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Interview with Dana Downs, July 11, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Meeting People in Athens

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Partial Transcript: It's July 11, 2017...

Segment Synopsis: Dana Downs discusses transferring to the University of Georgia from Tallahassee Community College. She explains meeting and partying with several people from the art school. She shares memories of John Seawright, such as releasing crickets in the hall as a prank.

Keywords: Allen's Bar and Grill; B & L Warehouse; Between the Hedges; Creswell Hall; Mike Green; T.K. Harty's Saloon; The Circus; Tyrone's OC; Vanessa Briscoe Hay

00:06:03 - Music in Athens

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Partial Transcript: Um, so just going back to your...

Segment Synopsis: Downs recalls encountering music in Athens for the first time and shows at Legion Field and Memorial Hall. She shares her experience of the start of The B-52s and their first show.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Cindy Wilson; David Bowie; Fred Schneider; Joni Mitchell; Kate Pierson; Keith Strickland; Patty Smith; Ramones; Ricky Wilson; Sex Pistols; The Fans; The Talking Heads; University of Georgia (UGA)

00:11:56 - The B-52s

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Partial Transcript: And I think it was maybe...

Segment Synopsis: Downs talks about The B-52s' second performance at an old country club, then going to New York to perform.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Atlanta, GA; Brian Eno; CBGB; Cindy Wilson; Curtis Knapp; Fred Schneider; John Cale; Kate Pierson; Keith Strickland; Lydia Lunch; Max's Kansas City; New York, NY; Ricky Wilson; Star Records; Teenage Jesus and the Jerks; The Fleshtones; rock and roll

00:15:24 - Joining a Band

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Partial Transcript: By the time I got back...

Segment Synopsis: Downs explains how she came to play bass for her friend's band and their first gig opening for The B-52s at the Georgia Theater. She mentions having the opportunity to open for others, such as Joe Jackson and The Police. Downs discusses the rise of Pylon and her band The Tone-Tones.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Atlanta, GA; Curtis Crowe; Gary Kurfirst; Kate Pierson; New Wave; New York, NY; Pylon; University of Florida; Vanessa Briscoe Hay; rock and roll

00:20:27 - Moving to New York

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Partial Transcript: So I got in the car...

Segment Synopsis: Downs talks about moving from Athens to Reno, San Francisco, and New York. She details her time in New York, working two jobs, participating in party life, and dating.

Keywords: Chapter Three Records; Elephant & Castle; Elephant and Castle; Fred Schneider; Henri Bendel; Mudd Club; The B-52s

00:24:00 - Pylon

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Partial Transcript: I wondered if we could just...

Segment Synopsis: Downs shares her experience of Pylon's first show opening for the Tone-Tones above Chapter Three Records. She mentions why she feels Pylon was successful but never made it big.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Gang of Four; The B-52s; Vanessa Briscoe Hay

00:28:36 - Moving Around/ R.E.M.

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Partial Transcript: I wanted to go back, then...

Segment Synopsis: Downs mentions moving to Albany before moving to Atlanta and joining the band Vietnam, who later split off into two groups. She details her group changing their name and touring Germany. Downs talks about later moving back to Athens and meeting the members of R.E.M. She discusses R.E.M.'s performances and and Michael Stipe's singing.

Keywords: Albany, GA; Athens, GA; Atlanta, GA; Bill Berry; John Cale; Mike Mills; New Wave; New York, NY; Peter Buck; Tone-Tones; Tyrone's OC

00:34:24 - Performing in Various Bands

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Partial Transcript: So, can you tell us about...

Segment Synopsis: Downs explains that after the Tone-Tones split up and went their separate ways, David Gamble started the Method Actors with Vic Varney. She also details working with Go Van Go before breaking up and going back to Germany. She ended up lip syncing with the Soul Masters before coming back to Athens due to her pregnancy.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Montanablue; Nicky Giannaris; Robert Schmid; Silent Right; The 40 Watt; Vietnam (band); salsa disco

00:39:40 - In and Out of Athens

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so, tell us about...

Segment Synopsis: Downs talks about joining Crying Cowgirls after her daughter was born. She later moved to Charleston and played with NoSeeums. She explains working other jobs while performing in bands except when she was in Germany. She mentions returning to Athens and compares living in Athens to other places, focusing particularly on the art scene.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Charleston, South Carolina; Dashboard Saviors; Doug Stanley; John Crist

00:48:58 - GoVanGo

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Partial Transcript: So, you have such an amazing...

Segment Synopsis: Downs discusses being open to new experiences has allowed her to gather many perspectives of music scenes. She also details the forming of GoVanGo, forming a spin-off band with Robert Burke Warren, and why GoVanGo broke up.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Simon & Garfunkel; The 40 Watt; The Method Actors; Vic Varney; Vietnam (band)

00:54:26 - El May Dukes

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Partial Transcript: Shortly there after than...

Segment Synopsis: Downs discusses joining El May Dukes as a singer after GoVanGo, traveling to Florida and Texas. She reflects on her time with many bands, especially NoSeeums.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Nicky Giannaris; country rock

00:57:23 - The Athens Music Scene

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Partial Transcript: So, in the early days of the Athens...

Segment Synopsis: Downs comments on the the lack of women in the music scene and mentions many upcoming girl bands and influential female musicians. Downs discusses the openness of the Athens music scene and her experiences with gay men. Downs talks about her time in black clubs and explains why she feels the Athens music scene consisted mostly of white people, lacking soul and beat in the music.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Charleston, NC; Cindy Wilson; Fred Schneider; Jimi Hendrix; John Mark Taylor; Kate Pierson; Mystery Date; Otis Redding; Pylon; Supervixen; The B-52s; The Runaways; The Talking Heads; Tina Weymouth; Tone-Tones; Vanessa Briscoe Hay

01:07:54 - Vic Varney

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Partial Transcript: Can you think of anything...

Segment Synopsis: Downs details opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at The 40 Watt on their first tour with GoVanGo. She talks about Vic Varney's talent and dedication to his music. She also explains why it was difficult to work with him after long periods of time and how it affected his music career.

Keywords: Anthony Kiedis; Athens, GA; David Gamble; The Georgia Theater; The Method Actors; The Police

01:15:27 - Love for Music

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Partial Transcript: It is amazing, the passion...

Segment Synopsis: Dana Downs shares her unwavering appreciation for music from a young age. She explains that writing songs and playing with friends brings her more joy than actually performing, although she enjoys both. She notes that Athens is very welcoming and nurtures its artists.

Keywords: Athens, GA; Charleston, SC; Karpeles Manuscript Library; University of Georgia (UGA)