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Interview with Kevin Sweeney, September 25, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:11 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Where'd you grow up?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney briefly describes his family and mentions their move from New York City to the suburbs of Atlanta. He discusses learning to play guitar during his adolescence, emphasizing the importance of high quality sound equipment. Sweeney also notes musical influences like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.

Keywords: Georgia; Marietta; chords; classic rock; parents; strat copy

00:09:52 - The Nobs

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Partial Transcript: Were you starting to maybe think about putting a band together?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney remembers trying to get neighborhood kids to play music with him, and he discusses forming his first band, The Nobs, during high school. He also mentions his peers' bands and his Catholic school's response to punk rock culture.

Keywords: Coffee Concert; Nick Bielli; St. Pius X Catholic High School; covers

00:18:14 - Window Pane, A-Ditch, and Hayride / Band evolution

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Partial Transcript: So you play with Nick and these guys like right through high school?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney discusses moving to Athens and forming a new band called Window Pane, which lasted about a year. He also talks about dropping out of college and starting his next bands, A-Ditch and Hayride, which were influenced by three-piece bands like the Minutemen and the Meat Puppets. Sweeney discusses the changing membership of his bands as well as learning about the mechanics of guitars and sound equipment.

Keywords: Allgood Music Company; Full Moon Studio; UGA; Will Craft

00:29:18 - Athens grunge scene / Recording

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Partial Transcript: Those Hayride gigs- what's the scene like at that time?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney discusses the Athens grunge scene, which included the Fuel compilation and bands like Widespread Panic. He describes releasing music with Hayride and finding a label.

Keywords: Curses; Elfin Magic; Fuel; Pals Forever; Smelly Old Cat; tours

00:35:40 - Capricorn Records deal

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Partial Transcript: Well what was that like?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney describes facing challenges- including bad booking agents, getting dropped, and the company's collapse- after signing with Capricorn Records. He notes that despite releasing little music, the band was still able to make money off the label due to tenure clauses negotiated by an Athens lawyer. Sweeney says that the band became less active after the Capricorn incident although it never broke up.

Keywords: Curses; booking; label; touring

00:41:00 - The High Hat scene

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Partial Transcript: So the runs was-

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney discusses recording and touring with the The Glands and The Runs between 1997 and 2000. He recalls some of the bands' collaborations and praises the musical gifts of The Glands' band leader, Ross Shapiro.

Keywords: Double Thriller; Drive-By Truckers; Kelly Noonan; SXSW

00:48:24 - The Sunshine Fix

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Partial Transcript: Bill Doss wanted to form a new band, which became The Sunshine Fix.

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney discusses recording and touring with The Sunshine Fix, which he says was more serious than his other bands. He explains how the band's sound changed with the addition of new members and how that led to its eventual breakup.

Keywords: Dave Gerow; Green Imagination; Peter Alvanos; Sam Mixon; the Olivia Tremor Control; touring

00:57:08 - Acetate / Running sound

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Partial Transcript: And around that same time since I was home and had a kid on the way...

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney discusses forming a basement band called Acetate with Ben Mize and Dave Schools after leaving The Sunshine Fix's tour. He also talks about running sound at Athens clubs, through which he met former Dinosaur Jr. member J Mascis and began touring with The Fog as a sound technician.

Keywords: High Hat; J Mascis + The Fog; This Band Makes Me Feel; guitar tech

01:08:01 - Recording

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Partial Transcript: What's Hayride doing now?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney discusses recording and mixing music for various Athens artists using 8-tracks and Pro Tools.

Keywords: Bill Doss; Drive-By Truckers; Green Room Athens

01:18:28 - Favorite Athens acts / Parties and antics

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Partial Transcript: What are your favorite Athens records?

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney and Pernice discuss their favorite Athens records, including "On You" by Jack-O-Nuts and "Dusk at Cubist Castle" by The Olivia Tremor Control. They also remember some of their favorite live shows, parties involving local musicians, and strange antics they participated in when they were younger.

Keywords: Dave Schools; The Glands; Widespread Panic

01:31:58 - Punk rock / Drug checks

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Partial Transcript: Your music was so hard edged, and I though Jack-O-Nuts were scary too.

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney talks about the perceptions and reality of punk bands as well as encountering drug checks on tour.

Keywords: Nick Bielli; punk; touring

01:39:35 - Remembering fellow musicians / The Melvins and Harvey Milk

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Partial Transcript: You've played with a lot of people who have died.

Segment Synopsis: Sweeney and Pernice discuss their relationships with fellow Athens musicians who have passed away, including Vic Chesnutt, Ross Shapiro, Bill Doss, and Mike Houser. Sweeney also mentions the musical stylings of the Melvins as well as working with Harvey Milk.

Keywords: Dave Schools; Dutch Ellis; The Glands