Sunday, October 2, 2011

Athens, GA Inside Out

This 1987 documentary film chronicles the alt-rock music scene in Athens during the early and mid 1980s.  It includes interviews with and performances by the B-52’s, R.E.M., Pylon, Love Tractor, Squalls, and others.

Most locals panned the film because of several historically significant omissions (i.e., The Method Actors are not even mentioned), as well as some inappropriate inclusions (The Flat Duo Jets,  featured prominently in the film, were not an Athens band at all.  They turned up in town, curiously, a couple of months before filming began and left shortly after).

Despite its historical shortcomings, the film does a great job of capturing the spirit of the day and has some truly fantastic concert footage and interviews.  One of my favorites is an interview with Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley, who nonchalantly explains why the band turned down an offer to tour with U2.  It was probably the worst career decision the band could have made, but Bewley acts as if it was the only logical thing to do.

The film was featured on MTV's The Cutting Edge as well as the first six episodes of MTV's 120 Minutes.  It was named pick of the week video by People magazine in 1988 and named one of the Top Ten Films about Georgia by the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

The film is available on Netflix, and you can also find portions of it on YouTube.

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