A brief history of Allan's presence on the internet
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALLAN’S PRESENCE ON THE INTERNET - first draft.
The World Wide Web was officially born in 1991. At the time, setting up a web site was a complicated process that involved a lot of technical knowledge. Allan seemed to have had little interest in the internet, and so it took some years before he had an official internet presence. The following is a first draft attempt at documenting Allan’s internet presence, both official and unofficial. This would not have been possible without the Internet Archive at archive.org.
- 1 THE ATAVACHRON MAILING LIST
- 2 FIRST FAN WEB SITES
- 3 OFFICIAL WEB SITES
- 4 LATER FANSITES
- 5 FACEBOOK PAGES AND GROUPS
THE ATAVACHRON MAILING LIST
The first web sites dedicated to Allan were run by fans. The first known internet presence of Allan was not a web site, though. Jeff Preston started “The Atavachron mailing list” in the very early 90s. It looks like he was a student at Morehead State University in Kentucky at the time. According to a usenet posting by Jeff in November 1991:
“ATAVACHRON is a discussion forum in digest format intended to exchange information and stimulate discussions on the works of guitarist Allan Holdsworth. The list is in a moderated digest format; all postings sent to ATAVACHRON will be compiled and distributed on an "as-needed" basis (typically 2-5 times weekly). As of 10/31/91, no archives will be offered, but may be in the future if demand exists.”
The early postings on the Atavachron mailing list contained discussions related to discography, live gigs and upcoming events - pretty much as things have been on Facebook in the past few years! Occasionally, people with inside information would post something. The archives of the list are available (see below), and researchers should definitely make an effort to systematically review these posts. At one point I even think Jeff received information directly from Allan’s then wife.
FIRST FAN WEB SITES
I’m a little uncertain to which site actually was online first, but there were at least two websites dedicated to Allan in the mid 90’s. Thanks to archive.org, some parts of these sites have been preserved for posterity.
"The Unofficial Allan Holdsworth Web Site"
I’m guessing that "The Unofficial Allan Holdsworth Web Site" might actually have been the first. This site was run by an unidentified entity. By the looks of it, it was a one man show by someone very knowledgeable about Allan’s history, as it contained a very thorough discography, as well a list of radio shows, TV appearances and books. The site was not interactive and dynamic in any way: The pages were all very static, and there was little focus on current and upcoming events. Still, this site was the best place to search for historical info. The first capture in the Internet Archive is from 1998, but the site had been online for some time before then. The largest capture seems to be this one:
The latest capture of the web site was on Oct 12, 2007, and the site seems to have gone offline a short time after.
"The Atavachron/Allan Holdsworth WWW Server"
The other major website in the mid and late 90’s was established by the same Jeff Preston who was behind the Atavachron mailing list. He was apparently working as a web designer in Nashville in the mid 90’s. This site had more of a focus on current and upcoming events. The site code was apparently written more or less by hand by Jeff, so there must have been a LOT of work to maintain the site. The site was referred to as “Atavachron - The Allan Holdsworth Web Site & Discussion List”. The site contained archives of the Atavachron mailing list. I don’t know when the site first went online, but the earliest capture is from Feb 8, 1997:
This edition includes an archive of the Atavachron mailing list:
The latest capture is from Jun 26, 1997, and the site was apparently taken offline shortly after:
Read Jeff’s presentation of himself here:
"Atavachron: The Official Allan Holdsworth Web Site
The reason the previous site was taken offline is that it moved to another domain, holdsworth.net. The site was redesigned, and advertised as "official". This meant that it was somehow approved by Allan. The site contained a lot of the same things as the previous site, with some added features. The first archived version is from January 1998:
This site was shortlived, though. By March 1998, the site was taken down, and Jeff posted an explanation, which can be read here, archived on May 8, 1998:
What happened in between and behind the scenes is subject matter for a different time...
When the Atavachron web site folded, the mailing list also shut down. A new list called "Fusenet", inspired by Atavachron, but more broadly targeted at fusion music in general, was initiated. The first posting was in July 1998, and the last one in June 2003. This group can still be found at:
Olivier Feuillerat established the “Oneiric Moor” website around 2000. The earliest capture is Apr 8, 2000:
Early editions of the site are not well archived, but there was a mix of news, tabs, links and quotes posted. Later editions contained an archive of various media, and even an original interview with Allan. The site is still online, latest update apparently in 2013. Most of the site functions as a “fan repository”.
"The Allan Holdsworth Information Center"
This site was launched on a different URL around 2000 as “The Allan Holdsworth Information Centre”. Disclosure: This site is run by the same person as the “Allan Holdsworth Archives” on Facebook. The original intention was mainly to collect all of the published interviews Allan had made in his career in one place. A lot of these out of print interviews I had collected myself over many years, and some I received via other collectors. I scanned these articles, ran them through (poor) OCR software, proofread them (a lot of work), and posted them on the site. This was done in bulk in 2001, and the static design meant that updating was a pain. Also, Allan was in a slow phase of his career, so there weren't so many stories published, because he stopped releasing albums for a long time. Also, with the advent of the internet, stories started being published digitally, so there wasn’t the same lack of resources anymore. All this, in addition to personal reasons, meant that there was never any update of the site. At some point, it was taken offline. Most of the material was republished on Olivier’s site. I eventually took the site online again, and you can read the material at http://www.fingerprintsweb.net/ah/home.html, more or less as it was in 2001.
OFFICIAL WEB SITES
Allan first official web site was probably created by Gnarly Geezer, his record label at the time. Gnarly Geezer released the original edition of “16 Men Of Tain”. Gnarly Geezer was apparently established by Tom Voli, who is listed as executive producer on the album. The site was called “The Official AllanHoldsworth.com”. The earliest capture is Nov 27, 1999, and the latest working capture is Apr 2, 2003. The domain was then transferred to other owners, and the site went offline. The latest working capture can be found at:
The official web site soon redirected most of its traffic to the gnarlygeezer.com domain name. The earliest capture of this site is from Nov 27, 1999, and the latest working capture Jan 25, 2004, found here:
Gnarly Geezer branched out and released a few more albums by other artists, and also the Holdsworth DVD "Live at the Galaxy". The Gnarly Geezer site was the first to feature an online discussion forum. Some of the posts have been archived, and there are occasional insightful posts made by well informed people. It would probably be worthwhile to dig through these posts, although it would be a lot of work.
The Gnarly Geezer company folded, and Allan released the album “Flat Tire” in 2001 on megazoidalrecords.com. This was Megazoidal’s only release.The earliest capture of this site is from May 25, 2001. The last capture is from Oct 7, 2003.
Around this time, Allan signed with Alternity Records, run by Chris Hoard, among others. The earliest capture of this site is from Jun 9, 2002. Allan released two albums on Alternity, the live album “Then” (2003), and the compilation “Against The Clock” (2005). Alternity also featured Allan on the album “Sonic Undertow” by Riptyde (more or less an alias for Chris Hoard), and Holdsworth musicians Gary Husband and Dave Carpenter on Jason Smith’s album “Think Like This”. The latest capture is from Oct 13, 2016, and then the site went offline:
Allan’ last website was also his most enduring. Who actually was behind this website is a little hard to say. At some point in the early 00’s, Allan signed with Moonjune management, who initially booked his concerts, but later released the live album “Blues For Tony”. It’s likely that Moonjune took over the management of the website at some point. The earliest capture of this site is Feb 5, 2003, and the latest working capture Dec 27, 2015, found at:
This site also added a fan forum, which was very active in the first few years. People close to Allan would sometimes participate, and there was information to be found here that could not be found elsewhere. As with most public forums, there was a bit of noise and heated discussion. Whether this ultimately led to the closing of the forum is hard to tell, but Allan himself seemed to distance himself from the forum and even the web site in later years. The majority of posts from this time seem to be lost.
With the demise of the forum on Allan’s official site, an independent forum site was set up by an unidentified fan. This site never attracted as much traffic as the previous forum, probably because it was not endorsed by the official site. An additional factor is probably that by 2010, bulletin boards were becoming superseded by social media platforms such as Facebook. The earliest capture is Sep 23, 2010, and the latest working capture is Aug 1, 2015, found here:
There were some well-informed posts on this site, but sadly the posts themselves seem to have not been archived...
FACEBOOK PAGES AND GROUPS
Allan’s Facebook page
Moonjune Records maintained an official Facebook page for Allan up until around 2015. When Allan ended his contract with Moonjune, the page was deleted. Sadly, The Internet Archive does not archive Facebook pages.
Manifesto Records launched a new Facebook page for Allan in 2017, in conjunction with the release of their box set: https://www.facebook.com/allanholdsworthmusic (active)
The unReal Allan Holdsworth group
The unReal Allan Holdsworth group was founded around 2013 by Nick Stefanakis. It describes itself at present as “The Allan "Everything" Group. Everything pertaining to his music, his history, his friends and the influence he's had on the music scene and on guitarists.” Since the official site went offline, this group has been the most reliable source of information on Allan. Several of his fellow musicians, as well as family members and friends, have joined and contributed. With the passing of Allan on April 15, 2017, membership exploded, and at the time of writing, membership is at around 10.000. The activity in the group should be archived, as there is massive amounts of useful information posted here, although it can be hard to find.
The Allan Holdsworth Archives page
This page was set up in 2013, with the intention of providing archival material on Allan. It is a continuation of the work done on “The Allan Holdsworth Information Centre”. Ultimately, the material from both these sites should be published on a stable website that is easy to navigate, update and maintain. With Allan’s passing, membership has boomed, and is at a little less than 10.000 at present.
There are and have been other pages devoted to Allan on the web, and there are of course articles, photos and videos available on many web sites. I do not in any way intend any criticism of these other sites here, it is merely a documentation of what I consider the basic sites worthy of initial mention. My apologies if I forgot something essential.