Athens Music Project Oral History Collection

Dublin Core

Subject

Music
Georgia--History, Local
Georgia--Music
Georgia--Communities

Description

The Athens Music Project Oral History Collection is part of the Athens Music Project (AMP), a Willson Center for Humanities and Arts research cluster co-directed by Jean Kidula and Susan Thomas. Interviews in this collection document the development of Athens as a breeding ground for multiple musical communities--the most prominent of them being the Southern independent rock scene. Other areas to be documented include a variety of African-American musical traditions, hip-hop, jazz, bluegrass, folk music traditions, Latin music, new music and conceptual sound art, classical music, and musical theater, and AthFest.

View all OHMS indexed interviews in this collection here.

Creator

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Publisher

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Date

2014-ongoing

Identifier

RBRL379AMP

Coverage

Athens, Georgia

Interviews in this Collection (120):

(RBRL379AMP-005)

Jeff Montgomery grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended college at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. After college, Montgomery moved to Athens, Georgia in the 1980s to take advantage of the local music scene. In this interview,…

(RBRL379AMP-006)

Russ Hallauer was first exposed to the Athens music scene while he was a student at Clemson University in the early 1990s. He moved to Athens in 1995 and worked at Flagpole Magazine. In this interview, Hallauer talks about the creation and…

(RBRL379AMP-007)

Melissa Link moved to Athens, Georgia in 1993 where she attended the University of Georgia as a graduate student of art history. She has served in various positions in media, community organizations, and government throughout Athens. Currently, she…

(RBRL379AMP-008)

Alicia Nickles works as the publisher and advertising director for Flagpole Magazine and serves on the executive committee for AthFest Educates. In this interview, Nickels talks about AthFest Educates, the management and creation of AthFest, and the…

(RBRL379AMP-009)

David Barbe was first introduced to music by his parents who were professional musicians. He played the bass for the band Mercyland, and became a freelance music engineer. In this interview, Barbe talks about his contribution to the AthFest music…

(RBRL379AMP-011)

Troy Aubrey was born in Louisville, Kentucky and came to Athens to attend the University of Georgia. Aubrey took over his brother’s booking agency Georgia Booking Associates, and also worked as the booking management agent and stage manager for…

(RBRL379AMP-012)

Jill Helme was born in Florida, and attended the University of Florida to become a teacher. After teaching high schoolers in Florida and Venezuela for a time, she went to the University of Philadelphia where she earned a master's degree in nonprofit…

(RBRL379AMP-016)

Hull was born in Athens, Georgia where he was first introduced to music through the Hill Chapel Baptist Church. Hull has worked with music his whole life, though his degree is in Education and Family Development. He currently works as the Clarke…

(RBRL379AMP-017)

Sam Mixon talks about his early affinity for music, taking piano lessons, and teaching himself how to play drums, guitar, and the bass guitar. He remembers how working as a DJ for the local radio station and selling records in his father's store…

(RBRL379AMP-018)

Eugene Willis, Jr., aka Blacknerdninja, talks about working at an early age doing odd jobs, drawing comics, and spending a lot of time in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Athens where his grandmother lived. He talks about starting to write raps,…

(RBRL379AMP-019)

Larry Gresham, Jr., aka LG, grew up in Athens, Georgia, and fell in love with music very young, when he sang in the church choir and was influenced by his father's music tastes. He started writing his own songs around 1996. Gresham recalls trying to…

(RBRL379AMP-020)

Carlos Jones, who performs under the name Lo' Down, talks about his early performances in Athens, releasing his first album Between the Hedges with friend Ken Richardson (Duddy Ken), and leaving college to pursue his music career in Atlanta. Jones…

(RBRL379AMP-021)

Ismeal Cuthbertson talks about the culture shock he experienced when moving to Athens, Georgia, and compares the violence between Athens versus the other big cities he's lived in. He talks about his early hip hop influences like Canibus and Fort…

(RBRL379AMP-022)

Andrew Rieger talks about becoming a music fan at a young age, his first band, and starting the band Elf Power when he moved to Athens, Georgia for school. He talks about choosing to do home versus in-studio recordings, collaborating briefly with…

(RBRL379AMP-023)

Frank MacDonell talks about growing up in the suburbs, taking guitar lessons, forming his high school band, Aftermath, and getting his first Les Paul guitar. MacDonell working for a real estate company after graduating high school, and getting…

(RBRL379AMP-024)

Montu Miller talks about growing up in a culture of hip hop, his early involvement in the Athens hip hop scene, and while in college founding the group Dreaded Mindz which hosted weekly poetry and rap events in his apartment. Miller discusses the…

(RBRL379AMP-025)

Benjamin Edwards, who performs under the name Big Body, talks about his childhood in the West Athens neighborhood of Newtown, his early hip hop influences, and starting to record music in college. He talks about dropping out of school, going to…

(RBRL379AMP-026)

Earl Arnold, aka Big Earl, talks about his early life in Harlem, collaborating with rapper Big Al, living in the Bethel Homes apartments (known as B-Town) in Athens, Georgia, and releasing music with the group Big Earl and the Twin boys. He compares…

(RBRL379AMP-027)

Darrison Ellison was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. He discovered hip-hop and rap while in middle school, where he was active in school performances. Ellison served in the military from 1989-1995, after which he was involved in the Athens music…

(RBRL379AMP-028)

Ken Richardson was born in Athens, Georgia and grew up in the Nelly B neighborhood on the eastside of Athens. He wrote his first rap while in middle school and later adopted the performance name Duddy Ken, through which he wrote and produced music…

(RBRL379AMP-029)

Walter Allen, Sr. grew up in Allendale, South Carolina, in the era of Jim Crow. The area was a close knit farming community, and Allen recalls learning principles of responsibility and discipline from his parents, neighbors, and teachers at Allendale…

(RBRL379AMP-030)

Creston Spiers was born in Monroe, Louisiana. He studied orchestra and performance percussion at John Hopkins University and later moved to Athens. Spiers played guitar and drums in the bands Weasel Stick and Harvey Milk. In this interview, Spiers…

(RBRL379AMP-031)

Peter Alvanos grew up playing the drums and guitar in Charleston, South Carolina. He went to college in Charleston and played drums in the band, Lines Thicken. After his pursuit of acting in New York, Alvanos moved to Athens, Georgia where he toured…

(RBRL379AMP-032)

Kevin Sweeney grew up in Marietta, Georgia. After high school, Sweeney moved to Athens, Georgia where he formed his first band, Window Pane. Sweeney later played guitar in other bands such as A-Ditch and Hayride, and toured with Sunshine Fix. In this…

(rbrl379amp-034)

Edwards was born in Florida, where her first introduction to music was her father’s love of jazz. In high school, Edwards played the guitar and occasionally sang in a small band. Edwards eventually moved to Athens in the early 1980’s where she played…

(RBRL379AMP-035)

Rowe grew up in New Jersey around the 1970s. He grew up listening to artists such as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. Rowe learned how to drum as a teenager and later moved to Athens to attend the University of Georgia. While in Athens, Rowe toured…

(RBRL379AMP-036)

Dave Marr grew up in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As a teenager, Marr had an interest in punk-rock which inspired him to learn guitar and played for the band Mantis after high school. Marr later worked as a DJ for WNUR,…

(RBRL379AMP-037)

Jill Carnes grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where her mother encouraged her to pursue the arts. In the 1980s, Carnes moved to Athens, Georgia where she worked as a dishwasher at The Grill and was introduced to local musicians. During this…

(RBRL379AMP-038)

Paul Trudeau grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He later came to Athens in 1988. Paul was interested in drumming growing up and played in a band called Basix as a kid. Upon moving to Athens, Trudeau recorded and toured with the band Hetch Hetchy.…

(rbrl379amp-039)

Cucchiaro was born in New York and grew up playing various horn and percussion instruments for his school’s Drum and Bugle Corp. After graduating high school, Cucchiaro moved to Athens, Georgia after fellow musician Julian Koster, where they both…

(rbrl379amp-040)

Robbie Cucchiaro was born in New York and grew up playing various horn and percussion instruments for his school’s Drum and Bugle Corp. After graduating high school, Cucchiaro moved to Athens, Georgia after fellow musician Julian Koster, where they…

(rbrl379amp-041)

Jason Griffin grew up in Columbus, Georgia during the 1980’s. As a child, Griffin played the drums and skateboarded with other kids in his community. In high school, Griffin played for many bands including Beluga and Straight Youth. Later Griffin…

(rbrl379amp-042)

Alan Flurry grew up in Savannah, Georgia. In high school, he moved to Athens, Georgia and has played as the drummer for many Athens bands since, including Mr. Right Now, SNAIL, and for the David Marr Album. In addition to drumming, Flurry is a writer…

(RBRL379AMP-046)

In 1985, Curtiss Pernice moved to Athens, Georgia from New York. There, Pernice lived with Ted Hafer, and eventually came to start the band Porn Orchard with Hafer and Sam Mixon, which lasted from 1985-1992. In this interview, Pernice talks about the…

(RBRL379AMP-047)

Mark Cooper Smith came to Athens, Georgia to attend graduate school in 1982 from Cartersville, Georgia. Smith performed with the Squalls as the band’s drummer shortly upon his arrival. After leaving the Squalls, Smith played with the band 28 Days,…

(RBRL379AMP-048)

Bill David grew up in Comer, Georgia during the 1960-70’s and as a child he played the guitar and occasionally visited Athens, Georgia. Eventually, David came to live in Athens where he performed with the Squalls as the band’s guitarist. David has…

(RBRL379AMP-049)

Barry Marler came to Athens in 1983 from South Carolina. Shortly upon his arrival, Marler joined Buzz of Delight with Matthew Sweet and David Pierce. After leaving the band, Marler played in Dreams So Real, a band which gained national recognition.…

(RBRL379AMP-050)

Julie House came to Athens, Georgia after she left Auburn University. During the 1990s, House attended many concerts including R.E.M, Flat Duo Jets, and Oh-OK. In this interview, House talks about her experience at concerts, fashion in Athens,…

(RBRL379AMP-051)

Arthur Johnson arrived in Athens in 1982 to attend the University of Georgia. While in Athens, Johnson attended many concerts from bands including Pylon, R.E.M, and the Kilkenny Cats. Johnson later formed the band Bar-B-Que Killers with Laura Carter,…

(RBRL379AMP-052)

David Hannon Pierce arrived in Athens, Georgia in 1976 after he left the Air Force. Five years into his stay in Athens, Pierce joined the band Oh-OK as the drummer. He later left the band in 1982 to perform with fellow musician Matthew Sweet. Later,…

(RBRL379AMP-053)

Jeff Walls was a guitarist from Marietta, Georgia and was a member of numerous bands including Guadalcanal Diary, Hillbilly Frankenstien, and the Woggles. In this interview, Walls discusses his involvement in the Athens music scene and his experience…

(RBRL379AMP-054)

Bob Hay arrived in Athens, Georgia in the late 1970’s, where he worked at the club El Dorado shortly after graduating from college in Michigan. Hay has played as the guitarist in The Squalls and The Jolly Beggars and has written many songs throughout…

(RBRL379AMP-055)

Fancher came to Athens in 1978 as a University of Georgia student majoring in journalism. Fancher has worked as an artist and has hosted art shows around Athens. Fancher was also the guitarist for the band, El Caminos. In this interview, Fancher…

(RBRL379AMP-056)

Vanessa Briscoe Hay, born in Atlanta, Ga, was the singer for the Athens band Pylon. In this interview, Hay discusses her experience of Athens during the 1970s and performing and recording with Pylon, before and after their break up.

(RBRL379AMP-057)

Terry Allen moved to the University of Georgia in 1973 as a music enthusiast. While in Athens, he watched and photographed many bands including R.E.M. and the B-52s. Allen later went to New York for a year before he came back to Athens to work as…

(RBRL379AMP-058)

Bryan Cook came to Athens to attend the University of Georgia as a film major. After leaving the institution due to financial constraints, Cook played in many bands including Is/Ought Gap, Club Gaga, Time Toy, Hindu Love Gods and Oh-Ok. In this…

(RBRL379AMP-059)

Dana Downs is a bassist in Athens, Georgia. She has played in many bands over the years including the Tone-tones, Go Van Go, and Vietnam. In her interview, Downs discusses her experiences in several of her bands and her opinions and experiences of…

(RBRL379AMP-060)

Lynda Stipe, sister to Michael Stipe of R.E.M., moved to Athens, Georgia in 1980 as a high school senior. A year later, she attended the University of Georgia as a sculpture major, during which she formed the band Oh-OK. Stipe worked as the band’s…

(RBRL379AMP-061)

April Chapman moved to Athens in 1965 as a student at the University of Georgia. During the 1980s, Chapman was involved in the art scene and interacted with the members of bands such as R.E.M, the B-52’s, and Pylon. In this interview, Chapman talks…

(RBRL379AMP-062)

Kelly Noonan came to Athens, Georgia during the early 1980’s, where she performed as a guitarist in the band, A Few Good Men. Noonan has performed in many other bands including Billy James and Jackpot City. Noonan currently works as a dog groomer at…

(RBRL379AMP-063)

Deonna Mann moved to Athens, GA as a young adult and got involved in art and music. She is best known for her 1990s experimental performances with local bands. In her interview, she discusses her puppet shows, art exhibitions, and performing with…

(RBRL379AMP-064)

Arthur Johnson attended the University of Georgia and played drums in numerous bands including the Bar-B-Q Killers and Come. He appeared with the Bar-B-Q Killers in the 1987 music documentary, “Athens, GA: Inside/Out”. In this interview, he talks…

(RBRL379AMP-065)

Rodger Brown came to Athens, Georgia in 1979 as a University of Georgia student. Brown worked as an editor of the magazine Line of Sight while in school and also published the book Party out of Bounds, which retold stories about the music scene of…

(RBRL379AMP-066)

Bielle grew up in Roswell, Georgia. He learned how to play the guitar and bass as an adolescent and came to Athens in 1979 where he later played bass and sang with the heavy-metal band Hayride. After the breakup of Hayride in the mid-1990s, Bielle…

(RBRL379AMP-067)

During college at Fitchburg State University, Ken Starratt gained an interest in the variety of music of the 1970s. Starratt came to Athens in the mid-1970s where he became involved in the Athens music scene. Starratt played the guitar in many bands…

(RBRL379AMP-069)

Pat Shields grew up in Athens, Georgia, as his father was the recreational director of the city. Shields, as a teenager, grew up playing folk music and has worked at many cultural institutions in areas including Keyser, Virginia and Australia.…

(RBRL379AMP-070)

Claire Horne moved to Athens, GA from Atlanta as a freshman at the University of Georgia. During her time in Athens, she played guitar in alternative band the BBQ Killers. In this interview, Horne discusses performing with the BBQ Killers and working…

(RBRL379AMP-071)

Roland McElroy was born in Quitman, Georgia in 1945. He began working as a disc jockey for the local radio station when he was fourteen. He continued working in radio when he was a student at the University of Georgia and later became a freelance…

(RBRL379AMP-073)

Dan Nettles grew up in Athens, Georgia and attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Nettles worked at the Banff Center and Nuci’s Space, located in Athens, Georgia. Nettles has also performed in several instrumental bands including Kenosha…

(RBRL379AMP-074)

Michael Lachowski, born in Norfolk, Virginia, moved to Athens, Georgia after enrolling at the University of Georgia as an art major. He was the bass player for the Athens band Pylon. In his interview, Lachowski discusses his time at UGA, forming…

(RBRL379AMP-075)

Peter Fancher grew up in New Jersey and moved to Athens, Georgia in 1975, where he attended the University of Georgia. Fancher performed as the guitarist in Club Gaga, and has additionally worked as the audio engineer at Elixer Recording and Intense…

(RBRL379AMP-076)

Rick Stanziale grew up in Athens, Georgia during the 1980s, during which he was an avid skateboarder. Stanziale later joined his first band, The Problem Children during the late 1980s. James Greer was also involved in the skating scene and punk rock…

(RBRL379AMP-077)

Vic Varney was born in Georgia but grew up in Chattanooga, TN. He moved to Athens in 1975 and earned two degrees from the University of Georgia. In this interview, Varney discusses his experiences in The Tone-Tones, The Method Actors, and Go Van Go.…

(RBRL379AMP-078)

Patrick Ferguson grew up in Columbus, Georgia, where he was exposed to a number of punk rock bands. When Ferguson moved to Athens, Georgia to attend UGA, he played in a variety of bands including Five-Eight, Southern Bitch, and Teenage Math Lab. In…

(RBRL379AMP-079-01)

Sylvanus Zeke Turner was born in Clarke County, Georgia, and has lived in Athens his entire life, currently performing as a solo Gospel singer. In this interview, Turner discusses the details of his early life, including his participation in choirs…

(RBRL379AMP-079-02)

Sylvanus Zeke Turner was born in Clarke County, Georgia, and has lived in Athens his entire life, currently performing as a solo Gospel singer. In this interview, Turner shares his experience with music in Athens and popular places in the black…

(RBRL379AMP-080)

Dr. Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje grew up in Jesup, Georgia, learning piano from an early age. She attended Boggs Academy, Fisk University, and the Hampton Institute. She is currently a professor and the Chair of Ethnomusicology at the University of…

(RBRL379AMP-082)

Kathy Kirbo moved to Athens and attended the University of Georgia where she graduated with a degree in psychology. She has been part of numerous bands including Greenhouse and Jackpot City. She currently works as the executive director for the Reef…

(RBRL379AMP-083)

Vernon Thornsberry was born and raised in New Orleans. He taught himself to paint and play several instruments. He moved to Athens, GA in 1986 where he has become a local legend and familiar face, especially around The Grit and Jittery Joe’s. During…

(RBRL379AMP-084)

Don Chambers came to Athens, Georgia from Atlanta where he has played in many bands including Black Crows, Mudpuppies, Cursing Alice, Vaudeville, The Fountain, and Don Chambers and the GOAT. In this interview, Chambers talks about his experience…

(RBRL379AMP-085)

Mamie Fike moved to Athens to attend the University of Georgia on a music scholarship. She played violin in numerous bands including Long Low Rumble, WET, Jackpot City, Toast, Hetch Hetchy, and the Athens Symphony Orchestra. She currently works as a…

(RBRL379AMP-086)

Daniel Horowitz grew up in Norway during the 1960s, before he moved to Athens where he spent his teenage years. Horowitz has played as a guitarist and bass player for many bands including The Reasonable Men, Five Eight, and Klezmer Local 42. Daniel…

(rbrl379amp-087)

Bernard Anderson aka Pharaoh Gottie grew up in Athens. He became involved with hip hop at a young age, and he helped manage various artists. Anderson has owned numerous businesses in Athens including a record store, beauty store, and restaurant. In…

(RBRL379AMP-088)

Cindy Wilson was born and raised in Athens. She was a founding member of the B-52s along with her brother, Ricky Wilson. In the band, Wilson was a vocalist, songwriter, and percussionist. During the interview, Wilson talks about her brother,…

(RBRL379AMP-089)

Chris McKay was born and raised in Camden, South Carolina. He began playing music at an early age and joined his first band when he was sixteen. He moved to Athens, Georgia in the early 1990s and played in numerous bands including Q-Sign, Tanjent,…

(RBRL379AMP-090)

Ballard Lesemann was born in 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina. He played drums from an early age, and he joined his first band when he was thirteen. Lesemann moved to Athens, Georgia to attend college at the University of Georgia; however, he left…

(RBRL379AMP-091)

Rob Veal was born in Athens in 1969 where he grew up listening to local music. In this interview, Veal talks about playing as the drummer for the La Di Das and the Dashboard Saviors. He also talks about his interactions with Vic Chesnutt and other…

(RBRL379AMP-092)

Ben Spraker was born in Atlanta, and moved to Athens in 1990 to attend the University of Georgia. Spraker has played as the guitarist and songwriter for many bands including Ancient Odis, The Arcs, NSM, and Don Condescending. In this interview,…

(RBRL379AMP-093)

Todd McBride grew up in Griffin, Georgia and attended Gordon State College, and the University of Georgia. He was a singer and guitarist in multiple bands including Random Factor, the La-Di-Da’s, Liquor Cabinet, and The Dashboard Saviors. In this…

(RBRL379AMP-094)

Gordon Lamb moved to Athens, Georgia and began his studies at the University of Georgia in 1989. He taught himself guitar and currently writes for Flagpole magazine In his interview, Lamb shares his experiences of the Athens music scene while playing…

(RBRL379AMP-095)

Bob Fernandaz was born in Germany and came to Athens in 1977 nearing the end of high school. Fernandez plays the drums and guitar and has played in many bands including Flaming Chopsticks, The Fit, Stellas Fellas, Three Walls Downs, and the Star Room…

(RBRL379AMP-096)

Killick Hinds was born in 1972 and spent the first three years of his life in Japan before returning to New Jersey with his mother. Hinds went to college in Maine and moved to Athens in 1995. He performs Appalachian Trance Metal Music and manages a…

(RBRL379AMP-097)

Daniel Ray began playing music at the age of four, switching from violin to drums, then guitar. While taking guitar lessons, he started writing his own songs. After graduating high school in Iowa, he moved to Athens to form a rock band. In his…

(RBRL379AMP-098)

Jason Richardson was born in Waynesboro, Georgia. Richardson is a drummer and has played in bands such as Exit 86, Savagists, and Mandible Rider. In this interview, Richardson discusses performing and touring with various bands, and the differences…

(RBRL379AMP-099)

Velena Vego is from Atlanta, GA and moved to Athens to pursue success in her sister’s girl band, Mystery Date. After the band broke up, she worked for R.E.M. and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. She finds her work in booking shows for The 40 Watt CLub, the…

(RBRL379AMP-100)

Jabriel Winfrey (Billy D. Brell) was born and raised in Athens, GA. He took an interest in rap and hip-hop at a young age and began writing his own music, becoming a part of the original wave of hip-hop in Athens. In his interview, Winfrey discusses…

(RBRL379AMP-101)

Cedric Huff (Amun-Ra), born in Athens, Georgia, is an influential member of the Athens hip-hop scene. He began recording music at age 14 and was introduced to the industry early. In his interview, he discusses musical influences, growing up in…

(RBRL379AMP-102)

Tarik Camp, also known as Top Cat, was born in Athens, Georgia. His mother worked as a singer and his father as a DJ. Growing up, Camp worked as a D.J and music creator before he formed the band, Mascom. Camp currently has a wife and two daughters…

(RBRL379AMP-103)

Gregory Jones was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. His first introduction to music was his mother’s records. Growing up and throughout adulthood, Jones left Athens many times before he eventually returned to work on his music. Jones served in the…

(RBRL379AMP-104)

Joe Willey is a long-time Athens resident and a multi-instrumentalist who has played banjo, guitar, and fiddle on solo projects and in collaboration with other Athens musicians. He currently operates under his music project “Joe Willey and the Movin’…

(RBRL379AMP-105)

Antoon Speters was born in the Netherlands and raised in Salt Lake City. He started playing music and singing at a young age with friends. During his time in Utah he played and toured the western US and Canada with multiple groups before moving to…

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