This site is maintained by Jeff Morris, but many other people have helped to make it what it is today.
First of all, I want to thank Annie Sattler for her copious work on the site from January, 1993, to April, 1997. Annie created the address file, and also assisted with entering playlists and newsletters, verifying artist and title spellings, creating graphics, and much more.
Scooby (Roger Simon) was contributing to this site since before it began! An alumnus of Reed College (Dr. Demento's alma mater) and an internet veteran since 1981, he can remember when rec.music.dementia was one of the few newsgroups in existence. He maintained the list of stations that broadcast The Dr. Demento Show through 2006.
Rob Killam took over the task of maintaining the address file which was started by Annie in June, 1993. He is also responsible for the Shel Silverstein discography.
Matt Keeley helped by converting many of the plain text files on this server to HTML. Also, Russell Brian Weiser gave some HTML formatting suggestions.
My favorite part of the site is the playlist archive. We started with only a few in 1993, but have gradually filled in gaps from previous years. We now have nearly two thousand playlists online! We've got all of the syndicated playlists, and are making our way through the live ones. Stay tuned.
Collecting and typing in all of the playlists has been a slow process, but help from the following people has been greatly appreciated:
One of the most popular parts of the site is the lyrics section. Each file there lists the person who sent it in, but I also wanted to thank the following people in particular for their abundant contributions:
Thanks are also in order to a few people who aren't specifically mentioned above: "Very Keri" Maijala, "Musical Mike" Kieffer, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, "Whimsical Will" Simpson, "Good Time Gil" LuQue, Brian Leibowitz, Dave Guhlow, and Dr. & Mrs. Demento.
Of course, there are bound to be those people whom I forgot. Please believe me, it's not that I don't appreciate what you've done, it's just that it slipped my mind. Feel free to e-mail me and remind me who you are!
The rec.music.dementia newsgroup is descended from the rec.humor newsgroup. In the late 1980s, the latter was becoming filled with Dr. Demento questions, so in 1989 r.m.d was born.
The radio log was started around early 1987 by Derek Ludwig. When he left the internet that summer, Scooby took it over and expanded it, and has been maintaining it ever since.
Playlist postings were done regularly for a long period of time by various people. From March until August, 1992, they were done by Dan White. (If anyone knows who did them before him, let me know!)
I first encountered the newsgroup in December, 1992. I noticed that no one was posting the playlists at that time, so I began doing so on December 20, 1992. Annie Sattler began helping me with the playlists in January, 1993, and continued to do so until March, 1997.
I noticed that, in addition to no one posting playlists, no one was posting a FAQ for the newsgroup. In January, 1993, I posted a message asking if anyone minded if I did one. Everyone seemed in favor of the idea.
I started collecting questions and answers for the main FAQ, as well as other files that needed to be archived. My friend Sean Sowder gave me a filtering program he used to automatically respond to e-mail. After some modifications, I finally got it working on March 23, 1993. A limited number of FAQ files were available by sending me e-mail with certain subject lines. This service remained available until December 31, 2006.
The main FAQ was also being posted monthly to the newsgroup. As time went on, more and more files were added to the list, including playlists and lyrics. By the end of the year, the monthly FAQ had become three different files, and the subject headers had been standardized to those used until October, 2006 ("FAQ: rec.music.dementia: LIST"). (All included the prefix of FAQ: and the newsgroup name due to their cross-posting on rec.music.info.) Eventually, I began posting the files twice a month. After the mail server was discontinued at the end of 2006, it only seemed appropriate to post the main FAQ file, which is now posted on the 1st and 15th of every month.
On August 1, 1994, the site made its debut on the World Wide Web. All of the files from the mail server were duplicated in their original text form. Gradually, files were converted to HTML. A few still need to be done!
The playlists were converted in September and October of 1995, and the playlist search engine debuted on October 15. In order for the search engine to work, I had to make sure all the playlists were in a standard format. Since I had received playlists from many different sources, this was not easy. However, I was able to write a program to do it, and I still use that program each week to convert my text version into HTML.
Annie and I had always worked hard trying to verify the proper title and spelling for each and every song and artist in the playlists that we entered. After having verified a particular song once, we mostly relied on our memories and old e-mail messages to get it right the next time. In February, 1996, inspired by the program used by the naming standards department at IU, I came up with the idea of making a playlist verification database.
After a quick pass at a working but slow version using text files, I switched to the Unix dbm format, and created a nifty little program. If it sees a song whose proper spelling and artist attribution has already been verified, it tells me how it was verified. If it recognizes something I have listed incorrectly, it fixes it. If it hits a song it's not familiar with, it asks me if I can verify it.
Every playlist from February 18, 1996, to present has been run through this verification process. So from that point on, the listings you see should be more consistent. However, I know there are still inconsistencies that pop in from time to time, and one of these days I might get time to go back and fix them all.
The site has always been in a constant state of evolution, but has so far only gone through two major facelifts. The first happened on March 1, 1996, and was mainly a beautification project on which Annie helped me a lot by creating backgrounds and so forth. The banner was also changed from the "Dr. Demento FAQ site" to the "rec.music.dementia homepage" to signify that it contained more than just a list of frequently asked questions.
Beginning with the September 22, 1996 show, and continuing to the present, Dr. Demento has been kind enough to send me copies of the playlist each week. I was also able to photocopy a couple thousand pages worth of old playlists from his archive when I visited him on March 16, 1998.
On September 9, 1997, the powers that be at IU told me that I was making an inappropriate use of university resources by providing the playlist search engine, so it had to be removed. I kept trying to think of ways to reimplement it, including an e-mail method, but nothing worked well. Finally, on August 1, 1998, it was resurrected using a non-university account.
Also on August 1 came the second major change in the look of the homepage. This change was to make explicit the difference between this, the unofficial page, and the developing official page from the Demento Society. It also introduced many new and updated files, including all of the 1974-1977 syndicated playlists, plus special sections on some of my favorite demented artists.
The original e-mail address for the mail server was firstname.lastname@example.org and the original web address for the site was http://www.cs.indiana.edu/hyplan/jbmorris.html. These lasted until April, 1995. On April 16, the shorter URL of http://copper.ucs.indiana.edu/~jbmorris/ made its debut, along with the e-mail address of email@example.com. Then on October 1, 1997, the (even shorter) http://php.indiana.edu/~jbmorris/ came into play. Late on February 28, 1999, the e-mail address changed again to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, on January 26, 2003, the (shorter still!) URL of http://mypage.iu.edu/~jbmorris/ was first advertised, although the php URL was still valid until May. (Actually, I was told it would no longer work in May, but in fact it continued to work for years thereafter.)
Both e-mail address and site URL were changed to the domain dmdb.org as of November 26, 2006, which is where they still reside. At that point, the site was renamed from "The Dr. Is In!" to "The Demented Music Database", and the auto responding mail server was retired.
The files also used to be on the famous cs.uwp.edu FTP server (later renamed ftp.uwp.edu). I believe that started sometime in 1993 and continued through 1996 or 1997, when the server was shut down. However, from about 1995 on, I was very lazy about making updates to the FTP server, and it often contained outdated versions of the files. After the conversion of many files to HTML, I made updates even less frequently, because I would have to convert each file back to text (using lynx -dump) before FTPing it to the server.
And that pretty much brings us up to the present time. If you actually read all of this, you must be pretty darn interested in the newsgroup and this homepage! I'm glad you enjoy my site, and I hope you consider it your site as well. Please send any corrections, suggestions, contributions, etc. to me at the address listed on the homepage.