Athens may be our close neighbor to the east, but most Atlanta bands set their sights on Brooklyn, Philly, Birmingham - anywhere but Athens. The same can be said for a lot of Athens bands, as well. It doesn't help that most Atlanta bands have endless horror stories about playing Athens: No door guy, no sound guy, no actual show for them to play when they get there. Tonight (Thursday, Feb. 21), the Star Bar plays host to an almost all-Athens bands freakout, and one band on the bill, house party punks the Rodney Kings, sat down to talk with us all about Athens, food, and increasing the traffic between Athens and Atlanta.
Who, what, and how are the Rodney Kings?
Max Wang: The Rodney Kings are me (drummer), Cameron Evers (bass), and Reeth Dasgupta (vocals/guitar), a rock 'n' roll band from Athens, Ga., but originally from the Atlanta 'burbs. All of us went to Athens for our undergrad diplomas with varying degrees of success. I met Reeth not long after I moved to Athens when I was 19 or something, Cameron a little after that. But we all hung out at a small housing commune called Addieville off Barber. Bubbly Mommy Gun actually started in Addieville, as well as countless other bands including Sad Dads, Dip, Ghost Coke, King/Cobb, and the Derek Chipman Experience. Me and Reeth learned some shitty Link Wray covers to play at Go Bar every once in a while and opened for some other Addieville-born bands sporadically, until we got our shit together and actually wrote our own songs. Cam came on soon after that, and here we are one year and two eviction notices later. The Rodney Kings are a product of what me and Reeth and Cam stumbled into when we first discovered Addieville.
Is there Athens-Atlanta love?
MW: I'd like to think so. Why not? There is so much good shit right now coming out of our two towns that I find it irresponsible for us not to at least make an effort to share it with each other. I know for sure that I want to see more ATL rock 'n' roll and punk bands play Athens.
Is there Athens/Atlanta beef?
Cameron Evers: I've seen a lot of Atlanta bands come into town and not have any draw, not because of their own fault, but rather the esoteric nature of the Athens scene. Athens is a small town, and people's friends constitute a lot of the audience. If you don't know anyone in Athens, you've gotta manage the promotions big time. Tell whoever booked you that in order to draw, the people have got to know that there's an event happening in the first place. Promotions, at the lower level of the industry, are often neglected. Put up some flyers; it's a good excuse to go for a walk.
What's the scoop on the other bands playing the Star Bar tonight?
MW: God, I really hope Atlanta comes out to this because this bill is pretty damn good at showing off what Athens has going on right now. Party Party Partners [an Athens-based production company] have been throwing the best dance parties in Athens for awhile now. Kids in Muuy Biien and everybody in the Birdhouse Collection are blowing everyone away recently. New Madrid taking over. Blue Divisions, Cam's punk band, and Sad Dads might be the saddest bands in Athens, and probably the saddest in Atlanta too.
What's the best Athens food to eat when we all start playing there?
MW: All about that Yummy Pho. There's also this real good $1.50 taco place next to a chicken plant that has the best lengua in town.
Y'all have some favorite Athens bands?
MW: Pretty Bird, the Humms, and Muuy Biien are rad.
CE: Cult of Riggonia, Shade.
How can we increase Athens-Atlanta show trades?
CE: Show-swaps can increase if bands recognize that collaborating for booking is more than just booking. It's about getting people out to support a band that you've brought from out of town. Work with bands that you actually like!
Come see some of the best that Athens has to offer this Thursday at Star Bar. Share your horror stories and make new band buds, too.
Muuy Biien, Bubbly Mommy Gun, the Dream Scene, New Madrid, Brain, the Rodney Kings, Sad Dads, and Blue Division play the Star Bar tonight. Free. 9 p.m. 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018.
Billy Mitchell is a fella who, even after three years, still feels brand new to Georgia. He plays drums in the band Carnivores, and elsewhere around town - in basements, bars, fancy restaurants, and living room floors - and tries to experience all that Atlanta has to offer. He loves the friends he's met, the veggies he's grown, and the music he's played.
*Christ, Lord sorry
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