Sunday, February 19, 2006

Love Shack and Other Music Places Fade From Athens Landscape

Athens, Georgia isn't just the home to the University of Georgia. It's also the birthplace of college rock. In the 1980s it was here where bands such as the B-52s and R.E.M. first crafted their genre-defining sounds.

The music legacy of this town of 100,000 is so great, in fact, that 10% of its tourists each year stop by strictly to explore the music spaces where these bands first recorded and performed. The Love Shack is one of those places, but only its rusted tin roof remains--the same tin roof mentioned in the B-52s song.

As this college town begins to modernize and clear out musically relevant edifices to make way for condos and parking lots for tailgaters, many fear that with those razings will go Athens' very important musical past. For instance, "The Church," where R.E.M. lived and recorded, no longer stands. Only its steeple remains.

But even with the clearing out of Athens' rich musical structures, some remain hopeful for the future:

"We understand that change happens, but to just disregard the past is something we all want to make sure doesn't happen," Sleppy said. [Sleppy is director of non-profit music resource center Nuci's Space].

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