What All Went On
*** slightly slanted memory *** my first memories of athens *** Hear the Method Actors! *** saved from a crazed redneck *** Look at us, ain't we neat *** Night of the Red sticks *** I partied at Beaver Mansion *** a little trailer behind Wax *** raid the dempsy dumpster *** playing our very first show *** He hollered "WHOA, MULE!" *** the Barber Street Motor Club *** the start of the Athens music scene *** wonderful things happening on roofs... *** I remember both too much and too little *** Friend Ship *** I couldnt get in because of my age *** later i was out of my mind ***
*** I was known as Mark Phredd *** Random Memory Fragments 1977-1981 *** my own slant on some of the same events *** living and sweltering at Stichcraft *** Automatic Gallery Image of the Moment Slideshow *** my first great winter in Athens *** Tyrone's burning down with all our tabs! *** turn on the hose in my living room *** secret meetings of the Barber Street Mens Club *** The tall, shaggy-haired clerk in a black trenchcoat *** PARTY TALK *** A Few Unclaimed Party Memories *** Groundhogs Day, 1979 *** "put mustard on them then they aren't so bad" *** The Arnoldsville Swim Club ***
*** a little farther down Barber Street *** LOVEMETHODREMHER... *** our moonshine had turned to poison *** my sweetest Athens moments involved boys *** We were called Looking for Mr. Donut. *** naked only hiding ourselves with trench coats & boots *** Easter Punch *** the grey house across from 169 *** I came from Columbia, SC in June, 1986
Stream your Conscious
Write a story,
I was known as Mark Phredd (which is not my real name - not too many ATHENS people know that) when I lived in Athens from September 1976 (UGA freshman) through July 1982 (UGA dropout yet thoroughly educated). So much is a blur now. I have been living in NYC all that time and the sensory overload I experience on a day to day basis sort of has dulled my memory cells. But for some reason, more than anything Carol Levy comes to mind.
I have this story of how once we were going to test if I were totally gay or somewhat bisexual . . . though we both believed that I was extremely queer so we were going have sex she was femininely boyish in my opinion . . . but it wasnt working, so she drew a smiley face on the head of my dick (I told LJM earlier today that it was my balls - but I distinctly remember now that it was on the meat not the potatoes) . . . in a vain attempt to get me excited (or in a vain attempt to humiliate me) but I probably should go into too much detail on that story. . . .
I have another story about Carol, but I should apologize in advance for to anyone who remembers things differently, and with that in mind and also keeping in mind one of my favorite Southern aphorisms: Dont let the truth get in the way of a good story . . . just bear (bare? I never can remember that one) in mind that the facts may be cloudy - but most certainly the feelings are very vivid.
I lived at 169 Barber Street with Linda Hopper and Leslie Michel in a tiny room off the kitchen . . . there was a fig tree out my window. Is that still there, I wonder? Before that I lived on Meigs Street a few doors down from Rick the Printer and kind of catty-corner from Jerry Ayers.
I remember many times coming into the kitchen or the front room of 169 and finding Carol Levy sitting cross legged on the floor and drawing furiously a cigarette dangling out of her mouth. She was attacking the paper which is an art school term, I suppose. (I also remember sitting on Mrs. Bass' tomb in that graveyard next to the art school with Anne McInnis who lives a few blocks away from me here in New York and Lesie Smith(she had that Deadhead station wagon, remember? - I think she is a nurse now, pardon the digression but so many memories are flooding back now) Or else Carol would have a tiny pair of manicure scissors and would be furiously cutting out things for collages.
Following the death of Chinas Mao Zedong, the Group of Four were blamed for the events of the Cultural Revolution. The group included Chairman Mao's widow Jiang Qing. Years later, in 1981, when the Gang of Four were about to go on trial, there were posters popping up around town proclaiming Jiang Quings innocence with her picture and a headline that read, LIVE LIKE HER. Youre probably wondering why Im telling you all this, but Im getting to the point.
First I should once again digress and say that 1981 was also the year John Lennon was assassinated and, (to further regress) I remember being outside at the 40 Watt (it was across the street from Barnets Newsstand- and to digress within a digression I remember the male hustlers that used to hang out in front . . . they had BIG hair (feathered) and one of them used to carry a big brush around in the back pocket of his VERY tight white jeans) . . . Where was I?
. . . Oh yes, we were standing outside the 40 Watt because it was way too hot inside and you could hear the music pretty good outside and someone who was in a band (which could be just about anyone . . . though I was an odd-man-out because not only was not in a band I didnt even want to be in a band!)
. . . anyway some one came up and said they had just heard the news that John Lennon had been shot. And went up to 40 Watt to tell everyone and the music stopped and everything stopped . . . and everyone at that point poured out on the street and basically went into shock together. I think some guys who you would never expect to see cry were crying.
And so I promised to get back to the Communist Party and those Live Like Her posters. One morning, I was out walking around. I think it was easier to do back then. I went back to Athens twice after I left in July 82. But when I went back it the last time to visit Stephen Whitney, Athens had changed a lot and there was a lot more traffic and big roads . . . but at least finally there was a gay bar. (Anyone remember Twinkie Night at Friends at the Georgia Hotel?)
Yeah, so I was saying . . . I was walking around nowhere in particular . . . I guess that ambling is a hobby of mine. Just the usual sites . . . when . . . my eye caught something totally different. On the side of the Georgia Theater where someone had wheat-pasted those Live Like Her posters . . . someone else (a genius in my opinion) had glued Yoko Onos face over Chairman Mao's widow Jiang Qings face. Yes, Live like HER! Then on Broad Street . . . LIVE LIKE HER!
Another day, at an afternoon drinking party at that place across from the Georgia Theater I dont remember what it was called but it was a favorite drinking spot of Sandy Phipps (whose motto I believe was or still may be: Live Like Jim [Herbert]) but, I digress yet again it was there I think that I discovered that it wasnt Laurie Shipp as I had suspected but Carol (and maybe Sandy too . . . oh, my memory) had been the one who had did it.
A couple of years later C. as we called her was graduating and was going to visit me here right after. At the time I was living in Hoboken. I had gone to see Oh OK (C. and I wrote the song My Little Brother on their first 45 my only band experience). That night, I met this guy at that place in Hoboken where bands play . . . I cant remember the name now but I know a lot of you know what I am talking about oh yeah, yeah I remember now - Maxwells. Remember Mommi Linda?
Yeah, so I met this guy. Asked him out a couple of days later. Moved in with him the next day . . . and that was where I was very excited about seeing Carol again on her trip up here when I got a call in the middle of the night from Mark Cline who called me to tell me that Carol had died in a car accident on the road between Athens and Atlanta.
I thought that he and Stephen Whitney had been drinking and were teasing me. I was pretty mean to him telling him what an asshole he was etc. That that was not at all funny etc. I can still hear him saying No, Mark Phredd this is not a joke. This is real. Looking back, I now realize what a hard call that had to have been to make.
Once I heard him and understood. . .the shock set in. I believe that shock is one of natures greatest gifts to humankind. I guess I didnt want to believe it . . . she was coming to visit in a couple of weeks. I was literally counting the days . . . I mean she drew a smiley face on my penis, for Gods sake. We were tight.
The next day, I got a postcard from her in the mail. She had taken a photo of herself and cut it out to paste it on a pink index card. The thing about it s that in cutting herself out of some group photo (furiously, I imagine, sitting on the floor cross legged) . . . resulted in the photo of her being in a coffin shape.
When the date of her visit was to happen, I swear she came and visited and stayed with me for a few days. The feeling was so vivid that at times I would be just start talking to her - mostly in my mind. But even in public once, in one of my walks, I have no doubt that she was right there with me, keeping her promis to visit - I was heading down St. Marks Place and screw what people might think! I am going to talk out loud to my friend who was not there and there at the same time and I don't care if appear as if I am crazy and talking to myself, regardless of what anyone thinks. LIVE LIKE HER!
I have to admit that I dont think of Athens now very often. Like I said before there is so much to pay attention to in the present, that I have a hard time to remember the past. I certainly miss my days and life and the great people I knew in Athens though. Living was simpler there. Time seemed to move slower there than it does here, so that every moment of life could be savored if you wished or were aware. And in writing this down, I am beginning to suspect that it isnt my memory that is faulty but that Im so deeply wrapped in the rat race that I just dont make the time to remember.
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Random Memory Fragments 1977-1981
The guy who rode around on his bike with the orange safety vest collecting cans. I think his name was Milton. I seem to remember that he didnt have any teeth.
The day-old Little Debbie store.
Dumpster diving in the Belks dumpster when they closed the downtown store.
Deep depression when the stationary store in town renovated and got rid of all the old dark wood shelves and cabinets ant the upper loft area that went around the perimeter of the store. When it reopened it was all beige carpeted and had the metal shelves that any store would have. They also got rid of all the old stock that they had that must have been there for 50 years.
The two guys that lived sort of across the street from the Dunkin Donuts. The one always wore really tight white pants that showed off his enormous, really enormous cock. I think one of them maybe both of them worked at that French restaurant.
Dominique saying one time, Lets go to Russos and have the Parisian Potatoes when she meant to say French fries.
Hitting my head on a hatchback when I was pulling a keg of beer out of someones car and bleeding. Then asking Peter Cline if I was bleeding because I felt something wet going down my neck. I think we had just dosed and he didnt want me to panic so he told me, no. I think I knew that he was lying, but I didnt want to panic, so I just believed him.
Walking into the first day of Geology class and scoping out the room and deciding who I was going to sit near and become friends with . . . and choosing Linda Hopper. I thin the teachers name was Amy.
Sitting in the first day of English Lit 101 and Adele Madrey walked in scoped out he room and decided who she was going to sit near and become friends with and it may not been me because I was probably not cool enough for me but I had the sense to complement her shoes . . which were a pair of Jellies and were all the rage, she explained to me. And she complemented me on my good taste in recognizing her good taste in shoes.
Dropping in on Adele when she lived in that house with Vic Varney and David Gamble and she and Stephen Whitney were having a Bed-In, drinking bourbon or Jack Daniels and listening to Yoko albums and Revolver over and over and over and over and over.
Leslie Michel soaking grapes in grain alcohol that she got from the Agriculture Department for what? two or three days . . . to put into a giant punch bowl (which was a bathtub we had dragged out of the shed in the back). And then Leslie advising me, Make sure to get some of the grapes . . .theyre like tiny Qualudes.
Going on a watermelon fast (inspired by Dr. Professor Arnold Ehrets Mucusless Healing system) for three weeks and then breaking it by going to the Taco Stand next to the Dunkin Donuts and getting a bean burrito with extra cheese and sour cream. Dr. Prof. Arnold Ehret suggests breaking the fast with boiled spinach. I soon discovered why.
Sitting in the Dunkin Donuts watching that person who was the proto-type for Pat only blond and with thick glasses, make the donuts while coming down and drinking coffee when someone, probably LJM said, Fluorescent light was what led to murder in the home.
If you are unhappy, its Ingrids Fault.
Going to the package store next door to the Car Wash on Barber street and by-passing all the choices to reach down to the bottle shelf for the jumbo bottle (half-gallon) of Georgi Vodka, which costs something like $5.99 and paying completely in dimes, nickels and pennies.
Looking up gay and homosexual in the UGA library and only finding one book published by the Aesthetic Realism Society that cures fags by aversion therapy.
When a guy named Bruce started working at the Hobbit Habit and there started to appear a few gay books and finally a whole little section.
Linda and Leslie going out to a Girl Party and Stephen Whitney and Mark Cline coming over to give me gay lessons which consisted of getting me drunk and teaching me to mince and prance and cross my legs the correct way as well as how to look out of the corner of my eye and turn my head and look back. Then after getting sufficiently bombed, encouraging me to take down some of the black dresses that were hanging from the picture moldings . . . and discovering that I was not a size 4 when I busted out one (or more)of the zippers. Then expecting Linda to be angry, but instead she just laughed and laughed and laughed.
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Reading Jeff Walls' comments spurred me on to write my own, a thing I think I've never done. Certainly, by default, I share some of his ruminations, as we were partners in Guadalcanal Diary, and I have my own slant on some of the same events.
Curtis Crowe and I were friends from Marietta High School. Curtis was a year older than me (he, in fact, still is) and moved to Athens somewhere around '75 or so. That was a catalyst for many visits on my part to Athens from 75-77, not to mention the other Mariettans who had relocated to, more or less, attend UGA.
Which brings me much too early to a side note about the Marietta influence on what became the Athens "scene" in those days.
Many people know David McNair, as he was a member of Oh OK, Magnapop, Billy James, etc. A fine fellow, a fine drummer, and someone I am happy to call a friend to this day. Others recall his older brother Brian McNair, another fine fellow who was present during many seminal events in Athens music history, though not a musician per se, and who I am also privileged to call my friend. The McNair brother who made the most significant impact on Athens culture in that embryonic period, however, was Russell McNair, David and Brians' older brother.
Russell would've hit Athens around '73. It's hard to describe Russell: tall, reserved, and quiet, with a permanent and deranged glint in his eye. To paraphrase Jonanthan Richman, he "understood the European things/ from 1943."
Russell was a painter and a writer; in fact he and I wrote a number of wordy "collaborations" heavily influenced by Raymond Roussel and Harry Mathews. Very Dada, typical sophomoric yiyak stuff that will, happily, never see the light of day.
Enough. What Russell brought to Athens was an attitude. And he brought it early. Way early. Legend has it that a renowned art teacher at UGA told him in one way or another that he had no talent, and that it was the instrument of his collapse. I don't know the validity of that tale, but I can tell you that Russell was beyond talent. He was a movement. He influenced many with his approach to art in a way that is incalculable. And, more significantly, his wayward lifestyle and attitude permeated late 70's Athens.
It is ephemeral and difficult to quantify Russell McNairs' impact on Athens. He didn't DO anything specific. He lived. He interacted. He was a presence.
I think of Ian Curtis in a way. Ian Curtis recorded very little with Joy Division before be committed suicide. But he helped define an attitude and an approach to music that has proved invaluable.
Russell McNair did this too. He established, without meaning to, a lifestyle and an approach that he himself never profited from, nor even acknowledged, but which others adopted.
And he's not even dead. He's just elusive. And different than he was then.
Back to '77. I came to visit Curtis that summer. He and Bill Tabor were renting the top two floors of the building that now houses The Grill. In those days, the bottom floor was Schlotsky's.
Curtis and I hung out for a while. During that time, I met the unforgettable Nicky Giannaris. I think he was in the ToneTones at that point. Pylon was just forming under the name "The Responsibles." And Curtis and I were still bandmates in "Strictly American" as well.
Anyway, we did play that show that Jeff Walls mentions in his post. It was Hallowe'en of 1977. All of his reminisces are accurate to my mind. Also present at that event was the remarkable Rhett Crowe (Curtis' sister, my then-sweetie and still best friend, Guadalcanal's bassist and occasional singer, and, ultimately, Jeff's wife and mother to their children; yes, Marietta in those days lived up to the image of Southern, uh, closeness.) And, to my memory (although Curtis or Bill would be the authority) that was the first "venue" that bore the moniker "40 Watt Club." There is a haunting photo of that show that I would kill for. I'm still looking for it. An almost unintelligible tape of it still exists.
So much more happened; but we already know that, don't we?
As I have a phobia of social gatherings, I doubt I will be present. But thank you for inviting me to your party.
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Ah, the summer of '83... living and sweltering at Stichcraft. Rat & Duck theater around back and the bands and crowds keeping me up nights. Rick the Printer and the Coffee Klatch across the street. Skinny dippin' at Ball Pump after dancing our tails off at Tyrones and the Watt. Pitchers on the deck at T.K. Harty's. Tripping & tubing down the Broad River. Early morning green eggs & ham at Blanch's. Pool at Fast Eddie's and The Flyers at Allen's. Chilli burritos (xtra chilli) at the Taco Stand and the buffet at Chow Goldsteins. Swimming at Legion Pool. Keg parties on front lawns too numerous to mention. And behind it all, in the background... was the wonderful music, and bands that played just for us. Love to you all.
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I remember my first great winter in Athens. We were snowed in for two weeks. Walking from Nantahala Ave to the Watt with a bag of pennies and begging Jefferson to let us in. (He was kind enough to let me keep my bag of pennies and let me in anyway.) I spent the entire night sitting in the back room (or front room as it was) with Cyndi, Lynda, Freddie Vomit, Sheila and Eric discussing poetry and literature.
Walking downtown in the snow and spending my pennies on coffee and jakartas and hanging out with friends for days after...
The things I remember with the most fondness are those simple things such as the crummy little apartment Sheila and I shared that could be open with any key and was about as small as a stamp, sitting with friends at Russo's drinking coffee (Bob Russo died, just in case you didn't hear), walking to the Watt and back again, playing pinball with Lynda at work until we were both dead broke, running up Mount Potter to find trendy treasures, and music that was sometimes great and sometimes horrible, but always fun.
I can't wait to see y'all again soon.
It was a blast
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Lauren Hall: 1979-1987....579 Pulaski St - home of the after hour party following Tyrones closing for the night. Thanks Judy for paying for all the beer! ....Tyrone's burning down with all our tabs! The Easter party at 169 complete with a bathtub of majjikk potion which in addition to the number of other majjikk potions available created one of the most memorable and long gatherings I can remember. Working the bar with Ann B. - such as it was - all we did was pull tabs off of canned beer. Jason and the Scorches at that 40 Watt (the one that was where the REM office is now). Do you remember the punch balloons back stage at Tyrones - the ones with the little cartridges? Ball Pump. All night party at Glenn Chitlicks house (the ranch one with the pool that me and Judy couldn't rent bc Judy didn't have a drivers license and I wasn't gonna drive her ass to school every morning). Many many incredible memories of REM including Tyrones to Shea Stadium to the to!
ur w/ the Police to Radio City Music Hall -- my first ever limo ride - to the David Letterman show to the run down house me, Mike and Bill lived in after I graduated...Geoff Trump where the hell are you? Managing the Kilkenny Cats. Steve Fallon of Hoboken fame. Rick the Printer. The Coach. Black parties, purple parties, fig daiquiris with Linda and LMichele while hennaing our hair. The "girl's club". and of course the Tone.....that's what I can muster at the moment.....me now in charlotte, n.c., single actually divorced and no kids (thank god!)working your standard corporate 80 hour job......but still obsessed with the music............see you there.
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Adele Maddry- I loved Athens when I lived there from 1976-1982 in the last century. I was on the 6-yr college plan--in for 2, our for 2, and back in for the final haul. Since then I've had tons more schoolin but none of it was as fun as that easy college. School was sort of irrelevant to me then! ::We have a NYC/NYS contingent of former Athenians. The word on the reunion is spreading, along with sketchy information on people from those times and updates on folks I haven't seen in over 24 years. ::In NY some of us stay in frequent contact. Mark Cline's office is a block away from mine; Anne McInnis lives nearby, etc. Ken Bullock is still his fab Tony Jamesian self. Kate and other dear Southern friends live upstate near Woodstock. I am looking to talk to Mark Rizzo.::I am happy to say that my life is very good, but I sure do miss those nightly dance parties. It's so hot in the city today I'd love to go home w/friends, dance until I melt, and then turn on the hose in my living room.::::Greetings to Neil, Michael, Curtis, Vanessa, David Gamble, Mr. Ken, Mike Green up in the big windy, Keith and Cindy, Vic, Ingrid, Dorrie, Judy Shook, Teresa, Dana, Betty Alice, Ruth, Jeremy, Crist, and so many others who were my friends or roommates.::I remember Davey, Hunter and Stephen with great fondness.::Have a wonderful party weekend. I can't make it this year, but a giant dance party in the future would be wonderful! My best to all.
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Joe Thomas* Athens 1977-1982
Greetings old friends! I have just been notified that I am missing in action. Having visited the rewind website and reading the comments of so many, I have been motivated to come out of hiding. Just in case you are like me and have trouble placing a face with the name, I will make it easy on you. DebraLee was nice enough to include a picture of me in her archive. I believe it was number six.
Since I wont be able to make the trip across the pond to be with you, I figured I would give you an update on my whereabouts. As I write this, it is 9pm on Fathers Day. I have just settled into my chair with my pipe and a good tawny port. My trusty dog Buck(A Black Labrador Retriever named for a certain guitar player) is curled up at my feet. As I gaze out at the Irish countryside I am thinking back to the wonderful times we had in those halcyon days in Athens. But enough of that, I guess you are wondering how I ended up in Ireland. I wont bore you with the details. Being one of the few from our circle that was in the Business School, I put my Economics and Finance degree to use in the financial services industry. From 1983 until the market crash of 1987, I was fortunate enough to carve out a rather lucrative career managing the money of a few friends who had made it big in the performing arts (confidentiality and an out of court settlement preclude me from naming names). Any!
way after the crash and close to a nervous breakdown my physician (and the aforementioned court) suggested I sell my practice. With enough money to last for a couple of months and nothing keeping me in the states, I decided to grab my golf clubs and head for a well deserved (and medically recommended) vacation in Europe.
Well I am here to tell you golf in the kingdom is expensive and the money didnt last long, but I fell in love with Scotland. I took a job as a caddie at the Old Course in St. Andrews and managed to survive on tips. Fast-forward to 1995 and I am caddying for a lovely couple from Ireland on holiday and enjoying a round of golf on the Old Course. She was 45 and he was pushing 70. His second wife and quite a looker even if she was ten years my senior! Anyway we arrive at number seventeen a short par three known as the Postage Stamp (because that is about the size of the green) and damned if the old coot doesnt make a hole in one! Well he starts laughing and hollering and then he starts to turn red and cough. Well the next thing I know he is on the ground and not breathing. I tried to administer mouth to mouth, but it was no use the old guy was gone.
Fast forward to 1998. I receive a note from the caddie master. It is from Mrs. OShea (of aforementioned lovely couple) asking if I would come to Ireland to caddie for her in the womens club championship! It turns out Mrs. OShea inherited quite a sum from Mr. OShea and money was not an issue. So off I go to Ireland. Well it turns out that Mrs. OShea was as impressed with my mouth to mouth skills as she was my caddying skills and we have been together ever since(kind of Ashton and Demi before Ashton and Demi). I have come out of retirement and am managing her vast fortune and we are doing quite nicely. And that my friends, brings you up to date on me.
Before I go I would be remiss if I didnt send out some hellos to a few friends. To all the former Barber St. residents, hello! To all the guys who attended the secret meetings of the Barber Street Mens Club hello and smoke a cigar for me! To the Twisted Kites, happy 25th anniversary! And to everyone else that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know in Athens back in the day, Peace and Love.
Happy Fathers Day to all who are.
June 19, 2005
· *For those of you how stuck with me through that little tale, a few corrections are in order. 1. The 17th hole at St. Andrews is the par 4 known as the Road Hole. The par 3 Postage Stamp is the 8th hole at Royal Troon! 2. I am not smoking a pipe, but a good old ceegar! 3. I am not drinking a tawny port, but an Old Milwaukee Non Alcoholic (gave up the sauce years ago)! 4. My dog is not a lab named Buck, but a Bassett Hound named Barney (as in Fife not the purple dinosaur). 5. And I am not gazing at the Irish countryside, but the Kennesaw Battlefield National Park which borders my home of sixteen years in Marietta Georgia! For the rest of the REAL story you will have to drop me an e-mail. I hope you enjoyed the creative writing of a business major!
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Jim Tremayne: I moved to Athens in the fall of 1981from Columbus, a town that local gal Carson McCullers once described as estranged from all other places in the world. Dunno if she ever made it Athens, but, after one week in the Classic City, I began to share her opinion. I knew then that Id never really go back. I wouldnt need to because, at 18, I realized that everything I wanted was 160 miles away in Athens.
Almost immediately, Athens struck me as an easy-going place of ideas, arcane interests and people unafraid to pursue themsomething completely opposite from the socially stifling army-base town I where I grew up. In Columbus, it was my experience that even the fun stuff was kinda regimented. I mean, if I played a Ramones or Clash record at a party, the local Sabbath/Rush/Zep heads wanted to beat me upand it was my party.
Anyway, my best friends older brother, Kevin Bicknell, went to UGA, lived in Reed Hall and was an entertainment writer for The Red and Black during the initial rise of Athens music. I was still in high school, but he would always brag on these Athens bands whenever Id see him during his school breaks. Im sure I was the only teenager in Columbus whod ever heard of The Wuoggers, Method Actors, The TeeVeez, R.E.M., The Side Effects, Pylon, etc. However, Id never actually listened to these bands because, well, you couldnt. You had to be of age and physically go see themplus those records damn-sure werent available in Columbus, a place of such little musical curiosity that you could find Elvis Costello & the Sex Pistols in mall-store cut-out bins. Along with Creem magazine, Kevin turned me onto a lotta good music and, in those days before the Internet, hearing a recommendation or reading a review from someone you trusted went a long way. I was intrigued before I ever stepped !
foot in Athens. My first week there, I had to check it all out.
Entering UGA with its largest-ever freshman class, I was stationed in Russell Hall (a test of human endurance that I admit to failing). I never went to summer orientation, so my first day in Athens was also my first day in the dorm. After meeting people from Claxton, Moultrie and various Atlanta suburbs, I was exhausted from the all-too-instant-yet-kinda-cautious camaraderie. (Waycross? Norcross? Burningcross? I was getting confused.) So I decided to see what was going on along Baxter Hill. I strolled across the street & saw the Wuxtry record shop. What in the world?
Inside, there sat bins and bins of records that I never had the guts to buy in Columbus, or Id only seen ads for in Creem. (The Brains, X, Mission of Burma, etc.) The store was actually about to close for the day, but in an instant, I found a couple gotta-have second-hand albums for ungodly cheap (Ramones Its Alive & Devos Duty Now for the Future). But upon approaching the register with them in hand, I realized Id left my money back in my dorm room. The tall, shaggy-haired clerk in a black trenchcoat told me, very nonchalantly, that hed hold them for me.
No doubt, Id spent too much time buying music at antiseptic and impersonal places like Peachtree Mall, because I was actually shocked that anyone would be so cool. Moreover, he didnt wear it like some merit badge or act like he was doing me some big favor. But what he said literally didnt register for a good few seconds. Im sure I looked like I just fell off the turnip truck with dirt in my mouth & shit on my shoes. I was somewhat staggered. What did register was that I had entered a new atmosphere & I liked it. I was so out of Columbus.
Still, as I left the store & walked back across Baxter, I remember thinking, Its still hothow can that guy wear a trenchcoat in this weather?
I returned the next day & bought the Ramones record, but decided to pass on the Devo, figuring I could probably live my whole life without it. Different clerk this time, but the LPs were right where the other fellow had stashed them. I was so happy, but I never got a chance to give a nod to the shaggy-haired-trenchcoat guy, who had so blithely made my day. A couple weeks later, I saw him playing a Rickenbacker onstage. Of course
Now I view the fleeting episode as a strange welcome, a tiny signpost that told me I was in a much better place, perhaps a place that Id grow to love. I was right.
And yes, I still have the Ramones album.
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Child, what about the Beaver Mansion Halloween party when that guy from Macon put blueMan acrylic paint on his hands and face and walked around all night wearing a suit... Tommy Lewis used to go around asking people if they had communicators that work. Kinda freaked out the frat boys...Keith Bennett ALWAYS knew where the best parties were, every night...dressing in costumes and riding the bikes downtown, smoking cigarettes the whole way...full grocery store bags from the Potter's House for 25 cent...a certain Athenian leaving a thick trail of golden ginko leaves from the bottom of the steps outside my house, into the living room, up the stairs and all the way to my bedroom door...trying to sell records at those stores to raise beer and bus money...hanging around in the backyard garden smelling the scents from heirloom roses...making rose pie...did that girl ever figure out what to do w/those squash???...Blair and Betsy dressing alike, sitting on the stairs at a party and speakin!
g French--long before the Ed Meese speech-writing days...international coffee hour...A Dwarf and 7 Beauties...coming to Athens to visit my brother while I was in high schl--he lived around the corner from Kelly Bugden and Fred, who had sculptures hanging from their trees, around the yard and on the porch--some were Leggs stocking containers in silver...Paige Bynum was the grooviest girl on campus, wearing red lipstick and real outfits...Ruby and Ken wearing skirts and candies sandals, dancing to Shattered-love and hope and sexy sexy; Rick dressed in a RN uniform handing out cocktails from a tray...cricket man
POTTY TALK I've never seen that thing, let alone put it in my mouth...
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A Few Unclaimed Party Memories to Toss in the Basket:
1)The "Smoking Osterizer"
Daiquiri party at Maureens. The trusty and beloved Osterizer dies a smoking death mid-party. Trauma gives way to ingenuity and Curtis goes and gets his power drill from his VW van. A perfectly sized chop stick is inserted into the power drill bit slot and the other end into the bottom of the Osterizer. Party attendees take turns holding the Osterizer in mid-air as Curtis crouches underneath with the drill. The Osterizer works the remainder of the evening churning out some of the best damn drinks known to chop-stick or man.
2)KO Crashes Mens Club
Kathleen boldly crashes Mens Club at 181 Barber Street. With firm resolve and unparalleled commitment it takes 4 (or 5) grown men to carry KO out of the house as she spins and contorts herself with a determination not unlike a spitfire wildcat. While being carried out in a horizontal position by 4 (or 5) men she is able to rotate her entire body in torpedo fashion until finally being ejected from the front of the house. No renters at that house were responsible for the huge dirt clog tossed down on her sleigh. Later that night furniture of all shapes and fashion were broken and tossed into a heap barracading the side/front door to prevent women from entering. Only in the morning did the residents realize the back door had been wide open all night.
3)"For Your Love" by the Side Effects at Pylon Park
The entire night at this particular Pylon Park party was timeless. Michaels huge clear plastic sheet suspended 20 feet between trees with "Rain" spray-painted on it and sprinkler cascading in fan motion back and forth all night was brilliant. I still get chills down my back remembering Kit, Jimmy and Paul playing For Your Love.
4)"Wipe-Out" by Pylon at the Country House
With lengthy vertical fluorescent light installations by Michael in the Oglethorpe county house, and people dancing their butts off, Curtis lays down one of the most incredible drum solos ever performed to "Wipe-Out". One of the few covers I ever remember Pylon playing.
5)KOs Birthday Party, REM debuts
Although present, and actually seeing all of the bands perform, and almost falling through the floor on several occasions, it took reading about it in Rodger Browns book years later to remember it! What fun. Love lost, and love gained.
6)B-52s Second Performance, Teresas Party, White Lobster, and Roller-skating upstairs to Iggy Pops "Nightclubbing"
Returning quickly from a canceled Fans concert in Atlanta, and driving directly to Teresas house to catch the Bs performance in the living room... Sheldon insisted on having me to y! ell out for an as of yet unknown hit "White Lobster" over and over again. Only later did I realize it was actually called "Rock Lobster". Hey, Id never seen them play before and it was the B's second ever performance. Give me a break. Teresa, Tekla and John Beal were later roller skating upstairs in an empty bedroom to Iggy Pops the Idiot.
These are just a few unconnected memories... but at least it's something.
Of course the earlier Men's Club with Curtis and Bill teeing off goose neck Bud's against the wall, listening to Abba, the Silver Apples and Led Zeppelins "Presence", along with the obligatory smoking of cigars, ingestion of home-boiled peanuts with about a gallon of beer poured into the kettle, and the communal socializing and philosophizing about the current events of the day was a good one too.
And please let it be known for the annals of time, and for our childrens children, that the formation of Men's Club was not a proactive male chauvinistic development... quite the contrary... it was a reactionary event aimed at competing and upstaging the already formed Cackle Club, or whatever it was called, where all of the mother hens made a point of getting together without the guys to party down hearty. The men had their integrity, dignity, and honor to defend. It was their only option, and they did not take the challenge lightly. Fun was had by all.
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A Remembrance of Things Past (by Dana Downs) an article from the "Southern Distinction" magazine's Music issue. Reprinted with permission from ME. All dates are subject to be wrong.
Groundhogs Day, 1979
The Georgia Theater was filled to capacity for the grand homecoming concert by the B-52's.
Fresh from a triumph in New York City, our little band had blossomed into something larger than life. They were a breath of joy in the intense and dark punk scene, and the fans were more than ready for them. Everyone was there. Everyone brought someone. The show had turned into an event. Some artist friends of ours had festooned the back curtain with neon, and the atmosphere was more like a carnival than a rock show. The opening performer had slain the restless crowds with his quirky comedy routine. The Razor Boys, a heavy metal band from Atlanta baffled those same crowds (what were they doing on the bill?!) We all knew a drill routine from the incomparable Phyllis would be forthcoming, and then we would all dance the night away with the Bs. But first there was a new band making its debut tonight. And I was in that band.
Three months earlier I had volunteered my services to a newly formed, but already splintering band called the Responsibles. The cello player had up and left for parts and reasons unknown and the band decided to replace the cello with a bass. I said Ill do it. So I was in. I had never played bass before, but I was a quick study. Soon we had written about ten songs. We were practicing regularly, having a great time, but hadnt really thought of playing live yet. Then the B-52's asked if we would like to open for them at the Georgia Theater. Would we !! Well, some of us would. Our keyboardist thought we werent ready and quit the band rather than embarrass himself. That left drums, bass and guitar. Two weeks before the show and we needed a keyboard player. Hmmm...lets get our friend Vic Varney to play! He plays guitar, but hes smart and musical and I bet he could figure it out. Vic learned the keyboard parts, and we incorporated his guitar into several s!
ongs. We were on our way to our first gig ever! But we needed a new name. We sat around one evening tossing ideas around. We liked the idea of a name ending in tone. Like the Fleshtones, or the Deltones, or the Heptones, After a bit of discussing we decide that two tones were better than one, and the Tone-Tones were born.
And now here we were. Back stage at the Georgia Theater. About to play for the very first time in front of hundreds of people. We walked on stage and took our places. The lights came up, blinding me to anyone but the band. I looked at the boys, a drum count was given, and we launched into our first song. My left leg was shaking so bad I couldnt put any weight on it, but I had that bass part down. It was going well. No glaring mistakes so far. My eyes adjusted to the lights and I looked out into the crowd. Everyone was on their feet. Dancing! People are dancing to our music! It just doesnt get any better than this. When the song ended a thunderous roar erupted from the crowd. Everyone was clapping and yelling. It just got better. This is it. This is where I want to be. Right here, right now. This is where I belong. February 2, 1978 in Athens, Georgia, opening act for the B-52's! How did I end up here?!
Lets go back a year or two, to the beginning of the Athens music scene as I knew and loved it.. Id have to say it all started with the Atlanta band The Fans. Athens had local bands like The Normaltown Flyers, Toe Jam, and Zambo Flirts. There were also some world class musicians such as Randall Bramlett and Davis Causey. My friends and I loved going to Allens or Between the Hedges for the cheap drinks and good music. But The Fans were people we knew, and they were New Wave! They were cool, making strange new music and going up to New York to play at CBGBs and Maxs Kansas City where Blondie , Television, and our heroine Patti Smith played! We would get a group together and take a road trip when the Fans were playing in the city. Wed see the show, then hang out and rub shoulders with the likes of Brian Eno and John Cale. It was a very cool lifestyle as far as I was concerned. Maybe we should start our own band and do this! First there were degrees to be ear!
ned. The blessing and the burden of a college fund. The coveted lifestyle would have to be put on hold for a while. But not all of us were still in school...
My roomate Teresa had some high school friends that would come over and hang with us and wed play the latest new wave and punk music offerings from the big cities and the UK. Keith Strickland and Ricky Wilson would bring the latest records and wed all sit and reverently listen.
This was brand new music, and it was fresh and wild and it became a vital part of our lives. We would all drive to Atlanta to catch the Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, and the Ramones, since very few national acts came to Athens. One evening the boys came by and told us they had a big surprise. They were starting their own band. Ricky would play guitar, Keith would drum, Rickys sister Cindy would be singing along with our friend Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider from the El Dorado Restaurant. They were calling themselves the B-52's, after the slang term for the giant beehive hairdos that are still popular in certain parts of the South. The band was doing all original songs and were making their debut on Valentines Day at Julia,s party. In the meantime all was being kept under wraps. No one knew what the band would sound like, or even what kind of music they would be playing. By the 14th of February we were all in a tizzy about the new band.
When we got to the party (fashionably late of course, and dressed to the nines) the front room was full of revelers in their thrift store best, drinking and dancing and talking about the B52's. What would they sound like? What would they wear? And the all important question...Could we dance to them? The answers lay behind the big sparkling curtain the band had rigged up in the foyer. It was going to be a huge surprise for everyone. Just as the crowd was getting restless, we heard a familiar theme song coming from behind the curtain. The curtain parted, and there were the B-52's. Keith and Ricky were holding down the seductive beat of the Peter Gunn theme song, and it was getting louder and louder. The girls stepped out in giant white wigs and Kate began to sing..oooh ooo ooo...ooh oooh ah ooo ooo along with the music. This was not your daddys Peter Gunn theme. Fred Schneider stepped up to the microphone and began his talking chant.. She came from Planet Claire....!
The crowd erupted in a dancing frenzy that didnt stop until the song was over. Wow! This was great music! Completely unique, and totally danceable! The B-52's were an instant hit! They played several more songs (all they knew at the time) and the house was rocking. And I mean really rocking. The floors were moving up and down and things were falling from the wall. We wondered if maybe the house would cave in on us, but no one stopped dancing. After the show we all congratulated the band, and demanded that they play again soon!
We had our own band! And they were really really good! Heck they were better than most of those New York bands! We had to hear more!
In a few weeks the band did a little show for friends out at Curtis Crowes house, playing on top of tables and debuting a few new songs. As good as they were to start with, they were getting even better. The B-52's needed a bigger audience. We couldnt keep this wonderful sound all to ourselves. My roommate Teresa had just found a fabulous new abode, the old Jewish country club on Pinecrest Avenue in Five Points, and the vastness of the living room was demanding a party. She would christen this house with a big show by the B-52's and everyone was invited. Everyone came too. Old Athens musicians, Atlanta folks, college kids and punks all mixed it up to the great sounds of Keith, Ricky, Cindy, Kate and Fred. Their legion of fans was growing. A friend of ours was visiting from New York and was blown away by the band. He was fairly well connected in the big Apple, and insisted that the Bs come play in New York as soon as possible. He managed to book them into Max!
s Kansas City, and plans were made for the trip North. The band played a few more shows around town, one at the Last Resort and one at Stegman Hall, and the fan base was growing exponentially. The B-52's were getting bigger and better every day, but New York was a tough proving ground. Like Frankie says, if they can make it there, they can make it anywhere. They were ready. We were all ready. We were all going to New York to support our band. We packed ourselves into several cars and took off for the bright lights of the big city. New York, New York. The birthplace of punk and new wave was about to be stood on its head.
We arrived at Maxs the night of the show to find out that the B-52's would be opening for Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, a fairly hard core punk outfit from Manhattan. We wondered how the Bs would fare with this kind of crowd. The Bs were not angry, disenfranchised anarchists with attitude to burn. They were a tacky little dance band from Georgia, and we hoped the crowd would not eat them alive. We neednt have worried. The minute the curtain pulled back to the sounds of Planet Claire, the New York crowd was transfixed. They had never seen anything like this. What kind of music were they playing? And those hair dos!! The locals were not as keen on dancing as we Athenians, but they were very generous with the applause, and the gig was a resounding success. The B-52's were on their way. And they would become bigger and more famous than any of us ever could have imagined. But for now they were still our little band, and we looked forward to seeing them agai!
n on our own turf.
Things began moving fast for the band from that point on. They released a single, did some more out of town shows, played CBGBs in New York to a crowd of scenesters, and kept the music moving forward. Sire records was interested, and so was Warner Brothers. It looked like our band was going to hit the big time! But before they exploded out of Athens, they wanted to do a show for the faithful at the Georgia Theater, and they wanted my band to open for them. Things were looking great all around.
After the Georgia Theater show, the B-52's embarked upon an amazing career that continues to this day, and pretty much left this town in the dust. My band, the Tone-Tones was going strong, and being the only new band in town, we got the opportunity to open for bands like the Police and Joe Jackson. I had recently graduated and was finally living my rock and roll lifestyle. We played the first show ever at the newly christened 40 Watt Club above Schlotskys on College Avenue. A dollar to get in and all the keg beer you wanted. We packed them in and rocked the house. The show was a huge success, so we decided to do another one in the newest loft location above School Kids records. There was another new band that would be playing that night for the first time, opening the show for the Tone Tones. Our friend Curtis had joined forces with Michael Lachowski, Randy Bewley and Vanessa Briscoe to form a band called Pylon. I had heard they were more industrial sounding, an!
d had some fierce beats, so we were all exited to see the debut performance. The room was hot, and getting hotter with every new arrival. It was getting so crowded that people were hanging out on the stairs and on the roof. But if anyone was tempted to leave they were quickly frozen in place by the sounds coming from the front of the room. With no ado, and a cursory introduction, Pylon started playing. The bass and drums locked down in a serious backbeat and the crowd drew closer. Randy started playing a simple but intense guitar part, adding great harmonics to the hard driving rhythm section. Vanessa took center stage and surprised everyone with her strong and tough vocals. She had such a soft and sweet speaking voice, it was amazing to hear the power coming out of her. Pylon worked the crowd into a dancing frenzy with their thoroughly modern and edgy sound. I loved them immediately. They were totally rocking. Every song was different, but they all had the defin!
itive Pylon sound, right from the very start. I danced my
self silly, and I remember thinking how are we going to follow this..? Pylon had such a distinct sound, and clarity of vision, and the Tone Tones were a ragged bunch of disparate musical influences all guided by four very strong egos with very different personalities. I knew we rocked, and I knew we were good, and I knew I was having the time of my life, but I had no idea where we were going. As it turned out we were going nowhere fast.
After the show with Pylon, and a few gigs in Florida and Atlanta, the Tone Tones gave their final performance at Tyrones OC. We were a band destined to implode. All of us were trying to take the band in too many directions. Sadly we couldnt reconcile these differences and we broke up. I was heartbroken. I had such high hopes for the band, and now they were dashed to pieces.
What could I do but leave town. I got in my car and headed west. From Colorado to Nevada, I finally settled in San Francisco. I found a cool job, and I loved the city, so for a while I was happy. I even started playing music again with some Californians. But it wasnt the same.
The east coast was pulling me back. I moved to New York for a while, then to Miami, but finally I just gave it up and headed back to the place where I knew I truly belonged, even if I didnt have a band anymore. I knew I would be playing again before too long, and Athens was the town for me. I had been gone for over a year, maybe two, and wondered what was going on in the music scene now. When I finally got into town and reconnected with old pals they told me about a great new band on the scene. They were fast, fun and great for dancing. The band was still in the development stage, but had already amassed quite a following. I went to see them for the first time, and was particularly impressed by the lead singers resemblance to Elvis. They were a charming and melodic guitar band with good tunes and great energy, but little did we know they would become the new sound of Athens. Little did anyone know this band was going to take the music world by storm. A whole new era!
had begun in the Athens Music scene, and it was good. It was great. It was rock and roll. It was REM.......
To be continued.........
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I remember the first time I did mushrooms it was in Athens early 80's i was living with KO on Grady ave she wasn't there at the time or i would have invited her to partake it so it was just me and my friend Joel i remeber standing in the kitchen with these nasty looking fungus types and telling Joel "I hear if you put mustard on them then they aren't so bad" we did and they weren't for some reason i can't remember why we decided to hitchhike probably we didn't want to be driving tripping our brains out out to the 'hole in the wall' to enjoy are mushroom experience we were starting to get 'off' when a nice guy in a truck picked us up who had recently been discharged from the army and was loving life he had a cooler full of beer and was very happy to share he dropped us off of Tallasshee and we made it down to the river near the 'hole in the wall' things were moving along at a rapid pace and all we could think was to go down to the refreshing water and loll around in it !
was so all very innocent and delightful the water was refreshing i remember feeling so free happy and NAKED when i happened to look up to see on the other side of the river three red neck guys sitting next to each other intently staring at our sweet antics talk about a buzz killer i motioned ever so slightly to Joel that were were under observation so we both decided to float away down the river we laughed about it and decided to explore the woods in our fungy haze i remember it was getting dark and the great woodsman Joel who had claimed that he knew these woods like the back of his hand got us LOST this was not good because as i was coming peacefully down from my purple fog i was getting horribly HUNGRY and if you know me YOU KNOW THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING poor Joel trying to find his way out of the woods with a ever increasingly crazy woman who was getting hungrier by the minute when it seemed that all hope was lost and that i may recreate a scene out of the Donnor pass we happened upon Fowlerville where we magically had a car at our disposal quicker that you can wink we were on the way to that nirvana of cheap eats - TACO STAND where i was to recover my dangorously low blood sugar levels we gorged upon such delicious entities like quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, etc. a perfect ending to a perfect day
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My friend Glenn was moving again, like he seemed to do every 4 months. He did the moving thing so often he acquired the nickname " wandering jew". The place he was vacating wasn't far from my old cottage pre-169 Barber Street. That neighborhood was notable for a special bamboo grove, the choice of bong engineers throughout Athens.
Even though Glenn was moving to a place where I couldn't walk past the bamboo and huge wisteria vines that springtime turned the trees a psychedelic purple smelling like heaven, it was OK. His new place had the luxury to end all luxuries. Glenn's new place had a SWIMMING POOL! It became known as the Arnoldsville Swim Club.
Back in the good ole days, after a night dancing at the 40 watt or Tyrone's in the summertime there were two choices for followup activity: walking in the oldest parts of the Oconee Hills Cemetery, or swimming.
As swimming goes, there were choices there too. An apartment complex pool (whether you knew anyone there or not) & various ponds like Ball Pump. Getting arrested or chased down without time to gather your clothes had been know to happen at the pools. The pond swimming meant the possibility of cops with flashlights, getting muddy, losing your clothes in the dark, and getting pond scum cooties in your ear (or other orifices).
The Arnoldsville swim club had all the benefits and none of the bad stuff.Yay! It loosened a part of our skinny dipping prankster selves to expand and experiment. And guess what! No one drowned or got hurt!
One of my favorite tangents the "ASC" enabled was the naked party. We'd all be hanging out and someone would say above the din, "NAKED PARTY!" And everyone would take their clothes off. It didn't matter if you were straight or gay, skinny or plump, boy or girl, with your sweetie or not, everyone was in their birthday suit. Things got really silly then!
Orgy? no way. We would play birthday party games naked in the living room. Anything was more fun with a couple dozen naked friends. Marco Polo in the pool, belly flop contests, cannon ball contests. In the living room we'd play duck duck goose, telephone, and my favorite, Charades.
We'd play charades for what seemed like hours! Charades was a serious game- lots of calling out answers and discussion. It was almost like you didn't realize you were naked- but instead of just the emperor, the whole kingdom was naked!
One night the band at the evening's venue was from Atlanta, which possessed a much different social and esthetic flavor from Athens. A couple Atlanta folks were swept up by the spirit and accompanied us to the ASC. You could tell who was NOT from Athens by their punk makeup and black leather. They didn't swim much either.
Out of the group someone uttered the call. NAKED PARTY! True to form the place got naked. The visiting team were perplexed. They were clearly shocked and surprised. Some of them finally did get naked- but you could still tell, even without their clothes and makeup, where they were from.
The only time someone got a hard on playing naked charades was that night. Guess what? yep, from Atlanta! - Leslie
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I lived a little farther down Barber Street (and also briefly in Kit Traub's house on Pulaski - actually it belonged to Chatham Murray). I was part of a little known girl band called the Ghetto Belles then Jackie O then the Thrill Ho's. Deb Sommer, Dorothy Parker, Judy Long, Tilda the Terrible, Reece, the Betz....we were all members. I'm turning 50 the weekend of the rewind, so I guess I'm too old to rewind. Fare thee well John Seawright, thanks for the memories, and hey Vic (the "bad man")! LER
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LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVETRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVETRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVETRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVETRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVE TRACTOR LOVETRACTOR
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