The Humble Guys was an early pc cracking group, formed in late 1989 by Candyman and Fabulous Furlough, both from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. They are credited with adding professionality to the a scene that was very amateurish at the time, for bringing cracktros to the pc dos scene, and for starting the trend of releasing .nfo files with releases. The first info file with the extension .nfo was released along with a crack of Nova Logic's Bubble Bobble remake in 1989. Both founders had originated from the highly competitive world of piracy on the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga platforms. Candyman was at the time a member of the well-known Amiga group Quartex.
The rapid spread of releases was probably due to the efforts of a bulletin board system operator originally known as Timelord, who in February of 1990 changed his alias to The Slavelord and his bulletin board to The Slave Den. The name change was to reflect a new method of software exchange he had pioneered where all the personnel working under him had to lose their distinctive aliases, had to fulfil a quota to maintain their membership and were only referred under a generic moniker of 'Humble Slave'. The generic names served both as advertising for the group but also helped to maintain member loyalty through the lessening of their autonomy. Most other competing groups of the era frowned at these heavy handed tactics.
The INC release of Conflict: Europe (february 1990) came with the file README.INC, which wrote; "Well this looks like it is the last european import from Norway by the Jammer. He has quit INC to join The Humble Guys. I have only one thing to say to THG. "Now we are gonna break out the heavy artilliarry". Ski Or Die Cracktro (21 march) listed NightWriter, Fabulous Furlough, R. Bubba Magillicutty, Slavelord, Pudwerx, Oahawhool, Whoremonger, Deathmaster and Candyman as members. Knights of the Sky Cracktro (17 november) revealed R. Bubba Magillicutty, Pudwerx, Oahawhool, Whoremonger and Deathmaster were gone from the member list since march, while Predator, Mr. Plato, Fletcher Christian, Lord Blix, Barimor, The Viper, BamBam, Lord Zombie, The Guch, Eddie Haskel, BigBobRob, Funakashi, The Humble Sysop, Drool Master Rick, JROK, Mr. M and Mace Mandella were new additions.
4D Sports Boxing (march 1991) came with an nfo listing The Candyman, Fabulous Furlough, Nightwriter, Magnetic, The Slavelord, Predator, Mr. Plato, Fletcher Christian, Lord Blix, Barimor, The Viper, BamBam, Lord Zombie, The Guch, Eddie Haskel, Wico, The Humble Sysop, Drool Master Rick, Jrok, Mr. M and Mace Mandella, Belgarion and The Humble Babe as members at that time. A separate home-brew division known as THG/FX rose inside the group. Founded by a programmer and hacker by the name of Sauron THG/FX released a number of unique scene associated products. Probably their most well-known product was The Humble Guys Intro Maker which had at least 3 revisions. This was an application that enabled scene groups and the operators of bulletin board systems to create their own advertisements in software with nearly no programming knowledge. It was widely used by both pirate and legitimate bulletin board systems and inspired a number of clone applications. During the fall of 1991 a significant number of members and affiliated bulletin boards were dropped from the group. These culled persons teamed up with a few disgruntled members who had survived the cut and together they formed a new group known as the United Software Associates. It wasn't long after that the young USA teamed up with the European based Fairlight and a great rivalry ensured between these upstarts and the incumbent The Humble Guys. The Humble Guy's downfall was a familiar story to many groups of this era as it was not dramatic or even interesting. Rather over time real life got in the way of the day to day management of the group until the brand simply faded into insignificance. Originally Candyman had handled the organisation of the group. He operated it more like a business than a hobby but his system eventually conflicted with his own business and family life. He retired from the scene and left the United States for Mexico. Fabulous Furlough took over the group in the absence of Candyman. But he also found the daily grind of maintaining The Humble Guys as a professional organisation too much work. See his interview in The SCD Report 14 for context. He left the PC scene and joined an emerging scene on the Super Nintendo console platform. In December, THG/FX published the magazine The Humble Review 1. It was always intended to have future issues but it never came to be.
In 1992 Slavelord took over operations but his efforts lasted for less than a year. He left the group after discovering that one of his fellow organisers had been syphoning communal funds that were intended for the daily operations of the group. Slavelord went to team up with some former The Firm members to create the Originally Funny Guys. This venture had a few releases but was abruptly shutdown on October of 1992 after the Slavelord had one of his old bulletin board intro-advertisements broadcast nationwide on an NBC Dateline 'underground hackers' expose.
The july 1993 release of Caesar Deluxe (no cracktro) came with an nfo, welcoming Sir Real as a new members and listing Fabulous Furlough, The PiePersoN (aka Pieman), Eddie Haskel, BamBam, Bryn Rogers, Hi.T.Moonweed, The Mustang, Hydro, Rawhide, The Witch King, Gangsta Rok, Law and Order Party, General Lee, Joebee, Delerious Nomad, MickySoft, Beast and Sir Real as normal members, and as 'peasants' (likely couriers); X TASE & Ralph, Shocker, Untouchable, Bullwinkle, Mellow Man, Forced Entry, Stormtrooper, Mother Turtle, Specs, Hurricane, Red Alert and Lion Heart - as members at that time.
Pieman continued using The Humble Guys brand. This was until october 1995 when his home was raided by U.S. Marshals and lawyers representing the Novell Corporation.
The Slave Lord while best known as The Humble Guys distribution coordinator was also a programmer. He authored the bulletin board system application Lush Software Design BBS. LSD wasn't an original program that was created from scratch rather it was a derived from the Pascal source code of the Forum 2.5 BBS software that had been released beforehand. LSD evolved into a product of its own standing with a technical support group known as Ultra Tech. Where system operators for a nominal fee of $100 USD could buy the support and usage rights for the LSD software.
Unlike many PC groups of the early nineties The Humble Guys were never involved in any group-cooperation but there were a number of scene groups over the years that were essentially spinoffs.
Nokturnal Trading Alliance was founded as THG application division though this fact was kept a secret from the community
United Software Associates - Where formed by disgruntled former members who teamed up with the European Amiga group Fairlight
Originally Funny Guys - Created by The Slavelord and survived for a month before he left the scene
Acronym - A short lived group created by R. Bubba and Lord Zombie but after a month they returned to THG
CAT - A kiddie release group created by Eddie Haskell and Fabulous Furlough to dump educational titles that could not be released under THG brand
Lamers of Power originally known as Lamers on Parade was created by Bryn Rogers using a German alter-ego to take the piss out of the German traders as well as being a brand to release rejected European titles
Sources of information
The Scene News in 1998 conducted a great interview about the early days of THG with The Candy Man
Software Chronicles Digest 11 talks about the formation of United Software Association
Reality Check Network issue 34 has an interview with Def-jam on the revival of the group back in 1997 though the revival didn't last long though.
There is also an excellent in-depth article on Wikipedia written by a former The Humble Guys member
Biography based on this article from defacto2, retrieved from the WayBack Machine.