More than you'll EVER want to know
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How I'm spending my summer vacation reformatting UniBeat

When I was but a wee lad growing up in the nice little town of Dearborn, Michigan, there was one thing I wanted more than anything else in the entire universe...and that was to play first base for the Detroit Tigers. I played catch with my brother Jesse until dusk fell and even beyond sometimes until the white ball turned black in the night. The problem was, I wasn't very good at it. Yeah, I was pretty good with the glove. But I couldn't hit a lick. My father would take me and Jesse up to our local park, Ford Woods, which is right across the street from where the world renowned Henry Ford was born by the way, and hit us fly balls until we could barely move from all the running. But as much as I tried, I never got much better which really put a damper on my slowly maturing psyche because I had to start thinking about other things I could do in my adult years.

I later discovered that, lo and behold, I was much taller than the other boys in my grade school class. So someone suggested to me in 5th or 6th grade, "you should play basketball!" And although I was a little bit better at playing roundball, it never gave me quite the thrill as hitting a red-stitched, white leather ball around, snaring a line drive while defying the laws of gravity or just hanging out in the dugout with the people who love the game just as much as I do. Ahhh, the good ol' days.

Yet something else was out there waiting for me...

Growing up with MTV, I took a real shine to the videos I saw. But more importantly, I began to really listen to what was going on. I thirsted to hear more music, more styles, more tempos, more variety. The visual image was great and all, but I was drawn in by the subtle shifts in tempo and time and how sound was achieved. As baseball and basketball began to move away from my full-time attention, music devoured more of it. I was buying records and 45s from "Peaches" (a local record chain) on Shaeffer Avenue, and listening, note for note, to how songs were constructed. I pulled out all of my parents vinyl and discovered the intricacies of the Beatles, the chainsaw-manic-grooves of the MC5 and the Frost, and the soul-drenched aural landscaping of Stevie Wonder.

I took a job at the local library named after, wanna guess?, Henry Ford and immersed myself in all the music they carried. They were one of the few around in the late 80s that had a CD inventory and the most IMPRESSIVE vinyl collection of classical music that has, unfortunately, since been sold off (UUUGGGHHHH!!). I slowly learned to LOVE classical composers such as Cesar Franck and Camille Saint-Saens. It was actually during my library days that I went "overboard" so to speak. At any given time, I had AT LEAST 20 CDs, cassettes and/or LPs checked out. I couldn't get enough!!

In my second year of college at, yep, you guessed it, Henry Ford Community College (do you see a recurring theme here?), I joined the radio station and that's really when the floodgates were blown off the hinges!! As promotions manager, production manager and on-air personality, I sunk deeper and that quicksand was not about to let me up any time soon!! I learned to LOVE blues and jazz while at HFCC and was around folks that came from all different kinds of backgrounds. But we shared a passions for music that bonded us better than any epoxy.

I worked in radio for a few years, and DJed in a nightclub (if you really want to call it that, ha-ha!!), until I came to the realization that I was mired in a state of suspended adolescence. So I did what anyone in my position would have done...I went out and got myself a "real" job. Whatever that means.

So here I am, eight years later, having started a little family of my own with my lovely wife and two adorable boys, just as obsessed with music and having re-connected with my sporting past (hey, playing one night a week on a softball league let's me pretend to be Alan Trammell all over again!! The player, not the manager). I find it quite ironic I'm playing tomorrow at the very same field where I first learned to play the game.

Suffice it to say, music, sports and of course my family are my passion.

I started this nutty little webzine called UniBeat a year-and-a-half ago just so I could keep my pen sharp and render my soggy noodle from ever completely emptying itself while at the same time providing some insight into this little industry and all that makes good, bad, ugly and/or indifferent. And if nothing else, it keeps those music juices flowing and makes me still want to make that great record something with a little four-track tape player and guitar. Ultimately, it is my desire that we have enhanced your perceptions about it in some fashion.

The good folks here at UniBeat have NEVER been compensated monetarily for their much appreciated efforts. And trying to squeeze an article in every two months while tending to family, work, commitments while still trying to maintain some resemblance of a social life can be a bit much. So with that in mind, UniBeat will now become an archive of articles with no set release dates. I will, however, send out e-mails to those subscribed but only when we have a major update. Those who wish to contribute can do so at any time without having deadlines imposed by yours truly. And to be perfectly frank, I don't really fancy hounding people for articles. So it really works for everybody!! We can keep our little 'zine alive and there's no pressure to write.

Hope you enjoy our new format and welcome one and all to the fun and fury that is UniBeat

Alan Percival - "Editor-in-Cheese"

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