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Flyer Flashback

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To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

It's Halloween, the season when we free our inner ghouls. But when Flyer contributor Matt Hanks wrote about a similar phenomenon in October 1997, pagan traditions had nothing to do with it.

In an article titled "Rave On," Hanks took a sympathetic look at rave culture in Memphis. Remember raves? They were those massive parties where youngsters would swallow Ecstasy, suck on pacifiers, dance their asses off, and jabber on about peace and love. Between the psychoactive chemicals and all that happy talk, it came as no surprise that in the early 1990s, rave kids were described as "the new hippies." Jeremy Lowrance, the rave promotor and subject of Hanks' story, had moved to Memphis in search of a "more supportive, more self-contained environment" after an Illinois TV station ran an exposé showing an undercover reporter buying cocaine at one of his dance parties.

"Everyone thought it would be a 'Local Kids Find Non-Alcoholic Alternative' type of piece," Lowrance said of his life-changing brush with the media. "But I knew their intentions weren't good. I could smell it like a fart in a car."

Hanks caught up with Lowrance at a party where everything was going wrong. The generators had failed, and the abandoned building on Brooks Road had gone pitch-black except for one lone strobe light.

Lowrance's party went on in spite of the technical difficulties, and rave culture lasted in Memphis through the turn of the century. But with zombies as popular as they are, maybe we'll see some undead ravers out trick-or-treating this weekend. — Chris Davis

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