December 2000-2001

In the beginning...

The roots of Graveyard Girls began with a site called Box-13. Originally intended to be a music based print zine for the upstate areas of South Carolina, Box-13 never saw print become a reality, but instead quickly evolved into a site which featured videos of bands. I was already shooting still photos of bands during live shows, so switching to video seemed like a fun idea.

At the time there were no services online that offered anything like this, so it was a welcomed thing for the bands in my home area of Spartanburg SC. Within just a few months it grew quickly to offer footage of bands in other areas. I worked for Ground Zero, a nightclub in Spartanburg SC, and the majority of the footage was shot there.

In the Spring of 2001 I was approached by my friend Kia about shooting some photos of her to use as cover art for her music. I wasn't sure what I would get in the shots, but agreed to do it anyway. The set was shot on my old Canon T5 series 35mm camera on some nice gritty Kodak B&W film.

We spent about 2 hours out in a cemetery in Spartanburg SC and shot about 75 pictures total. After we got them back from 1 hour processing, she was impressed with what I shot. I returned home and put the camera back on the shelf, and that is where it stayed for another year.

Kia on the other hand began showing the photos to her friends.

As the photos circulated, more requests were coming in from women in my area interested in similar photos. I wasn't really prepared to shoot anything else at the time, so nothing else came of it.

Working 2 jobs doesn't leave much time for going out to cemeteries...

By fall 2001 there was enough footage sitting around to put together something to try and generate a little money. I took some of the footage I was showing online and put it together on a VHS tape, printed 200 heavy stock covers, and made duplicates. Every copy was produced in my bedroom, and every cover cut, folded, and glued by hand.

The video was rough in quality, but went over well in my home area. Original cost was $8 each. One of the bands included was a NC based horror punk act known as The Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, featuring a front man by the name of Wednesday 13.

The only problem I had with the product was the format. VHS was on the way out, and fast. I needed to find a way to do something better, or this would go nowhere.

2002-

Work began in 2002 to expand capabilities. I needed to offer a digital option. The 2nd Box-13 video was compiled, and offered both as a CD-R format, as well as the old style VHS. Once again, everything was done with the DIY attitude.

As the videos sold, I invested in my first DVD writer, and finally offered volume 2 on DVD. This one sold quite well. 800 copies total were produced.

This video managed to reach outside of my home area, hitting as far as Atlanta GA.

It seemed interest was really starting to peak in this Box-13 thing I was doing.

 

By mid year of 2002 I was thinking about what I could do to add more to the site. My thoughts immediately went back to the photos I shot of Kia. One of her photos from that set was printed up on fliers which read "Who wants to be a Graveyard Girl?"

The idea was purely for the fun of it. I honestly didn't think more than 3 or 4 girls would care to participate. Within a month and a half I had 20, one of which was Miss Envy, my girlfriend.

Only a couple of photos of each girl were posted to the site, but the hits coming in eclipsed the bands part by over double the number of visitors.

As the fall came in I stopped shooting photos and went back to video of bands. It was time to get another video out.

 

The time came to celebrate. Everything was going great. The bands were behind it. The girls were already planning for next year. I could not have asked for more devotion. The Box-13 Supershow was the celebration.

Some of my favorite bands were called in for this show, as well as Atlanta's Psychotic Body Suspensions whom I was also working with. About 150 people were in attendance that night. Not bad at all for a local show...

The Box-13 concept was a hit. The Graveyard Girls were a hit. Things just could not have been any better for Box-13.

A website with absolutely no financial backing was actually working.

By the end of the year Box-13 volume 3 was completed, and the first 100 copies were produced on DVD. I however was looking to change jobs. Bars were fun, but I knew I could do more with this if I had a steady job to finance it properly.

I had high hopes for this third video, but upon completion, the bands seemed to have lost interest. Only 100 copies were produced, and it took nearly a year to sell them all.

I was later told by several people the bands backed away because I quit working at the venue. I guess none of them realized I was looking to make more money to do more with this thing. Box 13 volume 3 was the final compilation video. In only a year it had peaked, and died completely.

 

2003-

This was the year that nearly killed everything. I was without a car or a job for most of it. After working in bars for about 6 years, nobody wanted to hire me except short run temp services. No bands were shot. No photos were shot. The only thing that kept it going was working with Psychotic Body Suspensions.

If they were not pushing the 13, it would have closed completely that year.

 

2004-

 

This was an interesting year. The site was near the point of closing, and out of nowhere, some girls expressed interest in Graveyard Girls.

I decided to do it again, without the bands.

Digital technology had gained substantial ground by this point, and my camera was not up to par. Sure, I had a 35mm sitting on the shelf, but I couldn't afford to use it. Instead of shooting the images myself, most of it went to Miss Envy, and my friend Chris Cook.

Only a handfull of girls came in this year, but it was enough to keep the idea alive. I did however decide that the theme was going further than the site ever could, so bands were not included.

There were no shows in 2004. No merchandise released. Only a handfull of Graveyard Girls.

2005-

This was the year to make a change, and make it fast. Box-13 was dead, so I decided to make the Graveyard Girls into a independent site outside of Box-13.

The current .net was established.

 

In May we booked our very first art show. This was something I had never attempted in the past, but found out very quickly there was interest in it.

The 2005 Alternative Arts Expo featured displays by many artists and photographers, as well as other vendors selling other items like clothes and jewelry.

This first show paved the way for a 2nd within just a few months. The first Summer Bloodfeast was booked in July of 2005, and is a tradition for us now.

This event focused more on the horror aspect we have here at Graveyard Girls, and the name of it alone made people pay attention.

5000 fliers were printed for this show, many of which were thrown away by businesses in the area because of the art being too much for them to handle.

We still had a great turnout.

As the year progressed, we did a handfull of photo shoots. Things seemed to be going well again, even after being on a hiatus for so long. The interest was still there.

2006-

This was a powerful year for us. Interest was there, and it was coming from everywhere. We had girls in a few different cities looking to participate, and couldn't get to many of them.

Dave Cook drew an incredible piece of art for us. I still have the original hanging in a frame on the wall. It seemed time to do a new interface for this beast.

I knew nothing about php scripting, but knew the site needed to convert to be worthwhile. Luckily, there was an option provided by my hosting service provider that made things much easier, or at least I thought...

The new site was launched after a few weeks of toying with the code, and I went on to looking to promote it again.

Within a couple of months, the 2nd Summer Bloodfeast was booked, then passed as yet another successful show. 93.3 The Planet's Rise Guys Morning Show got behind us on this one with a live in studio broadcast the day of the event. We had a blast.

All seemed to be going well until later on in the year, when the php scripting, and my lack of knowledge of it, came back to haunt us.

We were hacked!

After 2 days of beating myself in the head trying to fix the mess, the site was back online, but the fix didn't last long. We got hacked again, then again, and again. I spent a week reading site after site trying to learn how to lock things down. The first hit came from somewhere in Turkey. It seemed we offended some Islamic group over there. Once I finally did fix it and get things secure, I posted a photo of Oni as a salute to them. (Look to the casket above...)

2007-2008

 

2007 started off great. A handfull of sets were shot, and I planned to let them build up to do several constant weeks of publication following Summer Bloodfeast. As the 2007 Summer Bloodfeast III event neared, the unthinkable happened.

The publication run was brought to a complete standstill courtesy of a hard drive malfunction. Every image was destroyed or damaged beyond salvage. The decision was made to not publish at all, and instead, begin planning for 2008.

As 2008 neared, I found myself leaving my day job for another, and focusing heavily on getting the last of my video gear together. Within a few months this led me to working directly with Charlotte NC's SingleCell Productions, and a partnership was born.

2008 turned out to be a busy year. We were a feature of not only our own Summer Bloodfeast IV, but also heavily pushed at SingleCell's home event Purgatory, as well as the North Carolina Comics & Toys Monstercon where we hosted and sponsored the first ever Miss Nightmerica Pageant.

November marked the end of our 2008 run, leaving a few photosets on hand to launch early in 2009, and planning is now underway to drive the mothership into new territory.

 

 

2008 Graveyardgirls.net