To say that I worshipped Pylon in my younger days is a gross understatement. After quickly cross-referencing them with R.E.M. from their cover of "Crazy" back in ’84 or ’85, I was sold. Within weeks I had all their albums, singles and even their 10" from the UK all which I purchased straight from Danny Beard at DB Records in Atlanta. Within a few more weeks, I was in the Pylon Fan Club which, to this day, is still the only music fan club I’ve ever joined. Hell, I still have my club membership card. So yeah, for being 16, I was immersed in Pylon.
My devotion didn’t change much over the following years. I’d receive newsletters (the era’s own "myspace" if you can believe it) in the mail, became pen pals with Michael and drove countless miles to see them in DC, New York and even Richmond opening for R.E.M. in ’89. When I finally moved to Athens, it was the week of their "final" show where they actually sold off their equipment to the highest bidder (the "eBay" of its era) through silent auction. Subsequent years living in Athens would just have the random Curtis or Randy sighting, but it was Michael who was always around DJing at the 40 Watt during those years. Vanessa was busy being a mom and a nurse, I only saw her once when Fred Schneider did a solo gig at the 40 Watt, but other than that, not a peep.
To justify my adoration of the band in the "lean" era of Athens, I was able to convince Man or Astro-Man? to record a version of "Italian Movie Theme" for their UFO 7" that I issued in 1996. I still think it might be the best single they ever released if only for that Pylon cover alone.
As my life has been, I was out of town when Pylon decided to reunite (again) a few years back. I blew seeing their first show back at Little Kings and all but two other shows. The Comedians of Comedy have put quite a cramp in my social calendar. However, I will say that every show I see by Pylon is still unquestionably incredible. They’re even playing a few shows here and there which, if you’re wise, you’ll go and check out.
Regardless, I have been anxiously awaiting their "Gyrate" reissue that came out today on DFA. In honor of "Gyrate" re-issue day, I’m posting a few live mp3s of Pylon live at the Memorial Hall Ballroom at UGA back in 1982. I was lucky to catch a rebroadcast of this back in ’95 when I was working at the university.
Play it loud, play it often, and be sure to pick up the reissued "Gyrate". Fidelity-wise, it’s been remastered and blows the collection "Hits" completely out of the water. An absolutely perfect album if there ever was one.
Pylon – Working Is No Problem (Athens ’82)
Pylon – Cool (Athens ’82)
Pylon – Danger (Athens ’82)
Pylon – Gravity (Athens ’82)
Pylon – Stop It (Athens ’82)
Pylon – M Train (Athens ’82)
Pylon – Italian Movie Theme (Athens ’82)