Back in the early 00s, stuck in the living hell that is nine to five, all Gluke and I really wanted to do was to rock out and talk gear. Sitting on the phone all day and shooting the shit about the inner works of ye ol rackmount delays might have come across as a wee bit non work related to our bosses so I decided to set up a chat room in order to keep suspicion at a minimum.
Days went by and it was fun as hell. Man, we’d just sit and type about pedals and git-fiddles till we’d cramp up. Then, out of nowhere, (I still don’t know how the hell this happened) a third person just showed up in the chatroom. You see, this über ghetto communications universe that I had created for Gluke and me was Flash based, meaning no content was stored and you couldn’t really discover it through a search engine e.g, so imagine our surprise when suddenly a stranger shows up and starts chatting along with us on and being interested in the same topics. This person, if I remember correctly, was Tonefreak, HRI’s first member.
Tonefreak mentioned that there were more people like us who appreciated highend gear and loved to discuss the possibilities available with rack systems and our true admiration for players like Luke and Landau. I figured that a forum might be a better choice so all our discussions would be archived ’cause there was a lot of valuable information being shared. And so be it, the first forum was born…
There have been several versions since then. The first version was a linked thread version, everything was saved to a textfile, because I didn’t have access to a SQL database back then. I continued to develop versions based on the textfile database, but we grew so big so fast that this format would prove to not be enough. We needed a more advanced backend.
This is when we converted to PhpBB. All the old posts were lost because I had no idea how to convert that textfile to SQL. Some cool info was stored there and got lost forever. If I ever find that textfile I’ll dig it up and make it available.
The wonder years
HRI grew fast. We attracted a lot of like-minded people, both amateurs and professionals, and we all got along really well. I think that is one of the key reasons HRI was such a successful community. Touring professionals could hang out and have a normal conversation with your average Joe without being bombarded with lame questions and borderline psycothic fanboy behaviour. We shared knowledge and everyone contributed. Lots of cool information was being distributed across the board and almost everyone learned something new each day. It was an awesome period in the history of Huge Racks Inc.
It also resulted in some fond memories for me personally which will be documented in the archives. One legendary guitar and a birthday dinner at Nobu comes to mind.
There’s really not much to say about the golden days of HRI other than it was an amazing time. As time goes by, and the archives gets populated with information, stories, random nuggets and tidbits from the wonder years, I think you will understand too.
But, alas, all good things must come to an end, including HRI…
A classic forum problem is.. its members. But, without its members there is no forum. So, what to do? You deal with it at the best of your abilities. That is, until things start to get so messy and far from its origin that there is no spirit left. Then you close up shop.
As HRI grew, the core of its contributers started to lose touch and/or found new platforms to entertain themselves on and a new generation of people were joining in. A generation who had no interest in what was the fundamental values of Huge Racks Inc. They were there only because we created a buzz and had lots of industry insiders who were more than willing to share. Unfortunately, those who initially helped make HRI into what it had become, and so gladly offered their expert advice, were slowly moving away. The majority of the information we so desperately were craving in the beginning had been documented already and was easily available just by doing a quick search. This new generation of bystanders were just hanger-ons, waiting for someone to entertain them and enlighten their minds with whatever they were into at that particular minute in time.. and when their empty little heads didn’t get filled up with what they were demanding they finally opened their shitty little mouths and all that came out was whining, bashing and incredibly unintelligent accusations. It got old, real fast.
Based on the fact that no one really shared any vital information during that time, we started seeing people/companies using this to their advantage. Taking it upon themselves to enter a very forward position and to “lead the way”. What it was, really, was just a classic example of stealth marketing, using HRI as a platform to exploit a bunch of people who were wearing blinkers, thinking that this is the end all of everything. And these people/companies didn’t give anything back. They just rode that high horse, wigglin’ their dicks in front of what essentially had become a flock of sheep. This accumulated into some strange and dark times on the forum and it really pissed me off. But, what can you do. Suddenly I was up against some pretty big names and I wasn’t going treat anyone any different just because someone is “known”. Fuck that. So shit hit the fan. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now. Although some might flatter themselves into thinking exactly that. Why else would I write about it.. well, it’s part of the history and one of the reasons it all came to an end.
Anyway, tension rose and the work load had reached incredible heights with the amount of visitors. All this time, HRI has just been something I did on the side. Kept it free for all and tried my best to keep everything up to date and looking good. It’s a lot of work. We had no moderators or anyone to take care of the technical aspects. It was all me, all the time. And it just became too much compared to what it was at the end. So with the central importance of Huge Racks Inc. slowly shifting, more an more people taking to social media like Facebook and Instagram instead of forums, and the original spirit and vibe fading away, it was just time to end. I kept it going in a frozen state for a few years because of demand and some members donated enough to pay for hosting so I figured, okay. Then donations dried up and I shut it down for good on August 14th, 2018.
Although I never shared my plan on creating these archives I had this idea for a few years before the end. After I closed up shop I figured everyone had satisfied their hunger for HRI related goodness, at least for a few years to come, and that I could ponder freely without any distractions on how I was best going to document, preserve and eventually share all the amazing stuff that the forum had gathered over the years. A few people reached out and were eager to know what was going to happen and if HRI was really going away and I answered honestly that yes, it’s going away, but what happens in the future, no one knows.
Then something happens that I never would have even dreamt of. Someone hacks and rips the entire HRI database. I don’t know if it was one person or if there were more, but the result was that several people were now sitting on the entire Huge Racks Inc. database that had been illegally aquired. Some even had the nerve to post on a public forum that they had stolen it and were contemplating what to do with it. Even starting a forum with the stolen database as core content was discussed and presented as an option. The incredible lack of respect and common courtesy among these people just toally blows my mind. You dedicate some 15+ years to a project and then suddenly someone steals it and declares it theirs to use how they see fit. It’s unbelivable, sad, stupid, but unfortunately true.
These sudden events really upset me. I was tired of HRI and had only slowly started working on some ideas and going through the vast amount of infromation, but the total unfairness of these actions had me furious and I had to do something, so I started working my ass off to get this site going and let these douche canoes know that whatever they had in mind shall remain worthless compared to the real deal. And here we are.
I think this site is as close to the above quote as we’ll get.
About the name Huge Racks Inc
I don’t remember exactly when we first used HRI as the official name for the forum.. maybe it was right away, but here is how it got out there..
I was working at a small guitar shop in Norway. Gluke and I was, of course, heavily into rack systems and talked daily about these crazy fridge size things. That Luke interview were he talked about smoking a joint and playing with all the buttons kinda made it all happen.. the root of all this evil.. lol anyway..
One day Gluke sent me an email I think.. he had made up this fictional company called Huge Racks Inc. It was a list stating different products that they offered. There were three different sizes. I remember two of them.. the smallest being the girlie rack (this is the first time this expression was ever used and is now commonly used about smaller racks) and the biggest being the Mothership. I remember cracking up over that note.. damn that was some funny shit. The Mothership would have a coffemachine, a toilet and what not installed… lol.. funny as hell.
So that’s how the name came about..