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- New West
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In the late-1970s Athens, Georgia was buzzing with a raw but sophisticated music scene. Traditional Southern rock had been the Georgia musical export for years before but the turn of the decade began producing new sounds from bands like the B-52’s, REM and Alt Rock luminaires Pylon. Before they were a band, Pylon were art-school students at the University of Georgia: four kids invigorated by big ideas about art and creativity and society. However, Pylon were less of a band and more of an art project, which meant they had very specific goals in mind, as well as an expiration date.
While their time together as a band was short lived (1979-1983), Pylon had a lasting influence on the history of rock and roll. Throughout their brief history, they were able to create influential work that would help foster the post-punk and art-rock scene of the early 80s. Artists like R.E.M., Gang of Four, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Interpol, Deerhunter and many more claim inspiration from the band. Their 1979 single ‘Cool’ / ‘Dub’ reached legendary status, with Rolling Stone titling it one of the 100 Greatest Debut Singles Of All Time.
In 1980 the band released their first record, ‘Gyrate’, and began touring across the country in support of the release. The band would soon develop a following across the country and specifically in the bustling music scene in New York City. One of their earliest gigs was opening for the Gang of Four in the Big Apple. Following the critical acclaim of their debut release, Pylon went back into the studio. They gleefully pulled their songs apart and put them back together in new shapes, revealing a band of self-proclaimed nonmusicians who had transformed gradually but noticeably into real musicians. The resulting album, ‘Chomp’, was barely off the press when Pylon were booked to open a run of dates for a hot new Irish band called U2 (after previously playing two arena shows with them in the month leading to the album release). Most bands would have jumped at the opportunity but Pylon were sceptical. At a critical point in the life of Pylon, they opted to become a cult band rather than stretch their defining philosophy too far.
“We fully intended Pylon to be an almost seasonal thing that we were gonna do for a minute and then get on with our lives,” says Curtis Crowe, drummer for the band. “But it just never went away. It still doesn’t go away. There’s a new subterranean class of kids that are coming into th
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