Prior to my buying into the heathen bargain that is Los Angeles, ye olde Drunkard grew up in the wooded enclave that is Atlanta, GA. Recently, through the magic of eMusic, bit torrent and the like, I have been revisiting albums by ATL artists that I long sold off in the mid-late 90s in an effort to pay off various and sundry bartabs, gambling debts, etc.

Earlier this year I looked back at the Jody Grind. Today, I’m picking up the thread with Cabbagetown favorites, the Rock*A*Teens. Expect future entries on Smoke, Deacon Lunchbox and other weird and forgotten, outsider outfits that haunted the deep South, and Redneck Underground of Atlanta, during the nineties. I imagine these tales will reside somewhere on a plane between fact, fiction and half-remembered anecdotes.

Thankfully, whenever music gets too wonky, too precious and too self-absorbed someone has the smarts to dial everything the fuck back. Enter the Rock*A*Teens. Formed in Atlanta in 1994, the band, led by Chris Lopez, were the antithesis of the ubiquitous alt-rock dreck of the era, blasting out a strain of garage spun rock & roll that had absolutely nothing to do with whatever post-grunge was wafting out of car radios at the time. Riffing on the attitude and snarl of punk rock, Gene Vincent,  Pebbles compilations, the Mats and gritty Southern soul music with undeniable pop instincts, the Rock*A*Teens more than lived up to the promise of their name.

Between 1996 and 2001, over the course of five full-lengths and an EP (through various personnel changes), the band helped re-define cool in their hometown and beyond.  Whether discussing the Kelly Hogan or the Ballard years, the Daemon Records or the MERGE years, Rock*A*Teens stayed on message with their brand of haunted, debauched and, at times, gothic garage rock.

Revisiting these albums of late has been less of a nostalgia trip but instead one of realizing how relevant R*A*T were and still are. If you missed this outfit the first time around, do pay attention now.

MP3: The Rock*A*Teens :: Down With People
MP3: The Rock*A*Teens :: Black Metal Scars
MP3: The Rock*A*Teens :: I’m Your Puppet
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15 Responses to “The Rock*A*Teens / The Atlanta Series Continued”

  1. Could Super X13 be far behind?

  2. Thanks for this. I’ve always heard the Rock*A*Teens name mentioned, but never heard any of their music before. Also, this just reminded me to finally watch Athens, GA: Inside Out, which I’m doing now (via YouTube).

  3. love the Rock*A*Teens, I’ll take baby, a little rain must fall, and the track “ether sunday”. That track always reminds me of how insane that city was, dirty south, “spent the whole week burning plastic, coming down with the chloral hydrate”.

  4. Great take on Sponner Oldam’s classic “I’m Your Puppet”

    I believe Kelly Hogan sang the Cassie Gaines part on DBT’s Southern Rock Opera.

    There was really something great happening in ATL in the 90s with the Redneck Underground movement in Little Fives.

    J

  5. If you dig the R*A*T check out Chris’s band before this, Seersucker. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Do4AQ7UNtg
    fyi cover art was done by David Yow of Jesus Lizard

  6. God I love this band. I’m a “Cry” man–“Black Ice”is the best. Saw them at the Earl in ’99 or ’00 in high form.

    At least I think. I have a copy of the flier from the show and know that I went and it was reported that I sang along to many of the songs. But that’s about all I know about it!

  7. Didn’t some Atlanta-area artists record a version of the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack at some point? If memory serves, Hogan was involved in that one, too.

    The Rock*A*Teens were truly one of the best. Thanks for the memories.

  8. The ATL 90s music scene was amazing and I’m convinced it didn’t become well known because most of the bands were making such diverse and unique music it wasn’t easily marketable (unlike Seattle grunge).

    What a great time and place for a music lover to be young!

    Yes, Untidy Pilgrim- they did: http://www.daemonrecords.com/jcs/index.htm

  9. In addition to the late great Smoke, don’t forget the twee-poppers Babyfat that had a nice record out back in the day. I also recall some singles that sounded pretty fab at the time (not sure how they’d hold up now) from bands called Marcy, Flap and Bob. And I dont know if they were local to Atlanta or not, but I’ll never forget one great opening band called The Hookers, who were super-glammy and great, opening for (I think) Kicking Giant, or maybe it was Tiger Trap.

  10. Opel Foxx Quartet was another Cabbagetown great featuring the late Benjamin Smoke and Chris Lopex on guitar… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVyYY09HRE0

  11. Great Band! I had no idea the lead singer for RAT was in Seersucker. thanks for the info Huffy!

  12. […] this year I looked back at the Jody Grind and Cabbagetown favorites, the Rock*A*Teens. Today I’m picking up the thread with Smoke. Residing somewhere on a plane between fact, […]

  13. Thanks for the articles. Loved hangin with all those ffolkes in the ATL and ATH during those years.

    Lopez was also in Dirt before it became Seersucker – Pushing Rope is an amazing record. it just gets faster and faster with each song.

    Allen Page was the Opal Foxx, Dirt, Seersucker & Will Rogers drummer. he banged the shiite out of that small kit (Tell – The – Truth). I miss seeing that great smile beneath the hat… RIP my friend.

    Long live the Cabbagetown Clangers!!!!!!

  14. […] Hogan (The Jody Grind, Rock*A*Teens), Wanda Baker (Bleu Velveeta) and Dave Olsen (Atlanta rockabilly swing icons The Lost Continentals) […]

  15. […] it out in Atlanta with rootsy-jazzy-indie-indefinable The Jody Grind before moving on to the Rock*A*Teens, and then to Chicago, where she tried to quit music, but couldn’t.  Nowadays, she lives in rural […]

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