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Interview with Bob Fernandez, January 19, 2019

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:20 - Growing up / Coming to Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Oh, wow, we grew up all over the place...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez talks about how his father's work in the US Army impacted his childhood. Fernandez explains that his father also inspired his interest in music. Fernandez describes how he eventually came to be involved in the music scene of Athens, Georgia.

Keywords: Athens, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; New York; REM; Tampa, Florida; Walton High School; military

00:06:15 - Flaming Chopsticks / The Fit

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Partial Transcript: After Audi was born and she was adopted...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez talks about his experience as a guitarist in a band called Flaming Chopsticks. Fernandez describes some of the venues Flaming Chopsticks performed in during the early 1980's. Fernandez recalls that the band members eventually branched off to form new bands, which eventually led Fernandez to play as guitarist in the band The Fit which formed in 1984. Fernandez talks about his experience working with song writers Mark and Richard Peckham.

Keywords: Athens, Georgia; Blacktop Rockets; Mark Peckham; Richard Peckham

00:12:34 - Stella's Fella / Playing the drums

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Partial Transcript: And then, Mark moved to New York...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez talks about working with other musicians on the project called Stella's Fella, which was pop/jazz themed band. Fernandez recalls that this was one of his earliest experiences playing on the drums. Fernandez talks about his style of playing, which he emphasizes is focused on originality. Fernandez recalls that Stella's Fella broke up during a fight between the band's saxophonist and accordionist.

Keywords: David Watkins; George Davidson; Stella's Fella; The Grit, Athens, Georgia; Thistle Jane; Tom Root

00:20:56 - Drumming gigs / Big Head project

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Partial Transcript: And I think the project dissolved around '89.

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez talks about his transition from performing for the band Gravity Creeps, to playing as the drummer for a Band called Big Head. Fernandez talks his experience working with fellow musician, Robert Newton Carter on a project called Benjamin Kite. Fernandez explains that the project did not last long due to a member's unreliability. The interviewer and Fernandez share stories about working with Robert Carter.

Keywords: 40 Watt Club, Athens GA; Big Head; Gravity Creeps; Robert Newton Carter

00:26:36 - Three Walls Down / The Star Room Boys

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Partial Transcript: So yeah, I guess around '91...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez talks about the formation of the band, Three Walls Down, in the early 1990's. Fernandez recalls that working for Three Walls Down was his first experience playing for a band that released a cassette tape. Fernandez talks about his later project, the Star Room Boys Project which was managed by John Keen. Fernandez talks about his experience working for Screen Print Classic in Athens,GA.

Keywords: Building our House; Donny Graves; John Keen; Mark English; Mitch Mills; Pat Duffy; Screen Print Classic; Three Walls Down

00:32:33 - The Star Room Boys timeline

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Partial Transcript: But yeah, the foundation of...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez expands on his experience playing for the band Star Room Boys. Fernandez explains that after the band broke up, he came back to Athens, Georgia where he played with the band's re-continuation of the band, also called the Star Room Boys. Fernandez recalls that the Star Room Boys played for weddings throughout the state of Georgia.

Keywords: Andrew Brown; Bob Fernandez; Dave Marr; Jean Wilson; Johnny Neff; Phillip McArdle; StarRoom Boys; The World Just Won't Leave You Alone; wedding band

00:40:14 - The end of the Star Room Boys / The Heathens

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Partial Transcript: Back when I was playing with Big Head...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez talks about a back injury he received during his musical career. Fernandez explains that the Star Room Boys eventually broke up around 2003. Fernandez explains his decision to pursue music as a hobby towards the end of his musical career. Fernandez states how this led him to become a member of a band called The Heathens which lasted until 2006.

Keywords: Athens, Georgia; Big Head; Classic Screen Print; Star Room Boys; The Heathens

00:47:08 - The Plague

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Partial Transcript: Link, the rhythm and guitar player...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez recalls how one of his previous bands, called The Plague, reformed to make a recording of their old music. Fernandez explains that the recording was made for the sake of reminiscence and eventually led to the reformation of the band after a 20-year hiatus. Fernandez talks about the band's operations.

Keywords: The Plague; recording; rehearsal

00:53:49 - The Plague (cont.) / Musical genres

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Partial Transcript: We're working on a casual...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez recalls how his band, The Plague has managed to get their record partially recorded, though the band has yet to release an official recording. Fernandez explains that a major portion of the band's practice time is spent socializing and catching up. Fernandez talks about his musical abilities, and how different styles of playing appeal to him.

Keywords: The Plague; musical style; performance

01:00:33 - Musical content / Band operations

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Partial Transcript: The only things that stick...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez explains how the diversity of The Plague's music genres and content appeals to him. Fernandez describes the process of creating and improvising music. Fernandez describes how a band's group mentality is crucial in making group decisions and in deciding the flow of a song.

Keywords: The Peckham Boys; content; musical style

01:08:01 - Music creation process / The Beat Bug

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Partial Transcript: Later on, you could be working on a different song...

Segment Synopsis: Fernandez explains that some musical compositions such as riffs or solos may be transposed to different songs throughout the music-making process. Fernandez and the interviewer talk about how music creation can oftentimes be a frustrating process. Fernandez talks about a tool he used to use while performing, called the Beat Bug, which is a digital-metronome that plays the tempo at which members were playing. Fernandez recalls that he built a reliance on the Beat Bug that only ended when the machine broke.

Keywords: Beat Bug; musical compositions