Features / Retrospective

Retrospective | Pylon

A welcome return for Golden Oldies here on Don’t Dance Her Down Boys and the first band to be featured are Pylon, the Athens, Georgia new wave band that were a huge part of the Athens post punk scene.

Pylon formed in 1978 when guitarist, Randell Bewley, bassist, Michael Lachowski, and drummer, Curtis Crowe, came together to form a band after meeting as art students at the University of Georgia. Vocalist Vanessa Briscoe, also an art student at the university, was chosen after the guys held auditions for a singer.

Pylon’s brand of post-punk, raucous music won them famous fans like Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, Talking Heads and the B-52s who helped the band promote their music across America.  REM drummer, Bill Berry, described Pylon as “the best rock n roll band in America”.

While the thundering bass of Lachowski and jangling guitar of Bewley were certainly catchy, it was, without a doubt, Briscoe’s vocals, that veered from sweet and docile to raw and dominant in a heartbeat, that made the band. This can be heard best in the band’s most recognisable song ‘Stop It’.  In the call “No rock n roll now, no rock n roll now” I hear the yelps of Karen O and the squeals of Allison Wolfe.

After two albums and a lot of touring Pylon had grown tired of playing and resented the fact that the music they had once loved had become more of a business and a chore. The final straw came when the band opened for U2 on the first leg of their US tour. They were disheartened with the music business and decided to break up in 1983.
Pylon reformed in 1989 and broke up again, releasing the LP Chain on the way. They finally came back together in 2004 to play at Little King’s Shuffle Club. The band continued playing until guitarist Bewley sadly passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2009.
Pylon certainly are not a household name like many of their contemporaries later became but they can most definitely get away with the title of “the best rock n roll band in America”.  Anyway they wouldn’t wanna  be a throwaway name on everyone’s tongue. They knew what they were making was more than that.
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