For the last 6+ months, Shane has been working off and on at compiling a 5 gallon bucket full of his archives – Michael Hunt Publishing stuff and even recent creation . I recall he said it would take two weeks, which I scoffed at, and apparently was correct. I scoffed because the idea was a huge project, and it was bound to be emotional. Last night we sealed and boxed the nine buckets that came out of his endeavor, and then celebrated with a BBQ. If you want to check it out, it’s available here: http://www.artworkofprophecy.com/?p=173
Shane asked me to write something about the bucket, that I think people should know when they get it. Below is my contribution to the introduction envelope inside this jam packed “Bucket Of Hate”. It’s fairly lengthy, and I would apologize for that, but I cannot, as this was as brief as I could seem to make it.
Hello Beholder of this Bucket of Artifacts,
To be completely honest with you, while I appreciate Shane’s need and desire to do this, I do not agree with it. I guess I am not as generous as he. You see, we lost all of our stock and 95% of our archives in 2008. What’s in these buckets is what we were able to salvage, many of these items were from our personal time capsules. The ones we were going to keep forever. Unfortunately, keeping stuff forever has not worked out so well, so I do not fault Shane for his need to push these into the world, and hopefully into the right hands.
While the contents of this bucket are vast, it is by no means a complete collection. Off the top of my head I can think of several comics and publications that are not included. One of the comics I did not run across when going through the bucket was one that Shane published before we met, the Dixie comic, another missing piece is the epic Mike Hunt split catalog with King VelVeeda, that was from January 1998 if I recall. I did not see the Cherry Bomb Revolution, an ultra rare Mike Diana Comic with a six color screen printed cover which I remember staying up all night helping the screen printer get done so we could go on a book tour with them the next morning – Now that was a hell of a drive! There are other items that are missing, but they escape me at the moment. I do not tell you what is missing here to make you feel bad, on the contrary, it is to put into perspective all that one person can do with focus, drive and their will.
While some items are missing, this collection remains a treasure and an anthropological study of a poignant period of time in the decay of America, perhaps humanity. You see, our generation grew up with the Doomsday Clock set at one minute to midnight. We never thought we’d reach adulthood, and between tabloid TV talk shows, the Satanic Panic, and the death of middle class (which really happened some 30 years ago, when manufacturing left, the unions lost their power, and the prospect of earning a gold watch at retirement was crushed into the dirt), we really felt a collective hopelessness as the youth of this country. It seemed like the end was imminent.
It was during this tumultuous time that Shane began blazing his trail, while still a teenager he was producing the zine Naked Aggression, working on Chicago’s famed Free Fest, Milwaukee Metalfest, and running underground galleries, including the one I met him at in 1994, his own, called Goat. I was there to see James O’Barr the artist who did The Crow (the only comic I’d ever read). When my eyes met Shane’s their was electricity! I didn’t know anything about him, I didn’t know he owned the gallery, or that he was the person responsible for Naked Aggression which I’d read and adored, I just knew something happened when our eyes met, something exciting and terrifying and deep.
It took another year after that for us to go out on a date, but once we connected we were bound it seemed. One time when we kissed, the street light above us blew out it’s bulb, we giggled about it, but then the same thing happened a week later, and then again, and again. We were awestruck by the power, which we as skeptics of course chalked up to coincidence. Friends and family seemed a little miffed by the immediate bond, but we did not care. Eleven months later we moved in together, and five months after that we were married.
In all honesty, I was Shane’s second wife, in fact I would call him a bigamist really. He made it known Wife #1 was his work, and I was perfectly fine with that. I agreed, and his work became first in my life too. The truth of the matter is really that Shane is a charismatic and exacting person, he pushes himself to the limits to get things done. His focus is unlike anyone I have ever known. The world can be crashing down around him, but he does not care, he is going to get his project done.
For the longest time people around Chicago gossiped that Shane was a drug dealer. They couldn’t understand how he did what he did or how he found the money to do it, but the truth is he never attempted such a thing. The work he was doing was dangerous and controversial, and he was emphatic that if he went down for what he did, he would not give authorities an easy arrest by selling drugs.
When I came into the fold, I had read one comic in my life and while I understood and was well versed in underground music and culture, I knew nothing of the art and literature in which he was involved. I took one look at it the stuff he was doing and understood immediately the vital importance of the work. I immediately wanted to help and a working relationship was created. I began by writing for the metalfest program, and collected images and words for a few design projects, I was glad to be a flunky in something I saw as historic and world changing. After years of self-doubt and hiding my own creative expressions in my closet while working in factories I was so charged I was glowing!
As our relationship grew, I sold ads and tracks on compilation CDs, I transcribed interviews and retyped articles for ‘The Worst Of Boiled Angel’, I ran errands, cooked (which in those days was not necessarily a good thing) and cleaned. I did whatever I could to help, encourage, and ease the burden, allowing for Shane’s amazing focus to take him through projects. The more we worked together more exciting it was, it seemed like together we could do the work of ten men, we’d stay up days at a time, high on coffee and adrenaline, racing to the finish line of a project. It seemed we could do anything!
A year into our marriage, we created The Expo Of The Extreme, a three day music and art festival. We conceived the idea and did everything related to making an event like this happen all by ourselves, most of our helpers bailed on us as soon as the work got hard, people said it would never happen. Shane sold his art and collectibles to raise money to pay bands and cover costs, and we worked the event selling tickets, dealing with bands, dealing with cops and the venue, all by ourselves. We did what a staff of ten or twenty would normally do, and we did it by the skin of our teeth, even getting evicted from our apartment by a man with a baseball bat the day after the festival ended. No matter how hard it was, it was worth it, we were the first to bring Black Metal bands to America, bands got signed at the event, new bands were created, and all kinds of collaborations came of the the art, music and cultural cornucopia. I mention this event just to quantify how much work we were able to get done together.
Shane’s enthusiasm was infectious, it could also be burdensome, and his brutal honesty often left him isolated from his peers. Because he was willing to give a voice to the most vile of ideals, he was often misunderstood and suffered for that. He was called a nazi, a scammer, and numerous other less than pleasant adjectives. Over the years people have tried to write him out of his own history, a book on true crime actually spoke of numerous things Shane had done, but never mentioned his name! So I guess in a way, this bucket it Shane’s way of validating himself and all that he has done. And as you look at through these items, consider that this was all done by a kid who dropped out of school on his 16th birthday, a kid who began his publishing career while living in his Chevette, a man who created all this with no investors, no grants, no lines of credit, working capital, angel investors, nor even a credit card!
Someone once said Shane is the Will, and if nothing else, this proves that for once and for all!
I hope this bucket excites you, enrages you, and makes you think, maybe about the hard subjects that the current state of our nation tries so desperately to avoid. Thank you for your support, and for being smart enough to know the investment that this is.