The Chunklet Music Preservation Project

Shortly after Plus 1:Atlanta was released, we established the Chunklet Music Preservation Project, Inc., a 501c3 organization whose mission  is to collect and preserve music and music-related ephemera for future scholarship and enjoyment. 

One of our first projects was to locate more materials about the Athens-based band Limbo District. For most people, the only glimpse of Limbo District was in the 1987 documentary Athens, GA: Inside/Out. Henry had pursued finding out anything about the band for the last 30 years. 

Over its two-year lifespan, Limbo District had a total of seven members, including Jerry/Jeremy Ayers, whom Henry had known before his death but was unaware he was ever involved with the band. Jeremy, Davey Stevenson, and Dominque Amet are all now deceased. Margarita Bilbao and Tim Lacey live elsewhere. Kelly Crow lives in Atlanta, and Craig Woodall is in Athens. With extraordinary help from Kelly and from Clare Butler (Now Explosion), Henry was able to track down the unreleased studio recordings of the band, as well an extensive collection of flyers and posters, including iconic band posters by designer Bill Georgia and original mechanicals created by Jerry Ayers. 

Additionally, we have been in the process of acquiring the collection of photographer Marlys Lenz Cox. Marlys had befriended Davey’s older brother Gordon (Teenage Jesus & the Jerks) in Florida, and she quickly became an avid fan of Gordon’s brother’s band. For her MFA show for Georgia State University, Marlys concepted a photo shoot of the band as an early 20th-century roving circus. That photo shoot was filmed by Jim Herbert, at Ayers’ suggestion.

On April 15th, the Project held its first event at Cine in Athens. Working with UGA Special Collections and with Jim Herbert’s express permission, Mr. Herbert’s 1983 short film “Carnival” was restored from the original reels, as were 20 minutes of unseen B-roll footage. David Barbe and Jason Newsmith of Chase Park Transduction did a beautiful job of restoring the audio. The short was screened, then Richard Fausset did an extensive Q&A with Jim Herbert about the film and about his career. Then the film was shown again, with the B-rolls and a video recording of Limbo District performing at the Nitery. Mr. Herbert commented that it was “on par with the Met” and perhaps the best thing ever done. When he saw how Henry had edited the B-rolls, he said that he now wished he’d used some of that footage in 1983.

The Project secured agreements with Bill Georgia and with Marlys Lenz Cox to reproduce some of their original works, with proceeds benefiting the non-profit. Over the next two years, we anticipate releasing multiple records and reproductions of more of Marlys’ exquisite hand-colored photographs. We are also traveling to Durham next month to meet with Barbara MacKenzie (Flannery O’Connor’s Georgia), who photographed bands regularly in Athens and in Atlanta. Lars Gotrich premiered the first single, “Encased,” on March 31st. 

The band’s story is fascinating, and unearthing them has felt much like resurrecting a beautiful ghost. 

We intend to show the film in June at the Plaza. Rather than interview Jim Herbert again, we will have Kelly Crow and Clare Butler, whose band, the Now Explosion, performed very often with Limbo District. Clare was very close with Davey Stevenson and Marlys Lenz Cox, in particular, and was present for much of the band’s life. Neither Craig nor Marlys are well, and it would be almost impossible to get either to Atlanta. Tom Zarilli has kindly offered us his help and support in holding an Atlanta screening.

Your knowledge base and history, as well as your support of the arts and music in Atlanta, make you a natural choice for moderator, if you’re available. We have not finalized a date, except that it will be at the Plaza on a Wednesday evening, when the Plaza offers a special non-profit rate for events. The total run time on the entire film package is approximately 45 minutes. (I don’t think I breathed until two-thirds of the way through it.) We strongly believe Limbo District is a hidden treasure of Georgia music, and we are excited to finally be bringing them into the light. —Stephanie Quinn Jackson