16 ancient Canadian music fansites that are still alive

by Mark Teo

May 15, 2013






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Before streaming music existed—heck, it was even before the mighty mp3 was popularized—there was one way music fans shared their passion on the internet: Through amateur teenage fan sites.

Before streaming music existed—heck, it was even before the mighty mp3 was popularized—there was one way music fans shared their passion on the internet: Through amateur teenage fan sites. Usually, these rudimentary websites used free hosting services, like Geocities, Tripod, or Angelfire. All of them used garish HTML 2.0, which led to eye-scorching backgrounds, multiple frames, and still-wonderful animated .gifs. Dig deeper still, and you’ll find that like-minded sites aligned themselves in webrings, with their fans communicating through mailing lists. Like this one.

One thing these fansites all had in common, though, was an embarrassing devotion to a band: They featured near-illiterate bios of the bands, ram-packed with useless information. (What’s David Usher’s favourite tantric sex position? Who cares?) They contained unreadable, forever-scrolling pages of song lyrics. They had amateur concert reviews, archived tour dates, terrible tablature, and, of course, a deep love for sharing music news. (The proof? At least three AUX staffers were former fansite webmasters. The bands? Rusty, Matthew Good, and Rusty again.) (ED: Um, you forgot about my Plumtree Geocities site, Mark.)

Somehow—somehow!—a few of these antiquated websites managed to last the rigours of time. So, we dug deep through Altavista and Lycos archives to present you 16 ancient Canadian music fansites—whose webmasters now, like the AUX crew, probably work in the Canadian music media. We probably know them, too. So, Rev your 14.4s—here we go.

SUM 41

This wonderful example of HTML 2.0 design showed that, even with limited resources, fansites could still be plenty creative. See: An Atari-themed Sum 41 site, which is a design non sequitur if we’ve ever seen one. We’ve dated this gorgeous specimen back to 1999—note the link promoting radio play for “Makes No Difference,” the band’s first single.


Along with AUX TV favourites Rusty, in the ’90s, The Monoxides were the crown jewel of Toronto independent powerhouse Handsome Boy records. So, clearly, they were able to afford a luxurious, Tripod-hosted website, complete with an authentic-looking corkboard background.


Thanks to a huge hit single in “Numb”—and a hairstyle that can only be described as half-assed cornrows—Winnipeg-born Holly McNarland was the bad girl of ’90s Canrock. It’s why this fansite included risque clip art, featuring a cigarette-smoking funky rock chick decked out in Joakleys and a pixie cut.


If the Sloan community was Canada, in its heyday, the Sloan Hut was the web’s answer to Toronto: It was where a critical mass of Chris Murphy fans assembled. Some chatted it up in the SloanChat. Others discussed best web practises—like cutting-edge “Under Construction” .gifs—in the WebGuy Hut. Others, still, left encouraging messages on the Hut’s guestbook. Rumour has it that an AUX staffer was even involved in the site’s penpals program. (We’re not saying who. But she did inform us that this site’s creator actually originated from, and still lives and works in, Boston. Shit goes deep.)


Feist and Brendan Canning once played backup to Miguel Contraras in By Divine Right, though there’s no trace of them in these pictures. (Is that Leslie in that first image, hidden behind a guitar neck?) Either way, this site’s still useful for the By Divine Right archivist—if any of those exist.


We asked Jeeves to translate this site for us, but it turns out he doesn’t speak French.


Eye-scorching faux-hippie font aside, Lucky is one of the most comprehensive fansites we’ve seen, brimming with fan of the month awards, an index of Bif Naked Army members, and a list of Bif’s band members. Still, our favourite part of the site? This explanation of straight edge: “Straight Edge, if ya don’t know, is a lifestyle (depeding on what you think) without alcohol, or drugs. In some cases, people choose to add promiscius sex, animal meat, and caffeine, but alot of people stick to alcohol and drugs. Bif Inspired me to become straight edge, a really diffucult decsion for me considering some of my poser ‘friends’ had delved head into drugs and drinking. While I know that Bif isn’t entirely repsonsible for this, she did have a big factor in it. It’s cool to know that Bif is behind straight edge too.”  RAY CAPPO IS CRYING MAN-TEARS OF JOY, GUYS.


Go ahead. Laugh at this fansite’s homemade Swollen Members logo, surely made with MS Paint’s spraypaint tool. Yuk it up, jokers. It’s still better than the band’s actual logo, though.


According to ’90s Our Lady Peace metaphors—Maidaphors, if you will—happiness is a fish. The world’s a subway. And this website is a resounding success, even offering the option of sending your loved ones OLP-themed postcards.


This Alberta-based photo site looked so rough around the edges, we’d assumed it was a ’90s baby. Alas, not so! These photos were taken—and we can assume the site was made—in 2004. 2004!


For a second, I thought I was profane for calling Moist “greasy fuck rock,” before proclaiming that their music made me “wish I had no genitals.” But those descriptions are no less disgusting than Moist’s very own fan pages, which named themselves things like “See, Touch, Feel,” “Break Her Down,” and “Violated’s Moist Page.” Seriously—you can’t make this shit up. I don’t dare enter the lyrics page, which are surely filled with sexual organs-as-fruit metaphors. EW EW EW.


As Canadian musicians go, no one has more fansites than Sarah McLachlan. One features oil paintings of the ‘Glach. Others feature artist-by-artist archives of every Lilith Fair. But we love how comprehensive Danielle33’s fansite is, which, along with a Fumbler’s Forum and Medusa’s Web Webrings, features Realaudio clips of the the “Sweet Surrender” star performing with Paula Cole. No, seriously. That happened.


Jim Cuddy and co. was the jewel of the Great Canadians – Great Music webring. And by that, we mean it’s the only still-active site from that webring.

Tags: Music, Cancon, Featured, Lists, News, Blue Rodeo, by divine right, canrock, chris murphy, david usher, Greig Nori, holly mcnarland, Moist, Our Lady Peace, rusty, Sarah McLachlan, Sloan, Sum 41, Swollen Members, The Tea Party, Treble Charger






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