The Musical World of Rocky Horror

RockyMusic.org Site Statistics

RockyMusic.org features information for 68 albums, with 94 recordings on 109 pressings. 6 box sets are also included. These albums include 1,159 tracks, of which 330 have song lyrics available and 330 have MP3 sound files. A total of 13,256 tags have been applied using 669 distinct media tags, as well as 52 song tags and 12 language tags.

The multimedia archive currently includes 1,182 photos and 458 album images, with a total size of 893.7 MB. There are 830 MP3 sound files, 5.02 GB in size with an average bitrate of 224 kbps, lasting 2 days 6 hours 48 minutes. 477 of these have lossless FLAC equivalents available (801 kbps average bitrate), which are 10.58 GB in size. Also included are 249 videos, 4.54 GB in size and 18 hours 13 minutes in length with an average bitrate of 580 kbps. 198 of these videos have higher quality F4V or MP4 versions available (921 kbps average bitrate), which are 5.88 GB in size. Finally we have 47 text documents, 3.0 MB in size and 389,680 words long. All total, we're looking at 26.90 GB worth of Rocky Horror related archives.

About Me

Shawn McHorse as Riff Raff
Shawn McHorse

I first saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Texas A&M University (as a Freshman there) around Halloween 1991. I was sixteen at the time (and you can extrapolate my current age from that...:-). There was no shadowcast, but they did have a loud and boisterous crowd with a few individuals yelling lines and a whole LOT of Super Soakers. I couldn't really follow the movie, but I had a damn good time and went back the next evening... and again in the Spring semester. After dropping out of college and moving back home to San Antonio, I finally saw a performing cast at the Central Park Fox Theatre (now closed and demolished) in 1993.

I didn't really join the cast there per se, because I was too shy to actually talk to anyone there. But I was gradually absorbed into the cast, as people kept asking me to help out with various things and I couldn't figure out how to say no. The cast self-destructed after about a year, but just before that I met some visiting performers from the cast in Austin. So I started commuting from San Antonio to Austin, an hour and a half drive, every single weekend.

This went on from around Halloween 1994 to mid-1997. Eventually I decided that Austin really was the city for me, and actually moved here. I've been a resident ever since. I'm also still an active member of the Austin cast, Queerios, as well as their Webmaster and Treasurer. My primary performing part has always been Riff Raff. Though in recent years I've been perfectly happy to just sit on the front row, take pictures, and (more likely than not) never get around to actually posting them.

I'm a Java programmer in "real life", having worked on the online poker client used by PokerPages for the past seven years. I've been happily married to my wife Raini since April 22nd, 2006. We have not spawned as of yet...;-) Some of my other interests/obsessions include digital photography, the game of Go, hiking, martial arts, yoga, and online gaming. I have a separate web site at shawn.mchorse.com for posting various non-Rocky related photos that I take.

History Of RockyMusic.org

Old RockyMusic.org
Old RockyMusic.org

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but at some point around 1995 I started seriously collecting Rocky Horror related CDs. All of them... no matter how bad the studio cast was, how obscure the link to Rocky Horror was, or how expensive the import CD was. I scoured local music stores, went to record conventions, traveled to other cities to browse their used CD stores, and searched through the online catalog for CD Connection before they had a web site (you actually had to telnet to a dedicated server with a command line search interface). I had consciously decided to concentrate on collecting CDs (as opposed to vinyl) both because I thought it might actually be possible to find essentially all of them and because they were so much cheaper to obtain. Even then, certain Rocky Horror Show cast album LPs would sell for a couple hundred dollars between collectors... and this was before eBay became popular.

RockyMusic.org itself had its origins in the first cast web site for Austin Rocky Horror. Another cast member ("Grackle", now an APD officer) decided to put up a basic cast web site in early 1996. He gave me a login to modify the site, so I started adding other Rocky Horror related content... such as a section on Rocky related CDs. This grew and grew until I eventually decided to split it off into its own site. Thus the "Rocky Horror Related CDs" web site was born, in early 1997. It continued growing rapidly, and in December 1997 was renamed "The Musical World of Rocky Horror" (after Little Nell's single) due to the fact that I was now including vinyl albums as well as CDs. The site was hosted by whatever ISP I had at the time (Internet Direct, Eden, KDI) until finally in November 1998 I was able to move it to its very own domain name: RockyMusic.org.

I stayed very active updating the web site (which had become incredibly popular) until around May 1999, when I essentially stopped updating it at all. This was due to a number of reasons. First, I got a "real job" as a programmer. Most of the early work I'd done had been while I had crappy jobs doing telephone customer service or similar, which meant that I had little money but lots of free time. At my first programming job it was important for me to prove myself, and I ended up working many 60+ hour weeks. After that much time programming, I had little motivation to work on web sites once I got home. Second, I knew very little about web technologies while writing the site (and didn't have CGI access in any case) so therefore everything was done manually. As the site grew, there were more and more places where I would have to update the same thing when it changed. This wasn't a big deal when I had loads of free time, but became a bigger and bigger problem. Third, after I'd gone such a long time without updating the site there was a significant amount of inertia working against it happening.

I eventually realized that the only way it ever would happen would be if I completely reworked the entire site from the ground up. Which is exactly what I did, starting around August 2006. The site was re-launched on December 31st, 2006 after I decided it was "good enough" to replace what was at the old site. It's likely that I'll never again be as active as I once was at updating RockyMusic.org, due to any number of reasons including increased job and family responsibilities as well as other hobbies. But the fact that this new incarnation is so much more easily maintainable does mean that I can now make changes gradually over time without much difficulty. And I can always reorganize the way it's presented later on, as sections grow larger and larger. Take a look at the recent additions page to see what I've been up to lately. But please don't take it personally if the answer is that it's been a few months since I've done anything...:-)

Tools Of The Trade

RockyMusic.org is written entirely in custom PHP. I don't like graphical web development tools, so I just use a text editor for everything (EMACS). Some may notice the site's resemblance to Slashdot - that's because I took a snapshot of their layout and CSS then modified it for my own purposes (I hate doing layout work). The webserver is running Red Hat Linux with Apache HTTP Server and the MySQL database. Techies these days are calling this the LAMP platform. Whatever... it's what I've used for years in both personal and business web sites so I'm extremely familiar with it all.

PHOTOS AND ALBUM IMAGES: Back in "the day" I didn't own a scanner and had no way of posting album covers or anything on my own. I relied primarily on the kindness of strangers (particularly Leon Tencer in Australia) e-mailing their own scans, and was able to borrow someone else's scanner once or twice. Nowadays I use primarily an Epson Perfection V500 flatbed scanner, with slides and film cels sent out for scanning by the DigMyPics.com service (I used to have my own film and slide scanner, but it broke down and there's no real justification for replacing it). I use the LaserSoft SilverFast Ai plug-in to Adobe Photoshop, for scanning software. The scanner is calibrated against an IT8 color target, and at least 4x multi-sampling is used (8x for photo prints). The Pictographics iCorrect Professional plug-in is used for color correction on photos and certain other images. Both Photoshop Photomerge and the dedicated Panavue Image Assembler program are used to stitch together images for scans that won't fit all at once on the flatbed scanner (vinyl album covers and sleeves, calendars, programs, etc.). CyberLink PowerDVD software is used for DVD screen captures.

SOUND FILES: When I first started creating MP3s, I used BladeEnc. Unfortunately it turned out to have entirely broken code for doing CRC calculations, which caused certain MP3 players to play only silence. Nifty feature, eh? All MP3 sound files currently online were created using the LAME MP3 encoder v3.97b2 with the "--preset fast extreme" VBR option. EAC (Exact Audio Copy) was used to grab audio from CDs. And Sony Sound Forge was used on occasion to edit WAV files (splitting tracks, trimming silence, etc.).

DOCUMENTS: Many of the articles and scripts were simply taken from the Internet (particularly Usenet newsgroups), where they were posted originally. Other large documents, such as the press releases and production notes, were scanned and converted to formatted HTML text using the Abbyy FineReader OCR program in conjunction with lots of manual verification. OCR was also used to extract the liner notes and lyrics for numerous albums, as well as program notes for various Rocky Horror Show casts.

VIDEOS: Most videos were created with the Adobe CS4 Media Encoder using the H.264 codec and two-pass VBR encoding. Some older videos and many of the standard definition versions of videos were created with the Macromedia Flash 8 Video Encoder using the On2 VP6 codec with single-pass VBR encoding. DVD Decrypter and Xilisoft DVD Ripper Plantium were used to extract VOB files from DVDs and then encode them into intermediary MP4 files. Other videos were encoded from MPEG or AVI files obtained elsewhere.