Homefront This Week: Modern Rock Do-It-Yourselfer Furnishes Plush Home for Local Music
Williams, Joe, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
A recent survey from the Nielsen organization found that half the adults in America have tinkered with the Internet at one time or another. That number includes an awful lot of rock bands and their fandom. Most of the performers who get national airplay have at least one official Web site, along with tribute pages from the doting masses who help subsidize their tattoos and methadone. And now, even local bands with a little wherewithal can hammer together a Web page, complete with photos, lyrics and audio samples.
In St. Louis, many of the bands that are hopping aboard the Internet bandwagon have turned to Aaron Lanterman for help. Lanterman is the webmaster of the St. Louis Area Local Music Page, a comprehensive Web site that offers links to the home pages of dozens of St. Louis-area musicians, from All About Grey to Zoe & Cory.
Lanterman started the page in 1994, when he was a student at Washington University. His initial source material was an article from Spotlight magazine about the local combo Black Sand Hand; Lanterman used the inputting process as a way to teach himself the HTML programming language that is the basis for most Web sites. At the end of the article, he included a link to the pre-existing home page for the band Collaborateur. Lanterman figured he could use his page as a springboard to other St. Louis music sites, thus promoting the overall vitality of the local scene -- and furthering his "long-range plan for the total destruction of the music industry as we know it." Today, the site provides links to 127 different home pages. "I didn't even know there were 127 bands in St. Louis," he says. Lanterman got the idea for the omnibus site when he saw a similar page for the music scene of Austin, Texas. "To my knowledge, the St. Louis Area Local Music Page was the second page of its kind in the entire country." Because the Web was still in its infancy when he started the site, Lanterman helped several of the bands develop their pages from scratch, back when the process was more arcane and code-intensive than it is today. And in the true spirit of street-level boosterism, he never charged for his services. (Now he supervises an army of volunteer webmasters who help local musicians create Web pages as needed. …