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"When you first pick up the guitar, there's a certain mystery to it that I hope I never feel like I've decoded."
--M. Ward
Oct.08 Cover - 688 Club PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   

Tony Paris: “Seeing New Order there was amazing. Seeing Siouxsie & the Banshees there was amazing. Especially when some of these bands would’ve played across the northern part of the United States, and never make it south because there were never places to play, and finally Atlanta was important enough a city for them to make the effort to come down.”

ImageAnthony DeCurtis: “I remember seeing John Cale do a show where the Fans backed him up, and it was incredible! I mean, it was these guys who totally worship John Cale, and it was just an astonishing show, and it was the sort of thing you would never see anywhere else.”

Brad Syna (manager, Variety Playhouse): “The Residents played there, and one of the guys’ eyeballs got stolen. They never replaced it.”

Doug DeLoach (then a writer for Creative Loafing): “To this day one of the most transcendent moments I’ve ever experienced was when they broke into James Brown’s ‘It’s a Man’s World.’ They did a gut-wrenching version that had the crowd swooning and some in tears. Guys with eyeballs for heads!”

David T. Lindsay: “I remember the Jesus and Mary Chain played until somebody tossed a beer on them 26 minutes into their set and they left the stage. I saw every SST band that played there – Meat Puppets, Husker Du, St. Vitus… You would go to 688 not knowing who was playing, and you would learn stuff. I saw the Bongos that way. They just turned me on to so many bands. I mean, I saw Fetchin Bones for the first time there.”

ImageJon Kincaid: “It was the Jags show where somebody up front was heckling the band, and the guy took his guitar and smacked him in the head. End of set.”

 Dan O. Farris: “Rodney [Chandler] from the Restraints got clobbered by the Jags’ bass guitar. He and I went up to give ’em an Atlanta greeting with a spit. We just spit our beer at them, it wasn’t a lunger or anything. And the bass player took offense, and cracked Rodney’s head with the bass.”

Brad Syna: “You could hear the guitar instantly go out of tune, and the guy was yelling and screaming. I was watching him walking outside the door, and then he just collapsed in a puddle of blood flowing out of his head.”

Dan O. Farris: “We let [an ambulance] take him. I don’t know if anybody went with him or not. We weren’t the most compassionate group…”

ImageRenee O’Hearn (688 bartender): “I probably started working part-time in ’81. There was Sheila and then Jerri, the other bartender. Then Jerri married that guitar player in the Restraints – Dan Timmers – and they moved to New Jersey, and then I started working full-time there.”

Steve May: “I thought we were gonna close in ’82, because it didn’t look very well. I pulled some money out of some stock that I had as collatoral, and got another $20,000 loan in the summer of ’82 to pay for the liquor license and taxes and stuff. And then in January of ’83 the club just took off. I can’t put a finger on it, I don’t know exactly what happened, except that by ’83 we were more the norm than outside of the industry.  I remember that Bill Lowery brought Alicia Bridges over to talk to me to learn how to be new wave!”

Kim Turner: “That Fleshtones show where the electricity went out – it was phenomenal! They were up on the bar, stomping for the beat and playing. It was so great.”

Peter Zaremba: “We played there a lot, and it always seemed like it always just melted into some big, sweaty mess. It was a tough place. You’d play, and there’d be precipitation coming from the ceiling onto the stage, you know, because of the sweat and the heat. I remember one night it just got so hot, and so insane, that we blew out the electricity twice. The place went totally black… After the electricity went for the last time that night, we just took everybody outside and played acoustically. And everyone loved it anyhow.”

David T. Lindsay: “It was like 96 degrees outside and 106 inside. People were taking off clothes, and there was a woman there in a floor-length mink coat! And she passed out, and had to be passed overhead from the center of the club all the way to the front door… I went over on the other side of the street with a bunch of people, and…you could hear the Fleshtones from the other side of the street, playing acoustic. And somebody, I believe it was the Nightporters, had gotten pissed off earlier, and they went to south Georgia and had gotten a whole bunch of nematodes, like 40 or 50, and turned ’em loose in the club. And they came out that night and started crawling on people, and people came running out of the club at one point. People made U turns on Spring Street and took off, because they saw people twitching and itching and stuff, and they thought it was an LSD freakout or something. It was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen.”

Kim Turner: “The what? Nematodes?!”

Peter Zaremba: “I neither confirm nor deny that report.”

David T. Lindsay: “Has anyone brought up Young Schizophrenics? Only played at 688 but they played constantly. It was two people. It was an elderly black man who did bird calls, and a young guy who tried to suck his tongue down a vacuum cleaner tube. That was their whole act. They were always fun to go see.”


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