Swimming Pool Q’s

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.

Buy their music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

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.


Jack Logan #1329

Jack Logan is known for his comics as much as his music, starting with his “Pete Buck Superhero” series in the 1980s.  While the reluctant hero of the series may not have warmed to the idea right away, R.E.M. fans in Atlanta flocked to local record stores for the cult-series comic, which was kept in the glass case at check out, full of thumbprints from everyone who just wanted to see it.  Logan never stops creating, and his most recent album is with noted luthier, Scott Baxendale of Baxendale Guitar in Athens (formerly, Colorado).  Logan accurately describes his vocals, include the Elvis Costello-ish “Lounge Downtown” and “Erased,” references a part of Athens called Normaltown, all through a filter of psychedelic rock and “Athens rock.”  If you don’t crack up listening to “Run For Your Life,” you probably did not find Pulp Fiction funny, either.  (You might not know the local connotation, but in Athens, it’s “see you at the rock show.”)  With guest appearances from several former & current members of the Drive-By Truckers, this rock record may not be on your radar, but needs to be in your collection.

Liner Notes

The Deadfields

Country Fried Rock alumni, The Deadfields, have a new album out!

There are 3 songs in this set that you can download!

Buy The Deadfields first album Dance in the Sun here.

We first heard them at our favorite festival, Albino Skunk Fest (formerly with “Bluegrass” in the name), which is held each spring and fall in Greer, South Carolina, between Greenville and Spartanburg. It’s a small-ish event on private property with the most incredible band lineups on the planet.

Scarred But Smarter: The Life and Times of Drivin N Cryin (Film Trailer)

I am not associated with the makers of this film or the film itself.

(I did co-executive produce a music video for Drivin N Cryin with my brother, Jonathan Spencer, last year.)

We featured a great conversation with Kevn Kinney, just before Drivin N Cryin re-formed a couple years ago. Listen to it HERE.

This is rock and roll, y’all. NSFW. Explicit Language!

I have not seen the film, but I am pretty sure I’ll need to take a box of kleenex with me to watch it. We used to go to every show they did in Atlanta. R.E.M. were regional (national?) stars by then, but Drivin N Cryin were our hometown rockers. I will always love them.

Acceleration ’86? from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

Excerpt: Scarred but Smarter from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

The Innocent (Edit 1) from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

Kevn Kinney On Meeting Fan Expectations from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

Fly Me Courageous from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

Dirty Angels (Macon)T2 from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

Pre-Approved Pre-Denied from Eric Von Haessler on Vimeo.

What did Drivin N Cryin do for you?

Drivin N Cryin EP #2: Songs About Cars, Space, & The Ramones

Just got the second of Drivin N Cryin’s planned 4 EPs over the next year or so, Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones.

I love the concept EP’s that they are doing. I think that people who always thought their songs were all over the map might “get” the band better this way, but also, it’s a cool way to see how versatile of a songwriter Kevn Kinney is. I like “Acceleration” and “Space Eyes” the best, but “Out Here in the Middle of Nowhere” certainly relates to my personal experience as well.

Grab this EP at the links above or Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones – EP – Drivin N Cryin on iTunes.

#1248 Michelle Malone

Michelle Malone was part of the Atlanta music scene that evolved from the Indigo Girls’ success, enjoying national attention for the music of Shawn Mullins, Tinsley Ellis, and Drivin N Cryin, with her band at the time, Drag the River. The confluence of blues-tinged Southern music at the time made for an exciting music scene, that was later replaced by the still-dominant hiphop scene. Atlanta is a weird place filled with temporary residents who are not from the area, but it is also a collection of neighborhoods with their own identities and people who are part of the arts culture and give different places their distinct vibes. It is from the latter community that Michelle Malone emerges, not as an ingenue, but as the definition of the Atlanta rock sound–Southern, blues-touched, guitar-driven, but still about the song.

When Malone decided to record her most recent album, Day 2, she called upon her long-time friend, Shawn Mullins, to produce. Mullins and Malone collaborated to include their friends in the project, including Gerry Hansen (as co-producer), Phil Skipper, Tom Ryan, Trish Land, Chuck Leavell, Marty Kearns, Glen Matullo, and Randall Bramblett. Pretty much everyone who has ever been in the Atlanta roots scene has played with one or more of these stellar musicians. Malone knew her songs and vision were in excellent hands, and sought out their ideas and guidance in the recording process.

Currently, Day 2 is available in limited release directly from Malone’s website. She has released music within the spectrum of independent to labels and back again, finding the “new normal” DIY allows the artist to retain creative control. Michelle Malone plays regularly, both solo and with her band. If you get a chance to see her, you should try to catch a show in each setting, as the songs adapt to the venue, and bring fresh sounds with each format–more Southern than bluesy this time around. Malone is a player and songwriter that should be as recognizable to roots music fans as Bonnie Raitt is to blues rock fans.

Please support the musicians by purchasing their music through these Amazon and iTunes links. A small portion of your purchase also supports this radio show, at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

  • Michelle Malone Day 2 currently only available for purchase via her website. National release expected mid-2013. Michelle Malone
  • Indigo Girls “I Don’t Wanna Know” selected from Strange Fire because it is co-written with Michelle. Indigo Girls
  • Shawn Mullins produced Malone’s current album. Shawn Mullins
  • Callaghan also on Cayamo 2013, as well as another album produced by Mullins. Callaghan
  • Drivin N Cryin “Honeysuckle Blue” from Mystery Road chosen because Malone’s vocals are distinctly essential in this song. Drivin' n' Cryin'
  • Sea Level chosen because of Chuck Leavell, the keyboard player most known for his stint in the early 1970’s with the Allman Brothers Band, who also played on Malone’s album.  Sea Level, from C. Leavell, was his mid-late 1970’s band that garnered Southern recognition, but not national attention. Sea Level
  • Linda Ronstadt was Malone’s gateway to the music of Little Feat, Hank Williams, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Neil Young, and more. Linda Ronstadt
  • Little Feat quintessential Southern fusion band, defying genre and beloved to many. Little Feat


Drivin N Cryin at The Tabernacle, Atlanta

The Tabernacle, Atlanta
Drivin N Cryin
Opening act: Shovels and Rope
Stay tuned–lots of video from this show to come…

Pylon: Full Set from 2005

I loved Pylon. I remember their 10th anniversary party in Atlanta. Wow.

R.E.M. at 688 Club

Thanks to Slicing Up Eyeballs for originally posting this amazing video.

I have a bootleg album of a show from this era. Almost all cover songs, which I obsessively researched to learn about.

#1228 The District Attorneys

Enjoy a new FREE EP from The District Attorneys!

The District Attorneys live across north Georgia, ranging from Atlanta to Athens, managing to bridge the musical divide of these very different cities–one that is Read More