By Anthony Galliano
Instead of a shoebox crammed with ticket stubs and setlists, coasters and flyers, Nick Stock started a blog. This was after moving to Colorado in 2006 and discovering the live music scene here. Nick’s shoebox, the kind of shoebox every music fan has, was filling up with mementos from concerts. But it wasn’t enough. “I could pull up a ticket stub and kind of remember that show,” he says. He wanted more, the kind of memento that would be referential, something to vividly evoke the experience of each show. So he started journaling, a new memento that become his blog, Phat Phlog.
Nick first decided he would live in Colorado after visiting during college. Besides his love for music, though, there wasn’t much of a plan beyond that. And for someone who is a firm believer in the total randomness of everything, that was okay. Most of his life has been this way. Nick cites college as a prime example. At the University of Iowa, he was an open major. He thought about majoring in theatre during his freshmen year, but after breaking down in sobs on stage while performing a soliloquy from Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone,” what he describes as “a dream dying right in front of you,” Nick chose not to. Then one day, randomly, a friend told him about majoring in film studies. And Nick said, “God, that sounds easy. That sounds so easy. Let’s do that.” And they did.
After graduating with a B.A. in film studies and a minor in English, Nick moved to Chicago and worked in video production, learning the ropes of the industry. He moved to Colorado a year later. Nick was working at Elastic Lab, the digital studio located in Denver, exploring different types of content creation, when blogging occurred to him. He loved going to concerts since seeing Phish in college, and his goal with Phat Phlog was to share the experience of live shows with readers. As he puts it, “To cover shows for the people who couldn’t go.” Over time, Nick contributed to a number of music publications including Scene, and Phat Phlog became a voluminous archive, hundreds of posts and pictures of his life’s work.
His love of music also brought him to the Summer Camp Music Festival, the annual event held at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois. Nick went to the first festival in 2001, headlined by his favorite band moe., and each following festival until moving to Colorado. “I really thought that when I moved to Colorado I was saying goodbye to this music festival that I love,” he says. But when a contest was held in search of the first-ever Summer Camp Counselors—people who could help run the festival and produce promotional content—Nick was selected. During his first year as a counselor in 2011, Nick introduced moe. to a crowd of 15,000. And afterward, he was regaled with a private acoustic set outside his tent by moe. and half of Cornmeal before the musicians “disappeared in golf carts into the night.”
Nick was at the Fillmore Auditorium for another moe. show when he met his wife. There he was, just having a smoke outside, when he spotted “this beautiful woman across the way in her patchwork skirt and hippie ponytail.” Nick followed her back into the auditorium, knowing he had to say something but not knowing what. When the show ended and the lights came on, she started walking out. So Nick stopped her, still not knowing what to say. Oh, he wanted it to be something good. Something nice like—he couldn’t in good conscience let her walk away without saying hello. Nick was pretty buzzed, though, and what came out was some sort of garbled, messy, embarrassing gibberish.
But it worked out. They went to concerts, lots of concerts. And a few years later they were married at the Aggie Theatre. Euforquestra played their wedding. “We always wanted to have a concert for our wedding, and we did,” Nick says. They’ve been married for six years, and their son just turned three.
Nick likes to say, “You’ll never be disappointed about spending money on concert tickets or going to music festivals.” He also says, “Most of what I’ve done in my life can be blamed on music.” After all, he’s written more than 800 blog posts about music. He introduced moe. to thousands and thousands of people. He met his wife at a concert. He got married at a concert. Okay, maybe life’s not all so random.