The Rock*A*Teens

When I moved to Atlanta from Athens in ’97, I wasn’t too thrilled about the music scene here. The one band that stood out (most specifically after opening the final Harvey Milk show in ’98) were The Rock*A*Teens. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it signaled the first time that good buddy and former Flagpole colleague Ballard Lesemann played drums for the band. It was that night I finally "got" the Rock*A*Teens.

Not to sound mushy, but I still feel like The Rock*A*Teens were the embodiment of everything I loved (and still love) about Cabbagetown. And the thought of having the band be from anywhere but Atlanta is completely foreign. I also have many fond memories of going to their shows that bring back thoughts of many people who’ve since left the city.

Justin, Brandon, Ballard and Chris, R*A*Ts circa ’00 (?) at the Star Bar

As a booking agent for a local rock establishment at the time, I put on quite a few shows with them. Always well attended (unlike their shows elsewhere in the country, sadly) and filled with a vibrant air in the room. Absolutely joyful. Those were good times.

I ran into my buddy Adam Renshaw yesterday and he told me of a documentary on YouTube about them which jogged my memory of when this was all shot. It was filmed and edited by Jef from Clemente. It still brings back a lot of good thoughts.

I’ve been discussing Atlanta’s music scene a lot recently and thinking of how many newer acts will be thought of in five or ten years. Of course, it’s not for me to decide, but I gotta tell you, I absolutely STILL love this band. STILL!

Slightly later R*A*Ts with Will Joiner on bass

In ’98 or so, The Rock*A*Teens had performed a lot at the Star Bar in Little Five Points as they were writing and recording one of their true masterpieces, Golden Time. In the days before the Star Bar was overrun by macho cokeheads, those were good times, I gotta tell ya.

Fortunately, pal and (then) Star Bar soundguy Curt Wells was recording all their shows onto DAT. Anxious to hear them, I duped them to CD and then made an edited compilation CD-R (high tech for ’99!) for friends called "A Major Motion Picture". I remember when I gave Lopez a copy (at a show they were performing with Superchunk that night at the club I booked), he went quiet, paused, looked at me and said "Henry, I’m speechless." Conversely, Justin from the R*A*Ts wasn’t thrilled with how "clean" it sounded which prevented it seeing wide release, but for hardcore fans, it’s absolutely perfect.

Included in this post are seven of the tracks from this release. Additionally (and hopefully with the band’s consent), for the truly devoted, I will offer copies of this release for a few dollars (just to cover expenses) to anybody that wants it. Just email me and thy shall be done.

Note: Chris Lopez’s earlier band Seersucker (with Stephen Tanner from Harvey Milk on bass) will be getting their own post here shortly. I just came across some VHS tapes of them performing in ’92 at the 40 Watt and it reminded me how fucking incredible they were too.

Second note: Buy the Eddy Current Suprresion Ring record right now.

Download the entirety of "A Major Motion Picture" here.

The Rock*A*Teens – Don’t Destroy This Night (Live Atlanta ’98)

The Rock*A*Teens – Freedom Puff (Live Atlanta ’98)

The Rock*A*Teens – Little Caesar On A Bicycle (Live Atlanta ’98)

The Rock*A*Teens – Leave What’s Left of Me (Live Atlanta ’98)

The Rock*A*Teens – Cry Crybaby (Live Atlanta ’98)

The Rock*A*Teens – I Could’ve Just Died (Live Atlanta ’98)

The Rock*A*Teens – Stand Talll (Live Atlanta ’98)