The idea of a website about DBT setlists is somewhat ironic, as most fans of the band know that they hardly ever use an actual setlist for their shows. The purpose of this site is to try to compile and keep track of as many of these spontaneous setlists as possible.
I first heard about the Drive-By Truckers on the Uncle Tupelo-related "Postcard From Hell" listserv, most likely around the time of the release of Gangstabilly. I didn't actually check them out until the next year, when Jim Stacy's incredible cover art drew my attention to a used copy of Pizza Deliverance. The first couple of songs didn't grab me at first, most likely because I wasn't really paying attention, but I was hooked once I heard these lines from “One Of These Days”:
“Once a country boy has seen the way
steam rises off a man's insides on the sidewalk--
tends to change the way he thinks, the way he sees everything
when he goes back to where he came from.”
As I was working in the tech field at the time, I immediately started thinking of ways to combine my passion for DBT with technology. I came up with the idea of a searchable setlist site a year or two later, when I realized that I had already collected 250+ shows. Being overly anal about accuracy, I was only going to post setlists for shows of which I had a copy. I hoped having the site would result in getting copies of more shows, as we were not yet in the era of easily downloadable shows -- all of the shows I had were obtained as a "B&P" with other DBT fans, either directly, or as part of a "vine."
I tinkered with ideas for the site for a year or two, but since I wasn't a programmer, I couldn't get very far. One February (not sure of the year), a coworker and I spent most of our work time huddled over my notes and her code until we came up with a functioning, searchable database. The original design wasn't much to look at, but it worked, and that was all that mattered to me.
I contacted some other DBTers through 9bullets and asked them to check it out, and they gave me the thumbs up, although Matt Rankin, who started 9b, told me that just including the recorded shows I owned was too limiting. I then spent months combing through every post on his site, every message ever posted on the DBT Yahoo email list, and an online archive of Flagpole magazines, and came up with several hundred more setlists to add to the site. At that point, I contacted Jenn to have her run it by the band to make sure it was OK with them. Patterson signed off, and the site went live in July of 2006.
As mentioned above, the site originally only listed shows for which I have a copy and could verify the setlist. Since there are close to a thousand shows where no recorded copy exists, this would have severely limited the value of the information on the site. So I started listing any shows I could find. If you see a show that only has a date and place, it just means I can't find any information about what songs the band played. Of course, I'd love for this site to be comprehensive, so if you see that a performance is missing for which you have a recording or any other information, please feel free to send it to me. I promise it will be posted to the database as quickly as possible.
This site simply would not work without the help of my good friend, Nicole Harris. She spent many hours helping me parse out code, explaining how things worked, and showing me where I was going wrong. I didn't (and probably still don't) even know enough about php and mySQL to be dangerous, and Nicole has been a lifesaver in making things work.
Over the years, numerous people have helped me out with advice, information, and encouragement. I'm sorry I can't thank them all by name, but I have definitely appreciated it all.
Everything about this site was done on a Mac. I use BBEdit for coding, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for graphics, and Transmit to FTP the files. When I have to work with the database, I'm forced to use phpMyAdmin.