Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pylon Perhaps Americas most original Indie band circa 1980 ... ART ROCK FOREVER

PYLON sticks in my mind as the best  indie rock band in America circa 1980 .. art rockers from Georgia ,, first heard of them from Vic Varney, an Athens' musician ( method actors  live at hurrah)  who was acting as a roadie the first time the B-52's played Hurrah.  He told me about this other band from Athens I might like called PYLON. It is interesting how whenever I booked  a band from Athens someone in the band would mention another band from Athens I might light ,, I remember Robert Palmer, the New York Times music critic calling me and telling me he was going to name  a band called  REM  as having the single of the year and suggested I might want to think about booking them into Hurrah .. So I got on a plane with my then b/f Tom Hill and spent four days in Athens (Ga) . I had had some phone conversations with Dana Downs who with Vic took me and Tom  around to hear and meet bands, I had expressed that I wanted to see REM. But they were not popular with the art rockers of Athens.. Why? Because they played 'Frat Parties" on the campus of the University of Georgia and played covers "  (as well I should say as their own originals ) and were mostly self supporting as a band .(Small town University band art snobbery is how I heard this disdain) ,   One night REM was playing  the 688 in Atlanta and I wanted to see them. I asked if anyone was going .. Yes they were going ,,but to see the support band OH_OK with Linda Hopper and   Michael Stipe's sister Lynda Stipe. (Linda Hopper went on to form MAGNAPOP)  So we all piled into two cars and went to Atlanta. When Oh-OK finished its set and REM was about to go on , all my new Athens friends started to leave. I said I wanted to stay and see REM. They did not,,. So it was decided they would go over to see Paul Charles and his act STARBOOTY  (Charles' tribute to black 70's superstar PAM GREER starrbooty live . NOTE: Paul Charles is better known today as RuPaul) .and I could meet them at a club around  it was around the corner,  Tom and I stayed and were wowed by REM.  Their cover of one of my favorite songs in the American Songbook, (1984 REM Pale Blue Eyes'had me in tears,   Michael and I made a date to meet up the next day at an Athens coffee hang out that I think he worked at part time .Michael told me he wanted to intro me to some of the visual artists he liked in Athens including a Professor he studies with  (TBC!!!!) that made Tom  say he wanted to join us. Tom was a painter working as a busboy/waiter at VAN DAMS, a hipster/artist restaurant on Varick St, ,,, I also saw the mutual interest Michael and Tom had in each other.  (grr),  Next day we met up with Michael. Later Tom and I them went over to meet up with Dana, Vic and gang,   Starbooty blew me away l. and I remember the next day calling Bobby Bradley who was responsible for the Pyramid and saying he should book them .. Bobby knew of then and did. ... all of this is to put into context how small town-ish the Athens music scene was and how at the same time they always support each other until you got signed by a major .. (B-52's , Guadalcanal Diary (Watusi RodeoI I remember that Stipe mentioned Love Tractor (love tractor sewing your partner 1983, Dumptruck (Dumptruck back where I belong dir by Kelly Reichart  , the Basics and I met a young band five eight  . so  now you can put into context what PYLON members talk about in the documentary Athens Georgia INSIDE /OUT watch Athens Georgia INSIDE /OUT And why I got my butt over to the Monty Hall's music room (WFMU) in Jersey City to see hear PYLON Re Encountered .. a live project of Pylon singer Vanessa Bristol-Hay  ..with original members blessing blessing: bassist Michael Lachowski and drummer Curtis Crowe.  Vanessa spoke very sweetly of Randy who unexpectedly had a heart attack and died which meant the original a band would never play together again,
 It brought back many memories for me and the sold out crowd at WFMU's Monty Hall live music room Imagine a band tuning down an opening spot on a U2 tour ! They did !  GOOD NEWS A release of a lost tape found of the first swan song performance of the band that has been restored and remastered 

A performance when they were to me at the peak of their creative energy. 
What a band .. I loved them !

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