Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.
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Sunday I noticed the poplar leaves beginning to fall up in the North Georgia Mountains. Tuesday I woke up with the blankets pulled up tight, too cold with the window open and the fan on. On my way to work the air had that certain smell. It dragged me, kicking and screaming, down memory lane to countless back-to-school Septembers from grade school all the way through college and it reminded me the kids are headed back to school any minute now. The sun was low in the sky on my way to work. Walking around at lunch the air had changed from the hot bath that is Atlanta summer to the lake that is Atlanta fall - hot and cool spots intermingling, often for no apparent reason as the breeze shuffles the seasons around.
I hate fall.
Always have. I was never comfortable in elementary school. I had more fun during the summers when I could run amok with my friends, none of whom were in my grade. "Back to school" meant back to long days waiting to get out of school so I could run with the pack again, and going home early as the sun went down to pretend to do my homework.
Going to high school became more of a hassle than anything. There was always something I'd rather be doing than sitting in class. Fall meant giving up 6 nights a week of skateboarding, drinking, and D&D until dawn.
By college I'd become a bit more social, but fall signaled the time to get serious about my studies, whereas summer quarter was a lazy, pleasant blur of afternoons by the river after the one or two easy classes I took.
After I graduated the first time and got a "real" job summer wasn't as radical a difference in my life, but it's tough to turn around 20 years of sentiment. Besides, I don't think I suffered through more than three autumns before I was back in school with a similar slack summer schedule again.
But now I'm back in the "real" world. The end of summer isn't quite as big a change but there is more work to do since everyone comes back from vacation and industries like mine that service other companies gear up and get busier.
And there's still nearly three decades of habit to get past.
Aside from social changes, I hate temperature variations. I like a nice, consistent, warm air. Summer is perfect, it's hot out all the time. I've rarely had A/C in any home of mine and many jobs I've had didn't have it either, so summer means one steady, comfortable (for me, anyway) temperature. Of course, Atlantans now air condition most homes and businesses to the point where I have to wear a winter coat in August, but that's a relatively new phenomenon.
Winter means constant temperature variations. To survive, you pile on layer upon later of hot, uncomfortable clothes. Walk outside and it's freezing. Sit in your car until the heat comes on and you start sweating. Step out of the car and the sweat turns to ice. Walk inside again and the ice turns to steam.
Aside from that, I just hate cold. And fall means it's on the way, no matter how much I petition the lord with prayers to just skip the whole mess and go straight to spring.
Maybe I'll hit the lotto and finally be able to afford that winter home in Miami or Brazil or someplace...
I finally irritated a few subscribers into a response on the whole "The music scene in Atlanta has died" two-episode tirade. I opened the mail, eager for a dissenting opinion, only to have several confirmations:
>I'm enjoying your broadcasts, thanks for all your effort. As for the "local" situation... Here's my two cents... I agree with you, the Atlanta music scene is in a bit of a lull. There probably are fewer good bands to see than there were five or eight years ago. I also agree there are still a sufficient number of decent bands out playing too, just not as many as there used to be. Same can be said for the supporting fan base. What bothers me most is the lack of support local bands receive. A really decent area band will play on a Wednesday night to a club that is nearly empty, suffer lukewarm applause after playing a song, display T shirts and CD's and probably sell none, maybe one or two. For most musicians, their band is more than a hobby, it's a second job. Investing money in gear, investing time in rehearsal and promotion, sacrificing time from family and friends, finally getting to the stage - all for some "golf clap" >from fourteen or sixteen people. How frustrating, how embarrassing. This noted, usually Friday and Saturday night shows have a better crowd. I'm not sure why so many people are reluctant to support good local acts. Sometimes it seems almost socially unacceptable to do so. I wasn't there, but I'll bet at that X-Imp/Nashville Pussy show you saw at the Echo, NOBODY was near the front of the stage while the X-Imps were on. But when NP came on, people FLOODED in >from seemingly nowhere, crowded the stage, clapped, whistled and yelled support. Am I right? I've seen it a hundred times. Why is that? Sure NP was the better band, but I know the X Impossibles are seasoned rockers and are very good at what they do. They deserve better. Here are my thoughts on the subject... If I owned a club, YES I'd start the shows earlier in the evening Monday through Thursday, and on Sunday nights, too. Friday and Saturday nights, most people WANT to stay out late, so that's fine how it is. But on a weeknight, who wants to stay out until 1:30am? No student or working stiff that I know of (for the record, I'm 41, have a family and live in Cobb. I'll drive to east Atlanta to see a band on a weeknight if it's a band I really like, but I'm reluctant to do it and I'm usually easily dissuaded). Wouldn't it be great if weeknight and Sunday night shows started around 8:00 or 9:00 and wrapped things up by 11:00 or 12:00? So, if the club owners want more business during these hours, and the bands want more support, I think they need to reconsider the status quo. Next, to broaden their fan base (and earn that much needed revenue), most bands need to play more "all ages" shows. Probably no other age group has more desire (and disposable income) to spend on CD's and T-shirts than middle school and high school students. Yet they are certainly not frequenting the venues (bars) where most local bands play. I have a musically savvy 14 year old son who loves Truckadelic (r.i.p), The X-Impossibles and Treephort, but I'm not about to take him to a bar or keep him out late on a school night to see them. Local bands need more opportunities where they can perform for a younger audience (like "On the Bricks", Drive Invasion or even the local stage at Music Midtown, for example). Here's a concept: Imagine if one of these interminable suburban "Mega 24" movieplexes set a stage up out in the parking lot on a Saturday afternoon or evening. The lineup might contain bands like 6X, Blacktop Rockets, The Tom Collins, Drive By Truckers, Young Antiques, Moto Litas, and Catfight. I can only imagine the stage would be SWARMED by wide eyed school aged kids that have money to burn in their pockets. After all, what self respecting teen wouldn't want to hang around and check out the bands when their movie was over? Groups playing this gig would no doubt sell dozens of CD's and T shirts, while bolstering their mailing lists to boot. Plus they'd make long term fans with a simple "meet and greet" session at the point of sale... (Monday morning, back at school): "Dude! I KNOW that babe Heidi of the X Impossibles! She signed my CD! She rocks! I can't wait for their next album to come out!" Of course the mega-plex could make a few extra bucks with perhaps a $1 or $2 admission and an outdoor food concession. I truly believe there's a huge untapped market out there for local bands. That's why Brittney Spears does so well... the kids who like her don't necessarily have bad taste in music, most of them just don't know any better. Anyway, I had a point when I started all this. Damned if I can remember what it was. Guess I'll have to save it for the next time?! So, I'll have to keep an eye out for this Thunderbird of yours... I try to look for you at Mondo movie night to say Hey but I don't know what you look like. The car should be a tip off. I didn't stay for Blood Feast, and damned if the barf bags weren't all gone by the time we got there. :( I did get a signed photo from Dave Friedman though. $3 well spent. degenerate DS
http://www.vidsutton.electricblues.com>KTO played the Star Bar, what a year ago now, and knowing what a great show
they put on, I went to seem 'em even though it was a "school night". But
they didn't go on 'til after midnight. As much as I was enjoying the show,
I had to leave before it was over, maybe around 1:15. It was almost 2
before I got home. I paid for it the next day, but it was worth it. But as
a married guy, over 30 with a real job there was no way that that could be
anything but a rare exception. Heck getting out on a Friday or Saturday
night was often impossible. And now that we have a kid, it's just not going
to happen. Maybe if these clubs that are always empty would start shows at
a decent hour, they might just a get a few more folks who are more
interesting is seeing a great live show than are worried about it not being
>I too have made the observation that the Atlanta music scene is dying out.
few years back I started to notice that clubs were hiring DJs on
traditionally slow nights and in many cases business picked up. I can't
blame clubs for trying to earn a buck, but it seemed kind of a cop-out from
a musician's point of view. I went to a few of the Sunday night "disco"
themed events at the Point to see what it was like and the place was packed
with people. People a few years younger than me and the regular Point rock
and roll crowd.
I started to think that this was going to be the wave of the future and I
was right. I've been going to rock clubs in Atlanta since 1984 and have seen
the cyclical nature of local music here, but I've always seen an influx of
of young people (21+)to keep things going.
In the past few years I've noticed hardly any new young people out at clubs
watching bands, It's always the same old faces from 10 years ago. There's
just no regeneration. Many decent bands in this town have a hard time
getting 50 people out to a club on a week night, but go to a dance club and
people will be lined up to get in. I too believe many young people today
think live music is a guy with a stack of records and two turntables.
Keep the faith.
>I just wanna say I think eminem's anger is pretty real (at least the first
al;bumn's sessions)...but hey I feel you on that rant-but alas alack we're
in tground zero for the style-over-substance set. btw: I dunno if yer into
non-rock/live musician type musical events but I'd like to post some stuff
when our dates come up....hit me back. as always keep up the work and kudos
onna T-bird I been cheerin ya on mentally an such.
"I used to rock and roll all night and party ev-ar-e-day.. then it was every
other day.. now I'm lucky if I find half a hour a week in which to get
-Homer J. Simpson
(editor's note - sorry for the misquote, shouldn't do these things in a hurry!)
>But seriously... I whole-heartedly agree with you that Atlanta died a very
slow and quiet death sometime in the last few years.. I moved in 92 and,
when I got here it seemed like there was never enough time/money/sobriety to
do everything there was to do.. Now you have to look long and hard to find
anything interesting.. although you seem to have the dead lock on finding
something worth seeing.
eh, what uh ya gonna do?
Faithful Degenerate GR.. newletter recipient since 96? Geez, has it been
Well, yes, it's been even longer than that. We started this joke so long ago
I don't even have the original efforts any more. Our electronic records only
go back to '95 and there was a couple of years of ezines before that, and Degenerate
Press paper efforts go back even farther. In fact, I had to poke around to find
a slightly mangled Degeneration Excerpt #2 from fall of '93 and I have yet to
find a copy of #1 (anyone out there got a copy? Cash reward offered, even if
it's only a shitty Xerox copy!) We've outlived several local "alternative"
papers, countless online efforts, and we're older than most surviving local
papers. That explains the wrinkles and flatulence, I suppose...
"Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Olda Age a regret."
Benjamin Disraeli, from Coningsby
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