[H O M E]
[Forever FOB]

The blackcat Mailing List History

The Black-Cat list was founded by Chris Millward on November 10, 1993 as a USENET newsgroup, alt.music.blues-traveler. Dabe Murphy wrote a news-to-mail gateway that enabled news posted on alt.music.blues-traveler to be emailed to subscribers on the server run out of the University of Maryland; it was actually the first ever on the Internet to be a true bi-directional newsgroup/mailing list. In the early days, it was not known as the black-cat list, as the original subscriptions - handled manually - went to blues-traveler@cs.umd.edu, and the list frequently had identity problems as invariably someone would think the list led directly to the band. This was in the early years of the beast known as the Internet, and the members of the list were fewer than they are today, since BT was less popular. Those original members are now frequently referred to as "veteran" BT fans. Because it was a mirror - that is, anything posted to the list went to the newsgroup, and vice versa, it was also prone to annoying spamming in its early days as well, and soon it was changed to a listserv format, where posts were made in emails, rather than to a newsgroup that could be accessed by anyone who felt like advertising anything. Dabe's newsgroup still exists today, but soon it came time for Dabe to graduate from school, and with that, the original list - which had attained such a level of popularity that it was being advertised in Blues Traveler's Gigs at a Glance newsletter - moved to the new listserv (and a more automated format), which was established at the University of Colorado by Jon Hagn.

Jon's list worked well and began to gain many new members. The list became a great source of information about the band, and also an excellent way to meet people at shows. The camaraderie amongst netters made for lots of fun. The use of the internet made these fans unique, and the play-on-words "groovin@the.show" was coined by netter Marshall Osborne [MAO] as a slogan for the list. This slogan made its way onto two netter T-shirts and a popular fan site prior to the merger into BluesTraveler.Net.

Predictably, with the success of the band's album four, the list began to grow as well. By mid-1997, when the release of Straight on Till Morning was pending, the list had grown to approximately 300 members. Old fans and new populated the list, and though there was a difference in the experience from person to person, the list community still operated with respect and maturity. Newbies felt at home on the list, which made efforts to help them out by frequently running trees, blank spins, and tape offers. To be on this list and remain tapeless, one would have to try pretty hard not to get involved. Lack of tapes certainly is not the fault of others, as netters have always been very willing to help out.

On May 1, 1998, the list switched hosts again, to a server at the University of North Carolina. Jim Ray took over administrative duties from Jon Hagn. On October 11, 1998, another administrative change took effect, as Jim Ray passed the torch to Dave Bernreuther. The list remains on the same server, and in fact not many people were even aware of the change, which happened only because Jim saw that he might not have the necessary frequent e-mail access. In January of 2001, the torch was passed to Owen Williams, who maintained the list on the University of North Carolina server until May 2003. No longer having any direct affiliation with the University of North Caroliona, it was decided to move the server to the more permanent location at fellowtraveler.org. On May 10, 2003, the list moved to its fourth host in ten years.

Discussion is animated every day, and all the new information goes through here first. If you have the time to read through some quick emails every day, the netters recommend joining. The mail can also be digestified into a daily message.

Edited 11/05/2003