So obviously we are fans of Taylor Hicks. Not glitter-wearing gift-basket-preparing tour-bus stalking fans, but nevertheless fans of Mr. Hicks’ lyrical original songs and heartfelt performances. We’ve enjoyed reading at Hicks fansites for over a year. During that time, we’ve appreciated the information sharing, but also the views into the dynamics of online AI fanbases. A particularly entertaining fansite was graycharles.com (GC), which is currently unavailable and points to Mr. Hicks’ official site instead. I write “currently” because the status of the site changes at the whim of its blogmaster Gray (“Gray Charles”) and so may have altered again by the time anyone reads this. Some of the things which drew many of Hicks’ fans to the Gray Charles blog were links to interesting music, a bit of analytical thinking that’s unusual in the American Idol (AI) world, the direct link from Taylor’s official site, the occasional personal audio message or behind-the-scenes video clip from Taylor, and an up-to-date list of Taylor appearances. Bumps and growing pains at GC led to Gray closing down the site, signing a contract to be the official Hicks blog for a time, and then recently closing down again, unceremoniously. Due in no small part to Gray’s official affiliation with Mr. Hicks, some of the GC-related online discussions have been especially interesting (read: occasionally bizarre). In fact, these discussions and the (d?)evolution of Mr. Hicks’ online fanbase inspired Gray to shop around a GC-focused book concept to a number of agents. We agree it may be a fascinating read, considering the many amusing and illogical things we’ve seen at GC. We suspect that Gray will have difficulty providing a balanced read since personal memory is always selective, and the reflections of other participants and objective observers (the latter being us, of course!) would be immensely helpful. Unfortunately, the GC site is currently not available for perusal, and GC-relevant posts which go against the prevalent Gray-idolization disappear when posted at other Hicks fansites. So here we are, eager to save illuminating/entertaining/bizarre writings in the Hicks world, and to offer our own musings. Why do we care? Well, we just want to help jog Gray’s memory during his book-writing effort. And it’s a long wait between cds and concert dates. We also think it’s a shame when only one side has a bully pulpit.
So today’s entertaining post comes again from the Boogie board, this time from graycharles himself (with my comments in italics):
Music and HappyStandard. It might do everyone some good if you stopped speculating on things you don’t know about. While it might be interesting reading it’s just not the case that people didn’t have ample knowledge of my leaving. They did. I tried to provide an opportunity on my own website to address those questions directly – you probably know where that ended up.
Oh, I don’t know. I enjoyed reading the speculations. In fact, I recall much of the fun at GC being based on speculations. Maybe Gray’s efforts would have ended up in a better place if he had addressed the questions before the site went down. In an easily accessible thread on GC other than in one hidden away in a corner of the low traffic touristas. Maybe it would have helped if Gray had given specifics rather than vague allusions. Maybe the opportunity would have been more productive if Gray had discouraged his fans from disparaging Taylor and his management in their zeal to defend Gray. Just some helpful tips – you know, for next time.
It pains me (well it really doesn’t pain me so much as it ASTOUNDS me) that some portion of the fan base will continue to comment as an authority on a situation that they know nothing about. There is a post on Page 34 of the “I Miss Grays” thread on THHQ by one of the long time “I know what’s really going on” type of posters that is so astoundingly incorrect as to be laughable. Yet it is written in such a way that you might be tempted to think that person has a clue as to what happened – they don’t – neither (I”m guessing here) do most of you. I don’t mean that to have a disrespectful tone, it’s simply true.
Truly? Astounded? I’m just saying, “astounded” seems … surprisingly unaware. Of course, no one out here knows what went on or what’s going on. That’s because no one involved provides any details. That’s fine – it’s none of our business. But only one person involved has posted fact-deficient allusions, provoking his fans to support him in a bizarrely misguided fashion. The other people involved appear to be very busy putting on a rollicking concert tour. I don’t mean to have a respectful tone, it’s simply true.
In sum total there were probably five people involved in the entire affair. Unless you are one of those five I would suggest that you are simply interpreting and speculating because I’m pretty sure that none of those people post here.
This earnest plea would be so much more convincing if Gray had not provoked a rash of interpretation and speculation that shockingly favored himself and encouraged his loyalists to lash out at Taylor and his management. Shockingly, I tell you! That might have been too much to expect from Gray. After all, at that point his contract as Taylor’s paid official blogmaster had been expired for all of … oh, two weeks or so….
Respectfully, I would ask that all talk of the whys and hows of what went down please stop. Not for my sake, I’ve said my piece and I’m fairly inured to the critques at this point, but because it’s not adding anything to any reasonable conversation. Just go look at the aforementioned thread on THHQ to see the train wreck that it turned into. We had our time, what’s done is done. I won’t be commenting on it anymore.
Such a relief to be assured that Gray has said his piece. I guess that means it’s others’ turns. I know there are a few more things rumbling around in my thoughts that might just show up here.
See? Isn’t this so much fun?