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Interview with Mamie Fike, June 11, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:10 - Move to Athens and Long Low Rumble

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Partial Transcript: I just want to ask you to start when you moved to Athens and what you were like when you moved to Athens.

Segment Synopsis: Fike describes moving to Athens, Georgia to attend the University of Georgia on a music scholarship. She talks about being unhappy at UGA until she discovered the Athens music scene. She describes playing the violin in a local instrumental band called Long Low Rumble, mentioning the success of their first gigs. She states that Long Low Rumple started in 1986 and released one cassette tape during the five years they were together. She also mentions playing in Cordy Lon and Chickasaw Mud Puppies.

Keywords: 40 Watt; Flagpole Magazine; Michael Stipe; Spartanburg, South Carolina; college; education; orchestra; violinist

00:14:53 - Wet, Toast, and Hetch Hetchy

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Partial Transcript: Wet was my attempt to do the all girl band.

Segment Synopsis: Fike describes starting an all-girl band called Wet which stayed together for seven years and was later renamed Jack Pot City. She also talks about playing bass in a funk metal band called Toast. She discusses being part of Hetch Hetchy which was a band put together by Linda Stipe. Fike describes going on a national tour with Hetch Hetchy that was organized by their record company, Texas Hotel Records. She also mentions playing violin in Asa Nisi Masa and singing in Organ Grinder.

Keywords: A Capella; Michael Stipe; River Phoenix; bands; parties; recording; relationships; violin

00:31:56 - Changes in Athens and favorite bands

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Partial Transcript: What was the most fun you had in a group?

Segment Synopsis: Fike describes her favorite moment in bands, mentioning opening for Tracy Chapman with Asa Nisi Masa, playing a cancer benefit with Wet, and going on tour. She lists her favorite Athens bands including Porn Orchard, R.E.M, Oh-Ok, The Squalls, Pylon, Slappy, and numerous others. She discusses how she felt like she arrived in Athens at the end of big era, and she talks about being unimpressed and disconnected from the current Athens music scene.

Keywords: Billie James; Flagpole Magazine; Magna Pop; The Red and Black; nostalgia

00:41:40 - Musical equipment

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Partial Transcript: Could you tell us a little bit about how you made--what kind of equipment you used with your violin?

Segment Synopsis: Fike describes her struggle to amplify her violin without distorting the sound, mentioning various amplifiers. She talks about buying electric violins and stuffing her violin with cotton.

Keywords: Fishman Amplifiers; acoustic violin; sound; sound system

00:46:20 - Employment

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Partial Transcript: Maybe you could talk about some of the jobs you have had?

Segment Synopsis: Fike talks about almost dropping out of college to focus on music; however, her mother made her stay and finish her accounting degree. She describes working at numerous day jobs while she focused on music including restaurant work, cost accounting, and tax assistance. She talks about starting a health food store called Daily Groceries. She talks about getting a job at the library in 1998 where she continues to work. Fike also describes how her last band, Jack pot City, dissolved. She mentions how a friend paid for her to do solo recordings at a California Studio; however, the recordings were never released.

Keywords: B C K Chicken; Community Connection; Cookie and Company; Lumpkin Cafe; Mental Health Association; National Tax; University of Georgia Business School; education; record producer

00:57:46 - Athens Symphony

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Partial Transcript: I have still played in the Athens Symphony this whole time.

Segment Synopsis: Fike describes playing in the University of Georgia Symphony and Athens Symphony as part of her music scholarship. After college, she stopped playing in the Athens Symphony for a few years before rejoining it. Fike describes disliking the Athens Symphony as a student but appreciating it as an adult because it keeps her from losing her skills on violin. She discusses how she had great technical ability in college due to constant practice, but Fike states that now she focuses on the soul of her music.

Keywords: Christmas concert; fiddling; music education; orchestra; violinist

01:03:58 - Music education

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Partial Transcript: How did you learn?

Segment Synopsis: Fike describes learning piano at age five. She discusses learning violin in school after she was assigned the instrument due to a musical test. She talks about taking private lessons for piano and violin beginning in 7th grade, mentioning how her parents forced her to practice. She describes how she can only play guitar and bass by ear while she can both read music and play violin by ear. She discusses her previous dislike of musicians who sang out of tune before she began to appreciate notes as a spectrum.

Keywords: Converse College; double bass; family; father; pizzicato; suzuki method; vibrato; viola

01:15:54 - Experiences in the Athens

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Partial Transcript: Smoke, remember that band Smoke.

Segment Synopsis: Fike mentions other bands she enjoyed including Smoke, Dream So Real, and the Kilkenny Cats. She describes a house on Elizabeth Street where people partied, mentioning how the roof said "Welcome Sky people" and a man lived in the crawl space beneath the house. She also describes how someone lived in their practice space downtown which had no water access.

Keywords: Newt Carter; Rick Naylor; homelessness; interviews; poverty

01:22:32 - Racial climate in Athens

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Partial Transcript: I did this thing recently for Jeanette Rankin.

Segment Synopsis: Fike discusses participating in and later helping facilitate a discussion about race through the Jeanette Rankin Foundation. She describes the racial climate in Athens as intense and more divided than it used to be. She talks about how the music scene continues to be segregated with little overlap. She mentions how the controversy over the bodies found beneath Baldwin Hall increased tension in the community, but she states that Mariah Parker's election to city council is a sign of positive change.

Keywords: Hip Hop; Linqua Franqa; Spirits; University of Georgia; clubs; police; racial violence