It was around 5:00pm on September 29, 2009 when I published this site. I was sitting in my apartment working on my eMachine desktop computer, in Sea Girt, New Jersey. My girlfriend patiently waiting for me on my futon as I was “almost done” putting the finishing touches on “The B&B Entertainment Blog” — the new collaborative effort between myself and one of my all-time best friends, Brent Johnson.
Five years later that desktop computer is stuck rotting in a landfill in Staten Island, that futon was just put out for bulk pick-up, that apartment was gutted and renovated (still unoccupied to my knowledge) and that girlfriend became my wife and is carrying our daughter who’ll be born in December (who I felt kick for the first time this morning).
A hell of a lot has changed for me and for my life in that five-year span, but that website (thankfully not called The B&B Entertainment Blog) is still around and has become something more than I ever expected; but in reality something I always wanted.
For years I had dreamed of starting an online publication, reliving the heydays of my time working at the Inside Beat, which was the weekly entertainment magazine published by The Daily Targum (the official paper of Rutgers University). I imagined myself and my old friends and colleagues reuniting and living out our dreams (in reality, my dream) of taking one of the most fun, collaborative and creative experiences I had ever been a part of and making it a full-time and profitable entity.
My time with Pop-Break.com has easily surpassed my time in college, (my glory days as The Boss so famously sung about) as the most fun, collaborative and creative experiences I have ever been a part of. Every single day I amazed and blessed to be a part of something this special. And it’s the men and women who work on this site, without a single cent coming there way, that has made it this way.
A year ago, Pop-Break was just starting to rebound from what was undoubtedly its darkest time. I told everyone in last year’s letter from the editor column that I was excited to see where the next 365 days would take us and my God has it taken us to places I never expected.
In one year’s time we’ve written more stories, been to more premieres and events, interviewed more national touring bands, shot more concerts, been to more festivals and to me, most importantly, we’ve had the most fun we’ve ever had in our existence. We came out of our darkest time and we rose to the occasion and it’s the staff who are to thank for this. They’re willingness, enthusiasm and sheer awesomeness are makes this site tick.
Don’t think because Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief or is the name on all the legal documents, that I’m the reason this is all happening. No way, man.
It’s a managing editor like Lauren Stern who is constantly striving for this site to become better each and every day. Who cares about this site so passionately and through her influence has made me a better editor, has made this site more organized and efficient and relevant and has come up with so many fantastic ideas that have lead to tremendous traffic to this site.
It’s section editors like Daniel Cohen, Al Mannarino, Logan J. Fowler, Kelly O’Dowd and Luke Kalamar who are not only fantastic writers, but are able to wrangle huge sections of this site on their own with grace, class and wonderful insight.
It’s an artist like Nick Porcaro, who has done so much in making this site look good and cleaning up any technical messes that may come the site’s way and doesn’t demand a damn thing for it.
It’s photographers like Keeyahtay Lewis, Jeff Crespi, Jesse Murch and Mike DeLaPaz who travel all over the Tri-State area, no matter the weather or their own financial situation to get the best shots in the business.
It’s senior writers like Mike Dworkis, Ann Hale, Lisa Pikaard, Jason Stives, Marla Pachter and Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs who take on big projects for us without hesitation and always deliver.
It’s guys like Brent Johnson and John Elliott who have done so much behind the scenes stuff for this site that people don’t know about and they probably will never get the amount of credit they deserve.
It’s editors-at-large like Maxwell Barna, Jay Kundrath, Jeanne Crump and Joe Zorzi — who write when they can for the site and remain its biggest cheerleaders.
It’s all these people (I hope I didn’t forget anyone!): Matt Agosta, Erica Batchelor, Scott Clifford, Mallory Delchamp, Laura Dengrove, Kelly Gonsalves, Allison Lips, Matt Haviland, Megan LaBruna, Asia Martin, John Lawrence, Justin Matchick, Anthony Toto, Molly Boekenheide, DJ Chapman, Matt DeBenendetti, Kelly Duncan, Max Freedman, Eric Gallegos, Harry Jackson, David Oliver, Lucas P. Jones, Matt Kelly, Erin Mathis, Chris Panico, Kayla Peters and the people throughout the past five years who have contributed a little bit or a lot who are no longer with the site — they have all added something special to this site through words.
It’s YOU – this person reading the site because no matter how much hard work we put into the site, if you don’t read us — we don’t exist.
It’s publicists like: Kevin Calabro, Mike Heyliger, Kevin Chiaramonte, Rey Roldan, Amanda Cagan, Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald, Kristine-Ann Magnuson, Annissa Lee Mason, Erin Dvorachek, Gihan Salem, Chris Vinyard, Chris Robinson, Andy Adelewitz, Collin & Sam Citron, Peter Raspler, Mike Cubillos, Gary Strack plus all the people at: HBO, BBC America, FerenComm, Big Hassle, Press Here, Big Picture, Fresh Clean Media, LaFamos PR, BB Gun Press, Republic Records, Atlantic Records, Universal Music, Warner Bros. Records, Adrenaline PR, Bridge9, The Syndicate, Biz3 Media, MSOPR, and all the PR companies throughout the years that have been so kind to us and granted us so many opportunities.
It’s to all the bands both local and national who have given us the opportunity to work with them — you have had such an impact on our site.
It’s people like Buck Crowell from LiveNation, Maria Ciezak from The Starland Ballroom, Angie Sugrim from LiveNation, Chris Femiano from Madison Marquette, Kyle Brendle and Caroline O’Toole from The Stone Pony, Christine Feola from Dark City Entertainment, Debbie DeLisa from The Wonder Bar, Jake Szufnarowski from Rocks Off and of course my brothers from Anchor & Hope — Billy O’Brien, Gregg Pirillo and Mike Merrell who were the first to welcome me into the Asbury scene.
It’s my friends who were the first to read this site and show me the support I need and give me the type of love and advice to keep me going.
It’s because of ALL these people that Pop-Break.com has been able to be around for five years and get better every single day.
And without these people, there’s no way we make the next five years. No way.
So to all of you, I thank you with every fiber of my being.
Three years ago I made a promise to my dad before he passed from this earth that I would do everything I could to keep this site, which he thought was something special, going and to keep making it better every single day.
Without you guys, I don’t keep that promise.
So here’s to you all. And let’s make the next five year even better than our wildest dreams can think of.
Sincerely and With All The Gratitude In the World,