“Well, who thought ANTIGRAVITY would last this long?”
—AG Founder Leo McGovern, June ’05 (issue #13)
Here we are, dear readers: issue #200, another glorious, if ultimately arbitrary milestone in our little publication’s existence. I’ll be honest with you: when the pandemic hit, I wasn’t 100% sure we’d make it this far. As my man Jim Morrison liked to sing, “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.” Never more true than these days, as disease reigns over the land and the resources keeping our precarious culture—hence magazine—afloat are being drained from what would be threadbare coffers during good times.
When these occasions come around I always like to dip back into the archives and skim through the catalogue. And like shuffling through a shoebox of memories, this most recent exercise had me reliving a lot of moments both exhilarating and embarrassing, sometimes both at once. At every inflection point of ANTIGRAVITY’s existence, those issues where we seemed to take a substantial step forward—such as our coverage of the Gray Ghost graffiti debacle of the early Aughts, or those first Jules Bentley bangers railing against Airbnbs and food trucks—I would always find myself balanced between two distinct thoughts: wow, we’ve gotten so much better over the years, but we still have a ways to go. May fortune be so kind as to grant me and the AG staff some distant point in the future, another hundred issues perhaps, where we look back at this issue and say, wow, we’ve gotten so much better over the years, but…
The mission for ANTIGRAVITY—for me anyway—has always been to treat local bands like international rock stars (and vice versa), which is why I am overjoyed to feature Micah McKee on this month’s cover and in a lengthy, sprawling interview within. ANTIGRAVITY was created exactly for artists like Micah, who may not fit the familiar mold of New Orleans culture, but make essential New Orleans art just by virtue of living and making it here. Of course, it’s laughably ironic that it took us 200 issues to get to him in proper form. It’s also crazy to think about the other scene elder featured this month, Mike IX Williams, of legendary band Eyehategod. Though their two experiences growing up and performing in New Orleans could hardly be more different, you’ll see a lot of common themes between Mike and Micah, most notably that both of them are absolutely ravenous to get back on stage and perform for friends, family, and fans alike.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that we bring you this issue, a team of dedicated, passionate editors, writers, photographers, illustrators, distro team members, transcribers, web gurus, envelope stuffers (hi Mom!), and various other support staff whose role is absolutely critical yet defies easy classification. The ANTIGRAVITY roster should be the envy of any publication, anywhere. My first piece of advice, should anyone ever ask what it might take to put out 200 issues of a publication, would simply be: never go it alone.
In the final days of putting this issue together, I was working late into the night, with the TV on in the background, per usual. The documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown happened to be on, a perpetually inspiring story and soundtrack for almost any occasion. (And for some of these late night work sessions, I now have a new buddy to keep me company for stretches of time, our little one-month-old son. As new parents are wont to do, I pointed his cherubic face at the Hitsville documentary and whispered: take in every note and word, my son. It’s all golden.) One segment of Hitsville spends a minute talking about the Motown team, and how talented and diverse it was. Commenting on the accolades he often receives for helming such a team, Motown founder Berry Gordy says something so simple and so profound that when I first heard it I stopped dead in my tracks and paused in stupefied enlightenment. So I will just leave you with his words, which I can say speak for me, the AG staff, this blessed city on a riverbank, and the entire cosmos of living beings everywhere: “It was not me, it was magic.”
Cover photo of Micah McKee at the Circle Bar, November 2019 by Adrienne Battistella