"A short and inaccurate biography of Steve Macdonald"
by Daniel Glasser(2001)
When I was asked to write this biographical note about Steve Macdonald, I was honored.
I came up with all sorts of interesting and amusing things to say about this man who has been a major player in the world of filk for many, many years. I was going to wax poetic about the fact that he's won some ungodly number (4, to be exact) of Pegasus awards for his song writing and his performance of those songs. There was going to be a huge section dedicated to his excellent guitar work and singing. I was going to list his tapes and CDs (Songspinner, Journey's Done, Reap the Wind), and his upcoming and ongoing projects (Crossroads, Follow the Moon Home). I was going to talk about the songs he's written that are on other CDs, such as Shai (with Steve Simmons), and Lay Your Head (which appears on a soon to be released CD on Dodeka). A list of the conventions that he's been GOH or special guest at (ConChord (twice!), FKO, OVFF, Conamazoo, ConGenial, Windycon, TorontoTrek, SerenetyCon, Contata, Name That Con, Grow Closer, Consonance, and Marcon) was to follow. I was going to give some insight into his ambitious WorlDream project, and how he's attending every Filk con in the world in the year 2001. I was going to point you at his website for more details. You were going to read about his fine children (Luke, Renee, Josh), and what kind of father he is (good) to them. There was to be a litany of his prominent friends. I was also going to talk about how he's been a friend of mine for over 5 years, and how he and I ran the filk programming at Confusion for 5 years.
That's what I was going to write. But I didn't. Instead, I wrote the following:
Steve Macdonald has been a guest at many a convention. Many capsule biographies have been written that contain accurate and insightful information about this fine songwriter, performer, and friend.
This is not one of those.
Steve Macdonald's origins are obscure. The rumor is that he was born in a small village in Southern Michigan named Kalamazoo (which is a Huron word meaning "Kalamazoo") sometime around 1961. Little is known of his childhood, other than the rumours of his participation in the overthrow of Juan Peron in Argentina and his role in the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s as the shadowy figure referred to "Deep Throat". His education at Western Michigan University is also cloaked in mystery. The FBI will even not admit to having records of his activities there, even under Freedom of Information Act requests.
I first met Steve in the rain forests of the Chicago River basin in Febuary, 1996. He had come to the tiny village of Capricon, supposedly to "entertain" the natives. What he was actually doing, I found out later, was passing out free samples of this drug-like substance called "Filk". This substance is highly addictive and once a victim is hooked, they crave more and more, and in many cases, start to produce their own. Filk abusers cannot get a "fix" from their own production, but must seek out others and trade, barter, buy, or steal, the material. You can tell the advanced Filk addict by their glassy-eyed expression around 6AM as they're headed for bed.
I next encountered Steve a month or two later in the deserts of Southern Michigan where he was working for "the company" through one of its front organizations. The fact that Mary Ellen Wessels (code name: MEW) and Carol Flynt (code name: Bookie) worked in the same office made it clear that I'd found an enclave of Filk pushers. I decided that it was up to me to protect the world from this infamy, so I got myself appointed to a position where I could observe this man on a regular basis. Under the guise of being his assistant in his role as head of the Filk track at ConFusion (a Detroit area SF convention held in January), I observed his methods.
That summer, he invited me to join him in what he called, innocently enough, a "House Sing". When I arrived, I discovered that it was a gathering of Filk pushers and addicts, collectively called "Filkers". In this Opium Den like atmosphere, Filk was traded and abused, sometimes to the point of the sharing of instruments without sterilization. Although I tried to avoid direct involvement, I found myself becoming influenced by the second-hand Filk, and by the end of the night, I, too, was a Filker.
To Steve, I soon discovered, Filk pushing is not a business, it's a way of life. Not only does he get complete strangers, acquaintences, and friends involved, he has also gotten his (now ex-)wife and children addicted, and they're now Filkers too. This should have been a warning to me, but I was already in too deep.
Over the intervening years, I have observed, and sometimes even assisted, Steve in spreading Filk among the unsuspecting masses. But now there's a new twist which has reminded me of my duty to mankind: I must expose this, the world must be warned!
Steve, not satisfied with how quickly Filk is spreading, has now embarked on a project to subjugate the world. He theorizes that if he can get all the filkers in the world to sing the same song he and his "masters" will ascend to world domination. He calls the effort WorlDream, which is short for "World Domination Requires Every Able Mouth". At Orycon, he may offer to sell you a WorlDream t-shirt to help finance his crusade -- he may even try to get you to sing this with him. Tread carefully lest you fall into his trap, as over has already happened to over 200 other (now) lost souls at GaFilk, ConThirteena, Consonance, FilKONtario 11, and Conterpiont 4.
I tell you this story as a cautionary tale. It's too late for me (I even married a woman who was already an addict), but perhaps through its telling, it will save others from the depravity of the filk room.
I leave you with the following warning: If you encounter Steve Macdonald at Orycon, plug your ears, close your eyes, and back away quickly. Don't listen to him, don't ask him about his project to rewrite the entire rock opera "Tommy" into "Harry". Don't buy a WorlDream T-shirt or any of his tapes or CDs. And for the sake of your soul, don't sing along! (Unless you want to, that is.)