John Harju

Don’t be deceived, the title of this article isn’t in regard to some flawed eschatological ideal that propagates personal thought as facts.  I’ve lived through so many predicted “ends of the world” that the title was more a matter of my own amusement than anything.  As you can tell, this preamble is rambling, and I have yet to introduce the actual subject of this little communication.  Part of me feels like if I can delay it by even finite amounts, the cosmic governor will call and grant clemency to this and it doesn’t need to happen…. but again, that is me bringing levity to an uncomfortable situation.

Recently, it has been mentioned (but not quite announced) that Primitive Rhythm Machine will be ending with its next episode.  This is a fact.  PRM is ending… well… has ended.  Several people have asked me why it is ending and that is ultimately why I chose to write this article.  I wanted to fill in the gaps for people so there wouldn’t be rumors, allegations, or things left unsaid (kudos if you got the reference). The episode that will be our Final Episode was recorded before this decision was made and doesn’t mention the ending at all.  When the decision was actually made, I didn’t want to record an extra bit to attach to the episode, because the episode turned out really really good and I didn’t want to bring the tone down for the listeners.

Initially, PRM started as a project between 2 friends who met via the internet during the pandemic.  Steve and I really wanted to do something creative together, but we weren’t quite sure what.  Musical projects failed to launch (mostly because of me).  We started a podcast called Steve and John Do Stuff. We made 2 episodes, but I am dumb about the behind-the-scenes business of podcasting and couldn’t get the publishing down.  Shortly after launching Playing Games with Strangers, Dallas and Celeste contacted us and asked if we would be interested in starting a podcast segment for Comm Talk that focused on music.  After that, we caught fire like white phosphorous.  Music was our thing, and we had a definite direction to apply our focus.

It was in April of 2021 that things began to change.  It is not my place to tell other people’s stories, so I will leave it at Steve’s schedule and availability began to change. Up to that point, it was 100% Steve and John.  We functioned as a unit and neither one of us was “the leader” of the project.  It became obvious that if it was going to keep going with any regularity, I was going to have to step up my game to make up for the times where Steve (by no fault of his own) could no longer be. I did solo interviews, I tried out guest hosts, but in the end, the chemistry never felt right without Steve present.  It turned out that Steve is a unicorn.  I thought about possible replacements for him, but his encyclopedic knowledge of Christian music was just UNPARALLELD.  After doing my interview with Victor Griffin (Place of Skulls, ex-Pentagram), all I could think was “wow, that was fantastic.  I wish Steve could have been here for that.”  That is pretty much when it struck me: I don’t really want to do this show without Steve.

The cast of Playing Games with Stranger is probably the people most familiar with why I podcast as much as I do.  Ultimately, the fact is, where I certainly enjoy connecting with my audience, the primary reason why I do what I do in podcasting is that it affords me the chance to spend time with friends my soul yearns to be close to on some level.  It’s never been about numbers and dollars for me.  I actually refuse to look at the numbers.  Without Steve there, I am alone, and that was never the intention. It had started as the 2 of us, and I would want it to remain that way if it were to continue.  It was a hard decision for me to make, to shut it down, but as soon as I revealed my intentions to Dallas and Celeste, I had peace about it.  So, it has ended.  This is basically the eulogy.  Now, I say this but that is not to say that it could never happen again.  Should Steve’s availability ever change, and he be onboard with doing it again, I am more than willing to fire it up.  This very well could be a comma rather than a period, but as of writing this, there are no current plans.

The question remains to be answered: Where do we go from here?  I am still involved in We Read… Allegedly and The Bottom Shelf, which are both Geek Devotions projects, so I would encourage you to check those out if you haven’t already.  I also have a new project in development with a NEW co-host that I am very excited to put in your ears in the near future, so please look forward to that.  Also, I am still on staff with Geek Devotions as a writer and as the resident Music geek, so if you ever want to talk music with me or have questions about music and theology, PLEASE hit me up through the discord or any of the other Geek Devotions methods.  I am always available to you as a resource on that level.

Thank you for your support over the course of this show, and I look forward to serving you guys in future endeavors.