2010. október 22., péntek

Fanzine History - Metal Mania and Metal Rendezvous

Legendary photogapher William Hale talked about both fanzines.

So Bill, when and how did you get in touch with Metal music? What made this kind of sound so attractive for you?
Hum, great start Leslie.. I have always been into music, since birth… My Dad always had music on all the time. When I got older and could change the radio station, it was ROCK & ROLL!!! At age six I heard Jimi, Janis, The Doors, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Deep Purple's Hush was a biggie… As a teenager in the mid 70's it was Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, UFO, Status Quo, Aerosmith, BTO, Slade, Sweet, of course, T.Rex, Kiss, Nazareth, a new band called AC/DC… A little bit later some punk slipped in.. The Pistols, The Clash, Nine nine nine,you know that sort… 78-79 brought Lovedrive by Scorpions and Overkill by Motorhead!!! Now these two albums changed EVERYTHING!!! Loverdrive gave all the European bands like Accept, Halloween, Gamma Ray something to shoot for as did Overkill and then Bomber gave the English bands… So naturally all the N.W.O.B.H.M. was to follow and boy did we all jump on that!!!
For how long have you been involved in metal?
That all depends what You call "Metal"… For me "Metal" was some Jimi, some Stepping Wolf, some Cream, some BOC, Purple, Budgie… There was a group in 1975 lead by ex Yardbirds singer Keith Ralph. The band was Armageddon and they where HEAVY!!! But in covering the scene… for the start of the "New Breed" that would be 1980 when MGS played the Oakland Civic center… All that were going to be a major player in the Bay Area scene was at that gig!!! That's the night I met Gary Holt, Paul Baloff, Mike Borden, Dave Starr, Mike Coons and so many others including Cliff Burton!!!
What were the first songs, records, shows etc. that had the biggest effect on you and you decided dedicating your life for the metal scene?
I really think that I was born into this! Just about everything I did leading up to me documenting the Bay Area Scene… As for prime moments… It starts with Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix version. I must have been six and heard it on an Am station called "KMBY" in Monterey's Cannery Row… Fast forward to 1979 and Judas Priest - Unleashed in theEast. Gillan - Mr. Universe, Riot - Narita, Electric Sun - Earthquake… 1980 and Budgie - Power Supply, Saxon - Wheels of Steel, the 1st Iron Maiden album!!! Motorhead - Bomber...and all that Neat Records stuff!!!
You were born and growing up in the Bay Area, do you still remember, how did the whole Bay Area metal scene start and develope step by step? How about the early footsteps of the Bay Area scene, with bands such as Metal Church, Anvil Chorus, Blind Illusion, Sinister Savage, Exodus etc.?
You really have to understand that the Bay Area has ALWAYS been a hot bed of bands… The 60's and the 70's bands paved the way for the 80's bands!!! All the clubs were already in place… The promoters like Bill Graham and Bobby Corona (the Stone) were already in place.. And the Bay Area fans were already there as were the older Rock writers, who gave the newer bands press…So it was a matter of time… All the "Metal" bands had a place to gig and fans.. so is was not like "BANG" one day all this stuff just appeared out of thin air...
When it comes to Bay Area metal, Ron Quintana and Ian Kallen are one of the founding fathers, how do you view it? Does it also mean, that they were big catalysators of what later was becoming the famous Bay Area scene?
Ron flew the "flag" but was not the leader… The scene has many "players" and all have there place… The club bookers had a ton of stuff to do with all this… If they don't book your band then… and the independent record store owners who took a chance on stocking the import vinyl which fueled the fire had a ton of stuff to do with the scene… Jeff Weller, the managers of Laaz Rockit, had a big impact… Jeff brought Metal Bands from LA to San Francisco… Mike Varney (Shrapnel Records) had a ton of influence… Metal Mania did not cover a lot of the Bay Area shows… Ron was partial to Motorhead, The Scorpions, Yngwie and Anvil Chorus..
Ron is the man, the myth, the legend, have supported the Bay area metal scene since 1981 when he founded a renegade radio show called Rampage Radio, he was the first Bay Area metal DJ to promote underground bands through his radio show on KUSF and as the editor of the Metal Mania fanzine, how did the whole Metal Mania and KUSF start exactly?
A couple of key points about KUSF… KUSF is the University of San Francisco radio station, it started in 1961… When Ron started there You could only get the signal if you were in a 5 to 10 block radius… It looks cool on paper… but a lot of "young college" people started to play "Metal"... Stred co hosted a radio program in Monterey and there was few others…
Was the whole metal scene in its infancy at this point?
Yeah, this could be said…
Do you agree with, that it wasn’t anything until Metallica’s relocation to the East Bay Area? I mean, did the scene start and get bigger after Metallica relocate to the Bay Area?
Ha, there will be a ton of bands after You for that Statement!!! The scene was why Metallica moved from LA… The Bay area was in full metal swing when Lars and James moved in!!! There were so many metal bands!! not just Thrash… please remember Metallica were "Speed Metal" until Xavier Russell coined the phrase "Thrash Metal"… Vicious Rumors, Steele, Griffin, Hexx, Winterhawk, Brocas Helm, Trauma, Overdrive, Laaz Rockit, Tyrant even Death Angel had started…
So, they seemed to be very influential for the whole scene, right?
Metallica only played five official gigs before they left for New York and three of those show where when they were still based in LA… In all truth.. Lemmy had a bigger impact on all of Us, even Metallica!!! But most of the bigger bands were already formed and gigging...
You became the photographer of Metal Mania, how and when did you join them? Did you also do interview, write reviews and stuff?
I was trying to get my mag off the ground and Ron would ask for pics… since MRV was not out yet I gave him some photos in hopes by doing that I would get interest for my mag...
Did the staff consist of Ron, Ian and you or were there other members too?
Yes Metal Mania was Ron and a gang of correspondents and pen pals… Lots of young writers had articles in MM… Bob Naldandian wrote the 1st Metallica piece, Bernard Doe, K.J. Doughton, Harald O, Brain Lew (Whiplash) and Tim Kort just to name a few…
Do you still remember, how did you get acquainted with each other? Did you have a common musical interest and taste?
Yeah Ron was just like John Strednansky (Chief Editor Metal Rendez-vous Int.) and I… We all were "Up" on the rock scene world wide!!! We hung out at all of the same clubs and dug all of the same bands, and yes we are the same age... I think that Ron and I are a month apart!!!
One of Ron’s more notable moment in metal history is when he asked a not-so-famous friend of his, Lars Ulrich, to help him pick a name for his new fanzine, Lars looked the list over, spied the name Metallica and told Ron to call the fanzine Metal Mania, is that correct?
Yeppa that's about how that story went… Funny, I do not know if Lars and Quintana knew about the book "Encyclopedia Metallica" which predates this event by a year or so…
Were you aware of, that by the mid-1960s, several fans active in science fiction and comics fandom recognized a shared interest in rock music, and the rock fanzines were born and Paul Williams and Greg Shaw were two such SF-fans turned rock zine editors?
Hum… no I did not???
Are Williams’ „Crawdaddy!” (1966) and Shaw’s two California-based zines, „Mojo Navigator” (full title, „Mojo-Navigator Rock and Roll News”) (1966) and „Who Put the Bomp?” (1970) among the most important early rock fanzines? Did you know these fanzines at all?
I never read these but was somewhat aware of them… We or at least I was really into Joel Selvin the music editor of the San Francisco Chronicle… He covered the Bay Area scene forever!!! But mainly we were into the British press.. Mick Wall, Malcolm Dome, Paul Suter and the MIGHTY Geoff Barton!!!
Did you know, that „Crawdaddy!” quickly moved from its fanzine roots to become one of the first rock music „prozines” with paid advertisers and newsstand distribution, while „Bomp” remained a fanzine, featuring many writers who would later become prominent music journalists, including Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Ken Barnes, Ed Ward, Dave Marsh, Mike Saunders and R. Meltzer?
No I did not… But this goes to show that You have to start somewhere!!!
Bomp was not alone; an August 1970 issue of Rolling Stone included an article about the explosion of rock fanzines: other rock fanzines of this period include „Flash” 1972, edited by Mark Shipper, „Eurock Magazine” (1973-1993) edited by Archie Patterson and Bam Balam, written and published by Brian Hogg in East Lothian, Scotland, beginning in 1974, and in the mid-1970s, Back Door Man and denim delinquent, so would you name it the start and the turning point of the underground scene?
For Stred and I, we started MRV because no US mainstream mag was keeping up with what the English press was doing!!! When we got MRV off the ground it was to cover all the bands that we were into and not what "Corporate America" was paying for… (Side note to history… Metal Rendez-vous was up to 100,000 issues… Metal Hammer, today is only 50,000 and Metal Mania never did those numbers…)
Metallica went on to become a household name and Metal Mania became a staple in the underground, introducing metal fans to unsigned bands across the country, as well as exposing them to a large dose of punk, hardcore, and New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, does it mean, that Metal Mania became the very first heavy metal fanzine in the States?
Well, Leslie, Brian Slagel had the 1st fanzine. It was called the New Heavy Metal Review and I think this was 1980… BUT it was really Sounds and Kerrang that made a bigger impact!!!
The early Bay Area bands (including Metallica too) were highly influenced by the NWOBHM, that started at the late ’70s/early ’80s, were you aware of the existence of that scene? From where did you get informations, news etc. about what’s going on in Europe?
YES!!! WE ALL LOVED THE N.W.O.B.H.M.!!! Sounds, and to a leaser extent, NME and Melody Maker brought it all to Us!!!Then of course Kerrang Topped them all!!!
You mentioned above, that a gang of correspondents and pen pals including Bernard Doe wrote for MM, is he the guy, who established Metal Forces later on?
Yeah, one and the same... lots of pen pals became major writers in their own right...
Was it easy for you guys to get the new Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Motörhead etc. records or tapes? Were all of you fans of that legendary NWOBHM movement?
Yes, Leslie, The NWOBHM was HUGE for Us... We all scoured all the record stores for all the latest imports... Ron even worked at The Record Vault at one point...
At this point in Germany started a big metal boom as well, with acts, such as Accept, Scorpions, Grave Digger, Stormwitch, Steeler etc., were you familiar with the bands too?
Yes. The Scorpions were the first... Stred was in to them way back in the mid 70's... But we were into the other 70's German bands like Lucifer's Friend, Night Sun, Epitaph, Guru Guru, Birth Control and Jane... Then came Accept. Warlock, Holy Moses and the others...
How do you view, that along with Tampa, Florida, New York and Los Angeles the Bay Area scene was widely attributed as a starting point of American thrash metal?
San Francisco had the club scene already and it was a very large one... That's why the Bay Area ruled... The Clubs were there and great clubs they were!!!
Do you agree with, that as different thrash metal scenes began to develop starting around the early/mid-80's each had their own distinct sound that differentiated the bands from other bands on the scene?
Yeah, it's a geo-political, sociological aspect of life... Bands need some thing to sing about... Guitar tones come from the street... If you live in a house with a basement... Bands seemed to be more complex... If a band lives in the inter city, they tend to be more raw and "punkish"... Anthrax, Overkill and Hades all have that NYC punk edge, as the early Metallica and Megadeth were more complex...
The scene’s earliest bands like Exodus, Metallica, perhaps best examplified the early straight up NWOBHM meets punk style of the scene and albums that very much highlighted this era of Bay Area thrash included Metallica’s „Kill Em All” and Exodus’s „Bonded By Blood”, right?
Well, they were not the 1st bands, per se… Bands like Steel, Laas Rockit and Vicious Rumors had it going on way before... Please remember that Metallica had all, but two, songs written in LA before they moved and Exodus' 1st album came out late in 85... The Bay area was pumping way before then...
Would you say, that Slayer’s „Show no mercy” had also a very important effect on the developing of the American thrash scene?
I would say Riot's "Fire Down Under"... First because it came out in 1981 and the controversy around the album... secondly everyone got it and played it to death... It may not be "THRASH" by definition, but very very influential.. Just play the title track!!! Slayer was big, but there were others...
In your opinion, were there any borders between the styles (black, thrash, death etc.) back in the day or was it a common underground scene? Would you say, that the rise of the extreme metal began with acts, such as Mantas/Death, Massacre, Possessed, Slaughter, Death Strike/Master etc.?
The whole thing was great, until it got to be a parody of it self...
Were you familiar with fanzines such as Decibel Of Death, Kick Ass Monthly, Violent Noize, Blackthorn etc.? Were there any fanzines there were a kind of examples for you how has a fanzine to do? I mean, which fanzines have had the biggest influence, effect on you? Which papers did you know or like back then?
I knew of a few,BUT it was Sounds, NME and the Melody Maker that did it for us... I think that the "Major Rock mags here did more for us in what they would not print... This made all of us work harder to cover "Our Music"... My mag Metal Rendezvous came out just after Ron's 1st issue..
Did you have enough material for each issues? Were there any materials that left out?
Yes, there were a ton of bands... and No, I do not recall the bands that we did not cover.. way too many years have gone by..
What were the criterias for choosing the bands to feature in Metal Mania?
Any band that rocked!!!
Were you concentrating on supporting the underground scene?
Yes... But you had to balance the coverage...
Did you often get demos and rehearsals from underground groups?
ALL THE TIME!!! and from all around the world...
Were you aware of the newer bands via flyers or…?
Yeah, bands would give ya flyers all of the time… and demo tapes and free tickets to their gigs...
How did you do the issues of the fanzines and how much did take to do each issues?
We'd get together and just start hashing out the layouts... I would size all my pix and Stred started to type away...
Did you do the issues with typewriter? What about the production of the fanzines as a whole?
We learned as we went along and made it up when we could...
What were the early issues like and how were the responses to them? How many copies did you print and was it hard to get rid of them?
The 1st issue was xeroxed at a print shop... I photocopied the next few at my Moms office and finally we were professionally off set printed!
Did you also try to get in touch with labels as well? Do you still remember what were the labels that you got in touch with?
Yeppa, out of all of the "fanzines" We got to be the Major Labels' favorite!!! We really did our best to be professional...
Did they start sending you promos? On what kind of format did you get the advance or promotional stuffs?
Yeppa, our mail box was stuffed full of promos...
How many copies of all these single issues were sold at all? How many copies are/were printed from each issue?
I think issue #1 was a run of 50... Our last few issues ran 100,000 copies world wide!!!
What do the issues cost back then? Did you also change, trade with other fanzine editors?
$1.50 for the 1st ones and $2.00 or $3.00 at the end... here is a link to a Facebook Gallery I have set up for some of the covers.
How did you distribute, spread the fanzines? Were you in connection with penbangers from all over the world?
Yeah, Pen pals and record shops...
What about the promotion of Metal Mania back then? How and how much promotion did you make for Metal Mania? I mean, did you sell it alone or was it available at shows, record stores etc.?
Not much promo going on… I think Ron really did not get into that "Sales Man" vibe. But at MRV we did a lot of cross promotions with Bands and record labels… Stred was king of all that!
Did you send from the paper to those bands, which were interviewed in the fanzine?
We tried to send all of the bands copies but fell short… So, sorry guys!
As for the ’80s, both the tape trading scene and running fanzines were very popular, they were at their peak those times, would say, that running fanzines was a chain reaction back then? I mean, the editors draw inspiration from each other or…?
Not really… Stred and I just wanted to put out the best metal mag ever!!! We had our own style but I saw a lot of copy cats out there… but none of them lasted long...
Was a competition between the fanzines editors or was a unity among them? With which fanzine editors were you in touch back then? Which fanzine was the best back in the day in your opinion?
Not really… At MRV we were way too bizzy and I could say the same of Ron… We were like the 1st…
Do you think that fanzines played, play and will play an important role in the Metal scene? How can mags/’zines support the career of bands?
Yeah back then before the internet… Print was king!!! Now I really have not seen the internet "Break" a band yet… But, it helps some bands along the way.
As fanzines were produced in ever greater volumes and developed into new areas of subject matter, a form of culture also developed around them, a "fanzine scene" is referred to by zine producers, do you agree with it?
I really don't know how to answer that one… I was way too busy to step back and look at what we did… I went to a gig, shot the band backstage, shot some live pix and then hang out after… then drive back to Monterey get some sleep and processes the film and make some test prints and head down to the office and layout meetings… Then get back to my darkroom and make master prints to send off to the printers… We never really looked at this as anything else but getting the Metal news out...
What do you think about, that a major problem that fanzines have is their seclusion and isolation away from the general public?
No, the major problem with most 'zines were that they were run by people that did not know what they were doing and did not know METAL… MRV lasted of ten years or so and was up to 100,000 issues!!!
Back to a little bit to Bay Area, the scene started changing in the mid ’80s, more and more thrash bands appeared, but Possessed would bring a turning point to the genre with 1985’s „Seven Churches” regarded as the first album to cross over from thrash metal to death metal for the largely "growling vocals" and subject matter dealing with horror and the occult, how do you explain this?
Don't know about that… You should ask Tom from Slayer that…. Slayer was 1st and all the rest were incomparable!
As I mentioned above, around the mid-80's the sound of the scene changed considerably; virtuosic musicianship (particularly lead guitars) had become a defining characteristic of the scene, correct?
Don't know about that either… Yngwie has always been Yngwie as well as Mustiane being Mustaine so I would say Metal always was about great playing...
The second wave of bands coming out of the scene, led by Testament, Death Angel, Forbidden, and Heathen, played a style of thrash considerably different from their predecessors; this new brand of thrash featured longer and more harmonically and rhythmically complex songs, with often neo-classical styled dual lead guitar playing highlighting the album…
Heathen had Doug from Anvil Chours, that band was all about dual guitars… The Bay area was really all about great playing… Vicious Rumors and Laaz Rockit were main stays…They set the "pace" as much as Exodus and Metallica…
Would you say, that the songs also borrowed more from NWOBHM vocals and melodies?
Any Diamond Head tunes… But Motorhead was and still is the band that set the bar for all to aim for… Cheers Lemmy!!!

A progressive rock influence became apparent for the first time in the genre and the punk influence that was once crucial to the genre was now almost completely absent and this sound, highlighted by albums like Testament’s „The Legacy” and Death Angel’s „The Ultra-Violence”, both released in 1987, was the style that many would associate with the classic Bay Area sound, what are your views on it?
If Cliff was still here he would have something to say about that… The 2nd Metallica album was all that, but the bay area had bands like Griffin and Dammaj that were playing that way long before those bands… Funny, how some bands stay and others fade…
This is often attributed to the fact that guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani lived in the Bay Area and often instructed a number of guitarists who would go on to play in some of these bands (some of these guitarists would include Exodus’s Rick Hunolt, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett), do you agree with that statement? Did Such really a help a lot those guitarists becoming better and more professional?
WOW… Don't say that to Mike Varney… His U.S. Metal lp's did way more than Joe did!
So Bill, how long did you work for Metal Mania? How would you sum up the years that you sent by Metal Mania?
Not long… But, I always there for Ron when he needed some pix
What made you to join Metal Rendezvous? Did you part ways on a friendly term at the end? Did you remain in touch with Ron and Ian after you left Metal Mania?
MRV was started by John Strednansky and myself… Ron got MM out 1st but Stred and I took a little longer to find our design… I still talk to Ron, email mostly, due to the fact that I now live in Hawaii… We did a podcast last year and Ron wrote a cool bit for my Metallica photo book…
After twenty years on the air and through myriad fanzines, Ron continues to promote the local metal scene and introduce new music to his legions of fans. It means, he is still enthusiastic, metal is his passion and metal runs in his veins, right?
Ron has more of a wide taste now a days… But he still is Ron… God bless him for that!!!
To which extent were you familiar with Metal Rendezvous? Did they already exist at this point or was it a really new mag/’zine?
No, we started out as a fanzine and grew up… Stred and I saw a place for a great US Metal mag.. We were big with all the record labels so we needed to be more professional, but we still ROCKED!!!
They were based in California, correct?
Monterey, the same place that Jimi and The Who made there US debuts...
As for the musical taste of this paper, did they specialize in thrash metal or simply in metal in general?
What about the staff of MR? Did you become photographer like by Metal Mania?
Well, I was one of the founders. Stred wrote and I snapped away… Come to think about it John and I were the only writer & photog team out there...
How many issues were released from MR during the years? How would you describe each issues? How often was MR released?
We lasted 10 years and at 1st our output was not that great but after 87 we were like every 2 months...
Did it succeed for the mag in doing a name for themselves or influencing other ’zine writers? I mean, do you consider an influential and successful mag?
We wanted to write about the bands we liked! If other writers like it that was cool, but we really were there to push the music.. The funny thing was, that a lot of big mags did stories on MRV… From Rolling Stone, Kerrang and even High Times all wrote stories on MRV… So to answer that question yes, but I really did not care. We were there for the MUSIC!!!
When and why did stop MR its activities? Did you relocate to Honolulu Hawaii, after MR was off?
Stred and I put MRV to "sleep" in December 1989… I was living in LA and was just tired… Really, for the last ten years I photographed bands up and down California. If not the rest of the US… I WAS WIPED OUT… I was the one who had to go out and deal with bands… Hell, most of the writers just picked up the phone… I had to be there in the clubs…I slept for two years before I started to hang out again… I moved here, to Hawaii, almost ten years ago and I still work with bands… The main one is Henry Kapono. Henry put out a cd called "The Wild Hawaiian" just think if Jimi Hendrix grew up hawaiian and that's what you got!!!
Since you are in the scene since 1979, how much did change the music industry compared to the late ’70s/early ’80s? What do you think about the present metal scene as a whole? What are the bands that you prefer or often listen to these days?
The whole monster has changed!!! That's a good thing, record labels got greedy! Fat and Greedy… They charged far to much for cds when they cost less to make… I could go on but why… Now bands, if they smart and know how to take advantage of the "Steve Jobs" revolution can do it all them selves.. Really, bands should know the BIZ, all the ins and outs. Recording, legal, marketing and promotion… their are so many outlets to get your music out to the fans… Bands who do the leg work will be the next stars.. BUT remember it is a business and needs to be treated as such!!!
Are you for or against the file-sharing and mp3 things?
Let me put it this way… I always put a © on all my pix that I put up on the net… So if people want to use them you will see my copyright. I do not mind if someone reposts my work as I know others will see my name on them.. If someone takes the extra time to photoshop my name off.. they have way too much time on their hands...
What are your future plans?
To get out my next photo book.. Megadeth: Another Time - A Different Place... I'm in talks right now…
Please name your first ten all time classics! Please add your comments to them!
WOW!!! that's so hard to do but here it goes…
Scorpoins - Loverdrive
This album ushered in a big change in metal… recorded and released in 1979 great guitars, great production just listen to this over headphones and let the brothers Schenker make you a believer!!!

Motorhead - Ace of Spades
Lemmy and company where on a roll with Overkill and Bomber, this would be the crowning maters piece that would bring America to it's "Motor-Headbangers" to their feet and rise their "Iron Fist"!!!

UFO - Strangers in the night
I'm going with the live album because it contains all UFO's cool track up to than… Schenker or Paul Chapman.. who knows and who cares this just cooks up some great guitar licks!!!

Gillan - Mr. Universe
Yeah over Deep Purple!!! Ya'll need to go find this record!!! Ian really pulled this out from his heavy roots… The right place and the right time…
Mr. Universe just rules!!!

Deep Purple - Made in Japan
Purple is my favorite band!!! It's hard to pick out just one album for a group that has had some many line up changes… But Made in Japan is a great sound live effort that show cases Ritchie's Guitars and Ian's voices!!!
Highway star anyone????

Riot - Fire Down Under
This is America's first true Metal album!!! Mark Reale and the band went through hell to get this released as Capitol records said that this was too heavy… Capital's loss and Our gain!!!

Holocaust - The Nightcomers
Yeah over Maiden, Angel Witch and Saxon… This record really captures the feel of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal!! Yeah go out and find it and you will see what and talking about!!!

Metallica - Masters of Puppets
Cliff finest hour… RIP Buddy!!!

Megadeth - Killing is my business
One word "Rattlehead" =)

Y&T - Earthshaker
The Band Area's big brothers of hard Rock!!! When Dave and crew signed a new deal with A&M records their 1st record was Earthshaker and the Rock world was never the same… Almost every California based band opened for Y&T… Van Halen, Motely and yes even Metallica...

Bill, thanks a lot for the interview, any closing words for my readers?
And thank you for the time and cheers for help keeping the Metal flame burning!!! If You dig this type of music, go out and support it, Buy the cds, go to the gigs, find new bands the rule and help push them… Metal is a true fan driven music!!! It's up to all of us to help keep metal in the forefront.
Cheers and Aloha =)

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