Sunday, October 16, 2011


When Rolling Stone named R.E.M. "America's Best Band" in 1987, drummer Bill Berry told the magazine that Pylon deserved the title instead.  Enough said?

No, I have more to say about this fabulous band.

Pylon never achieved widespread commercial success - because they didn’t want it.  They formed the band in 1978 to have a fun, creative outlet and didn’t want it to become a full-time commitment. 

So they refused offers from large record companies and signed with an indie label instead. They turned down an offer to open for U2’s 1980 US tour.  Then, soon after their first Billboard-charting single, they decided the band was becoming too much like a business and broke up in 1983.  They reunited several years later, opening for R.E.M.’s Green tour and releasing another album in 1990 before calling it quits again.

Rock music critics at the time considered Pylon one of the most important alt-rock bands in the country.  Allmusic calls them the “elder statesmen of the alternative rock explosion.”  Many, many bands from that era have cited them as a major influence.  Another Pylon legacy is the 40 Watt Club, a popular Athens music venue, first started by drummer Curtis Crowe in 1978.

Finally, a personal story.  When I was in grad school, a student from Malaysia lived across the hall from me.  He saw a Pylon album in my record collection and begged to borrow it.  Somehow, he had heard of them all the way across the globe!  Come to think of it, he never gave it back…

This is from their first album, Gyrate, released in 1980:

A single released in 1981.  This song was covered by R.E.M. on their Dead Letter Office album.

From the 1983 album Chomp:

From their last album in 1990:

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