Doug Taylor, the creator, host and chief operator for this website, passed away on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Doug had been ill for numerous months. (He did not succumb to coronavirus.) As we have more information we will post it on this page. Our sympathy extends to his family and many friends. Doug Taylor was this website.
“The Origins of Hysteria”
(Note from editor: We have run this story a few times before, but we continue to grow in leaps and bounds with new readers and we like to inform them and upgrade the origins of this site. On September 10, 2019, we hit a Mile Stone of 11 million viewers since we launched it, with the average of up to 4000-8000 hits per day– and beyond. It’s been a long road!!! Doug Taylor – Webmaster)
We are looking for Volunteers to help us on this website. READ MORE!!!
(A conversation between Doug Taylor and Kim Rush about the beginning days of this website)
Doug Taylor: There’s a beginning to everything. With the Hysterical website, it’s been a very interesting path. It has seemed to have a mind of it’s own. It’s as if an unexpected monster showed up in our lives. But before we get into that, let me introduce my partner in crime for this project, for without him, this website just would not have happened. My hysterical partner and friend, Kim Rush, is an historian, a writer and all around handy-man to have working on a website with me. His demeanor is very genuine and he always covers my back when I can’t.
Kim Rush: Thank you, Doug! That was a very kind and forgiving summation of my contribution to the website. Doug and I have not known each other for a very long time. It’s been a little over two years. We will always be huge fans of the Grand Rapids Rocks website, and I’m quite sure that’s where we first connected. We both enjoyed the local music scene of the 60s and 70s in Grand Rapids, and found a common interest there. Doug’s career as a bartender in 26 different clubs during that era exposed him to numerous bands from West Michigan. Moreover, Doug and I both deeply appreciate the value and fun of exploring history, in general, and I believe this is one primary reason we become good friends. Doug’s grandfather, Claude O. Taylor Sr., is a significant local historical figure, and learning about him and Doug’s family has been very interesting, as well. Check out Doug’s website about Claude at: www.ClaudeOTaylor.com
Doug has been asked by the Grand Rapids Historical Society to do a Lecture on his Grandfather. Gordon Olson (City of Grand Rapids Historian) told Doug a few years back that somebody should write a book about his Grandfather, well Michael Johnston a friend of Doug’s is doing that, so he asked Michael to share the podium with him on this lecture: Gerald R. Ford Museum for the Grand Rapids Historical Society: October 16, 2014, 7:00 pm – “C.O. & Mabel Taylor: Power Couple of the Progressive Era” The remarkable story of a extraordinary couple who helped birth the emerging middle class in Grand Rapids in the late 19th and early 20th Century. By his grandson Doug Taylor, historian at large and Michael Johnston, Grand Rapids labor historian. As of September 3, 2014 the Gerald R. Ford Museum told the Grand Rapids Historical Society of a conflicting event they have on October 16th, so the Lecture was moved to Wednesday October 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm.
On September the 9th 2016, Doug met with Grand Rapids Historical Society and made another commitment to doing another Lecture/Presentation, this time on the History of the Grand Rapids Speedrome. They set the date for Thursday Oct. 12th, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Doors open at 6:30 pm and at that time a Special Slide show and never seen before video from 1955 will be viewed until the Lecture starts. Doug already has Johnny Beason Sr., Ralph Baker, Gail Cobb, Wayne Landon committed to coming and others that raced there back in the day. Doug was walking out after doing the Presentation with Chuck Bocskey who headed up the Historical Society and he said that the main Library auditorium was packed and the overflow auditorium was almost packed which has never happened before, he then said “Speedrome Part II”.
Doug is already working on doing a Presentation/Lecture on his Grandfather with Michael Johnson up at the Quincey Mine in Hancock, Michigan in their new Lecture Series.
We never seem to tire when it comes to sharing new information with each other, and it has gradually become a full time pursuit for both of us. In fact, we became so obsessed with obtaining and processing website information that we have recently learned that it was taking over both of our lives. We are trying to teach ourselves to learn how to take this project in stride so we can keep going for many years to come.
Just a little over one month after we launched the website, John Sinkevics from the Grand Rapids Press launched a story about our whimsically named website titled: Reveling in Grand Rapids’ music past: New “Hysterical Society” website documents West Michigan bands, musicians.
Doug served an important role in inventing communication systems for the professional auto racing industry in the 70s. Check out his racing website: www.TaylorsCommunicationsRacing.com Doug is what I call a modern “renaissance” man. He has basically mastered more things than most people attempt in a lifetime. Doug’s Bio. One of the numerous tasks that he is not intimidated by is website construction. Once Doug and I got to know each other, I asked him if he would create a website for archiving our research. It was at that same time that we started thinking about creating a broader website which included both my research findings, some of Doug’s interests and the content found in the Hysterical website.
Angie Campbell from Speedway Media wrote a couple of stories on Doug from his racing days, here’s the links to them:
Our vision was to create a permanent archive of West Michigan musical history. We began by defining what we were going to include in the prospective website and what we were not going to cover. It was a huge task to determine how we would present this information, and Doug got stuck with an equally enormous task of building the website template that is currently used. We didn’t want to make our topic too broad. We ended up taking on an enormous, never ending project even if we did exclude musicians from most of the state of Michigan. We had no idea that there were this many bands and musicians from West Michigan!
Doug Taylor: Thank you, Kim. Another challenge we encountered while designing and building this website was creating the website’s name. One would think that this would not be a big deal. Yet it took a great deal of time, effort and a little creativity. We wanted the name to be as short as possible so people would not have a hard time searching for the website. So we considered the name West Michigan, then West Mich and the further abbreviated “WM.” After much debate, West Mich it was to be. At this point www.WestMichMusic still seemed too long for our taste. And we still needed to add more information to the title! After beating our heads together, we considered using “historical society,” but that just sounded too common and serious for our site. Again, after long periods of writers block and other frustrations, we tried to finish the title. We began to joke about the serious type of name we had created, and that is when Kim suggested “Hysterical Society” and we both knew that was a good, lighthearted fit. So, folks, that’s how the website was named!
This website is a very hard to describe to anyone, because their is so much information in so many categories, that I usually end up just telling everyone to just go there and experience it.
In an e-mail I received from Ronnie Fray on April 28, 2011 he said, “is it really called ‘”hysterical society? – with an ‘e’ and a ‘y’ instead of an ‘i’ and ‘o’?????…. Wow, now that’s different….’n cool, too! Cause history is hysterical….(at least mine is)”
Bruce Snoap, the keyboard player with the Kingtones, summed it up: “ the history of west Michigan musicians….wow! ….You certainly have opened a ‘can of worms’ with this category! ……then he later added ….good job on a HUMONGOUS task!!”
It’s this types of clever and humorous remarks and compliments from our website friends and contributors that help keep us plucking away at this endless project. We deeply appreciate every one of you.
Actually the website gradually ‘evolved ‘ as we worked on it, almost as much as we purposefully designed it. It more or less “just happened.” All the various website topics needed to be put into order and Kim and I worked out design instructions which made the website very easy to navigate and to keep organized. We knew that we wanted to have the website be easy to search and navigate. We wanted the information to be in specific areas and to ultimately end up where it belonged. We disliked how some websites were too busy and hard to navigate from one page to the other. OK, Kim, can you give us dates, of when this, that, whatever, happened while we were designing the website?
Kim: Not much help with the dates….it’s all a blur. I do recall that we started talking to each other sometime in 2010. We discovered that we were both friends with my longtime buddy, Bob Vogel. Many of our conversations still focus on him and his considerable musical talents. (Bob works for Loretta Lynn as her band leader) Doug showed me the websites he had built and showed me some of the miniature lighthouses he builds. I loaned him my VHS to DVD converter and he created some DVD’s of some old concert tapes he had taped of local bands from the early 80?s. Here’s one of those song’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-dHoMQGQF8 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8Eke05iyFw
Doug has a very active mind and he needs to feel like he is accomplishing something significant every day. I appreciated that about him, and I asked him if he could build us a website to stash all my research data and archives he has. Somehow that request morphed into a larger lifelong website project. It’s lots of fun and we’re gathering tremendous amounts of data and photos and music and making many good friends. We’re gradually learning about the history of the local music scene one page at a time, which now is near 2400 pages and has had over 10 Million hits since we launched it in August 2011. At present, we receive about 4000-8000 hits per day. Sometimes we have to remind each other to take this project gradually and in stride, because it can become obsessive and frustrating if you let it. This is yet another reason why this website is totally hysterical.
Kim’s Comments from 3/2016: It is amazing how much our readership has grown. Thanks to all who have contributed to the work of this website, especially Doug Taylor.
Recently I received correspondence from a doctoral student in Budapest, Hungary. He was interested in the article about Earl Granstaff. http://www.westmichmusichystericalsociety.com/eg/
I am hoping that readers will submit more articles and information, so that we can keep the website fresh and updated. We will do the editing for you, if needed, if you submit your information.
I am currently working on a book project (2016), and Doug is getting stuck with most of the work for the website. He is doing a tremendous job of keeping the website updated. I sure appreciate what he is doing. One more thing that Doug does is he is just getting his studio done where he makes miniature, to scale, replica lighthouses: http://thelittlelighthousefactory.com/
Thanks to Gary Johnson, of http://www.michiganrockandrolllegends.com/ for allowing us to use some of his articles. We are always looking for interesting and fresh articles, so we invite you to help us with this. If you want to volunteer to work with the website, by all means, contact us! We really need your help with managing all of this information, which is flooding in.
Please forward corrections concerning inaccurate information posted on this website.
For those of you who live in West Michigan, we hope to see you at our monthly meetings in Grand Rapids– we meet and greet, and shoot the bull…. it’s fun!!!! THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME!!! http://www.westmichmusichystericalsociety.com/board-meetings/
Thank you for everything,
Doug’s note at this time: I don’t think we have hit the tip of the iceberg yet, I think before we have a grip on archiving the majority of the bands and musicians in West Michigan, that this page count will exceed 5000-6000 pages. I have arrived at this figure by seeing all the bands that pass before me at any given time and have to pass the opportunity up to archive them. It is pretty much my job to populate this website, as Kim is busy writing stories, somebody tell him I will change jobs with him at any time. lol.
I’m an Historian at heart being involved with my local Historical Society of St. Ignace, Michigan, I’m also running a Grassroots effort since August 2011 to save relics of an Historic Icon the “Chief Wawatam” R.R. Car Ferry, as I now own one of the 3-1500 hp steam engines that were in her. I’m also Webmaster of this website: www.ChiefWawatam.com
The Michigan History Magazine wrote an article about our website in the November/December 2013 Issue of their Magazine on page 7 titled “WEBWATCHER” In four paragraphs they did a wonderful job of describing our website. http://www.westmichmusichystericalsociety.com/webwatcher/
There is only two of us making this website happen, so we do need help. Please let us remind you that this is An Interactive Archival Database for West Michigan Music History, in short, if we don’t get Interactive help from you, this site struggles. If you see some band or musician that isn’t in one of the lists, please send the name of the band and musicians names to us, so we can make pages for them. Once pages are made for them, anybody can leave information, or a comment on that page. Please submit information, photos, BIO’s, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org
When submitting, please do not sent more than one bands information per e-mail, as it can get mixed up. We have band and musician format sheets on the “Start Here” tab in the menu. If you follow these formats by submitting your information like it is on all pages, it will be easy to copy and paste for us, thus eliminating precious time.
It doesn’t matter if you only have one musician, or band name to offer, it’s just one more that we didn’t have and we feel everyone needs to be on here.
When this website becomes more complete it will be donated to the Grand Rapids Public Library – Michigan Room Archives. Please read “Our Mission Statement”.
This Link will take you to a Facebook post that I saved 2 months before we launched the website: http://www.westmichmusichystericalsociety.com/attention-musicians/
Up-date: As of September 9, 2019, we have had over 11 Million Hits and have added nearly 2400 pages to the website.
FS ~ 3/25/2013 – 4/4/2013 *** 4/6/2013 – 4/25/2013 *** 9/22/2013 – 10/2/2013 *** 7/20/2014 – 7/31/2014 *** 3/1/2016 – 3/24/2016 *** 9/12/2016 – 9/19/2016 ***4/16/2017 – 5/2/2017 *** 12/25/2018***5/5/2019 –