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Eddie's Attic for the people 

Changes, familiar faces, and big plans

"This may sound hokey," says Bob Ephlin, new owner of Eddie's Attic, "but I wanted to take a risk and chase something that felt authentic. I just wanted to be involved in music instead of having it as a hobby." So he bought the club from former owner Todd Van Sickle.

"I wanted to chase authentic goals," he continues. And yes, statements like that do sound a tad hokey on paper, but cut him some slack: The guy has been a club owner only since June 21. His enthusiasm and wide-eyed plans are refreshing to those of us who have witnessed so many crash-and-burn music proprietors.

Three years ago, as Van Sickle was taking the reins of the club from its original owner, Eddie Owen, Ephlin was toiling in the executive world as a Wolf Camera senior vice president. "I was their chief information officer," he says. "About the same time Todd took over the club, I had an opportunity to consider [purchasing the club], too." Instead, he took another corporate job, this time with Ross Stores in San Francisco. But dammit, he had music in his heart and on his mind, too.

"I had been heavily involved in music in high school and college and away from it for almost 15 years," he says. "Then I got reacquainted with music through a friendship with Kristian Bush [of Sugarland]. As I got more involved with it, my passion was reawakened."

Bush and Ephlin operated the Projector Room, a studio and production space above the Nickel and Dime recording studio in Avondale Estates. "As we worked with bands, it was a reawakening for me that what I did for a living should be what I was passionate about." And Bush was the first person to play at the club under Ephlin's new ownership.

But rather than sit around and play club owner, Ephlin is putting his retail organizational skills to work. Part of his plan for the club is to re-establish the original "brand," as he calls it. "And that's why it was important to bring Eddie back and Amy [Cochran], too."

Bring Eddie back? Eddie Owen? "Yep," says Ephlin. "To really jump-start us back into artist development and community relations. As someone new to the business, it would take me years to learn what [Owen and former booker Cochran] already know."

Owen, who sold the club three years ago, is eager to return, according to Ephlin. "He loves his job now, but he has such a history here." Owen didn't have time at his busy resort job (he managed food and beverage operations and coordinated special events for the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., and the Golf Club at Cuscowilla, on Lake Oconee) to chat with CL, but he'll be back at work in the club beginning this Friday night, ready to oversee the bar, restaurant and to help with the live music.

The balance of the old and new worlds is exciting for Cochran, who had been a vital part of the booking and artist relations for nearly a decade before taking two years off. "Everybody that's going to be working for me in this business is gonna know a lot more about it than I do," says Ephlin. "We plan to partner with the community, with other clubs and with the artists. You know, they say, 'A rising tide floats more boats.' If Smith's Olde Bar, say, has an act that's bringing more people to see live music, that's great news. I don't want to feel bad about that, I don't want to feel bad about competition. Everybody should feel good about stuff like that. I want to be a part of changing the way people think about it. We need to think about connecting the dots and partnering - not just with the artist and listener, but with the whole community so that everyone benefits."

lee.smith@creativeloafing.com

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