjim, Stardog, Doody, TweedysGurl, CaptainsDead, Pneyu, Penny Lane, Laura, womanatthebar, and so many others that made it a real community. Over the next year, thanks to YHF and the documentary, and even Wilco’s acknowledgment, we grew to 3000 or so. It kept building and building. 

 

My wife and I moved in the last year and I was going through some boxes. In one featuring some of my old keepsakes and files, I found the old cookbook. I was happy I still had it and it brought a smile to my face. That was such a fun time in my life and I think for everyone else too. The early days of building an online community when the internet was a place where you could finally meet people with likeminded interests and passions. Seems so long ago.

 

Anyway, I’m sure this is not entirely dead-on accurate but it feels pretty close. Sorry for answering your simple question with a very long walk down memory lane. :)

 

 

Nothing left to add except, 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VIA CHICAGO! And thanks for all the wonderful memories and wonderful people I've met here!

I'm still "coming home, Via Chicago".

Love you guys.

 

:birthday

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