When I was a kid, the stop sign by Chastain Park in Atlanta had some graffiti for the Swimming Pool Q’s and LMNOP…much later covered by the trendy “Meat Is Murder” tag. I was fortunate to have parents who took me to see a lot of music, and this is how I ended up in a beer garden (before that term was readily used) late at night in Little 5 Points hearing The Swimming Pool Q’s play.
From their excellent press release, explaining their role in the Atlanta scene at the time:
Atlanta New Wave pioneers The Swimming Pool Q’s are releasing The A&M Years, a 2-disc set featuring the legendary albums 1984s The Swimming Pool Q’s and 1986s Blue Tomorrow, never before on CD. The special expanded edition of The A&M Years includes these two albums as well as two discs of bonus material – “Pow Wow Hour” (a 17-song disc of rarities) and “Auto Zoom,” (a DVD with live clips, promotional videos, interviews and TV appearances from the period). The A&M Years is out on June 25 on Cipher Bureau in cooperation with Bar-None Records.
Praising the long-awaited Q’s re-issues package Jeff Clark writes in the June issue of Stomp and Stammer, “Listening back to it now, on this reissue, it’s clearly a masterpiece of offbeat , early ’80s Southern pop poetry-in-motion.”
Founded in Atlanta in 1978, The Swimming Pool Q’s were among the first generation of Georgia’s celebrated New Wave bands that included THE B-52’s, THE BRAINS, PYLON and R.E.M. When original members Jeff Calder and Bob Elsey were joined by Anne Richmond Boston, the initial configuration of the Q’s quickly established a reputation for superb musicianship and originality. With a barrage of East Coast and regional dates beginning in 1979 (including the Southern leg of the first major POLICE tour), The Swimming Pool Q’s developed the confident live presentation they have maintained into the present era.
The Q’s first full-length release, The Deep End [1981, DB 55], reissued in 2001 as a deluxe CD, was an immediate classic of the new creative pop sound being forged in Atlanta and Athens at the turn of that decade. The band signed with A & M Records in 1984 and released two highly acclaimed albums, The Swimming Pool Q’s [A&M SP5015,1984], produced by David Anderle with Ed Stasium, and Blue Tomorrow [A&M SP5107, 1986], produced by Mike Howlett.
“Visionary pop eccentrics from Atlanta,” noted Melody Maker. “Some of the most compelling rock sounds in all of America…lofty architectural style distinguished by the elegant and muscular guitar duets between Jeff Calder and Bob Elsey and [Anne] Boston’s rhapsodic alto phrasings,” said The Village Voice. In Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder wrote, “Overlaid with Calder’s unusually literate songwriting sensibility, this musical melange is one of the freshest sounds coming out of the South.” The Swimming Pool Q’s were chosen as support act for LOU REED on his New Sensations comeback tour.
Anne Richmond Boston departed in 1987, though she continued to provide her artistic and vocal expertise over the years, returning to the band in 1998. As a quartet, The Q’s released their satire of televangelism, The Firing Squad for GodEP [DB 87] and, in 1989, World War Two Point Five [Capitol/DB C1-91068]. In 2003, The Swimming Pool Q’s delivered their cosmogonical magnum opus, Royal Academy of Reality, over 10 years in the making, and they were invited to perform on the 2004 Georgia Music Awards television broadcast.
Robert Schmid, The Q’s first drummer (who played on The Deep End), rejoined in 2010 on bass guitar. The band maintains an active performing and recording schedule, having completed several new songs at the legendary Southern Tracks studio in Atlanta. They celebrate their 34th Anniversary in 2012 and, in August, launch a Kickstarter Project to raise funds for the reissue of their two A&M Records albums, The Swimming Pool Q’s and Blue Tomorrow.