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June 2006

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Athens, GA - Inside/Out

Additional perspectives from those who participated in the movie

by Julie Phillips

Mark Cline/Love Tractor

A resident of Athens from 1977 to 1990, Mark Cline started playing synths and guitar for one of the scene's original bands, Love Tractor, while attending art school at UGA (former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry played drums for Love Tractor before joining R.E.M.). Though Love Tractor played together sporadically in its later years, it didn't officially disband until 2001, following the release of "Sky at Night."

He remembers a little about the shoot for his interview with the band.

"I remember Mike Mills and I were to be interviewed at the same location - I believe it was Lay Park... so we rode to the shoot together... all the rest is lost in a fog of hazy memories."

Now living in New York City, where he owns an advertising agency. "We promote a lot of booze and underwear," he says. "Athens prepared me well for such a delightful combination of retail categories." While he released a record with a band called Daytona a few years ago, Cline says he only makes music for his own listening pleasure now.

Jim Herbert/Cinematographer

An art professor at the University of Georgia, "Inside Out" cinematographer Jim Herbert says the film was his second documentary. He selected the shooting locations with director Tony Gayton.

"I pushed for the most interesting visually," he says. "Some were appropriate as factual locations the bands played in."

And while he is still cited as an influence to some of the musicians in the film and went on to make 14 videos for R.E.M., Herbert says he doesn't really feel any nostalgia for the music scene that was. "I was never a part of it, just a friend of some band people and a part of the audience. I did like the way it put Athens on the world map, and I did enjoy making music videos for R.E.M. (and the B-52's) and other smaller bands here."

Claire Horne/BarBQ Killers

Guitarist for the BarBQ Killers from around 1984 to 1988, Claire Horne and her band mates were interviewed at Walter's Barbecue on the Atlanta Highway.

While she says the film seems like an unlikely candidate for a second life through DVD, "There are probably a lot of people who'd buy it just to see R.E.M. and the B-52s in those days, if nothing else. Heck. I'd like to own it for that reason," she says.

Now living in Chapel Hill, N.C., she's currently taking time off from teaching to be a mom. "I play the guitar while my 10-month old son tries to pull out the strings."

One of her band mates, Laura Carter, another legend of the scene and one of the most respected musicians in Athens for her punk aesthetic and completely liberated performances, died in December 2003.

"For me, (I'm) just glad there's a permanent record of all that stuff," says Horne of the film. "There's no exaggerating how much fun it was... when I'm killing time in the nursing home, I'm sure I'll watch it a time or two."

William Orten Carlton (aka "Ort")/Narrator

One of the few non-musicians interviewed for "Inside Out," was William Orten Carlton, better known as "Ort," a native Athenian who continues to be a recognizable figure in the community. He sells used books, is a free-lance writer and occasionally works as a disc jockey.

"(I) have lived here discontinuously my entire life. No place else is home."

He has distinct memories of filming his segment, which was shot in his former house at 274 Trilby Street, shortly before he moved to Nashville for a brief time. "I was asked to narrate, if that's what you call my performance. How could I refuse?" he says.

Of the film's re-release on DVD, he says "I was floored. It does me a great deal of good to go back and watch it over again periodically. Every time I re-look at it, I see something new that I've missed until now. And seeing other people enjoy it is great, too."

Having lived here many years, Ort says he's seen changes, especially since the filming. "The city is beginning to choke on its own urban sprawl. This has caused a loss of the innocence that was prevalent then. I think the film evoked this very well. More bands today have big fancy press kits and approach playing as a business; in the days of the film, everyone was simply out to have a good time. As with many other things, accountants seem to be running the show now, and it has robbed music of much of its spontaneity."

In the film, Ort calls Athens one of the most Zen places on earth, and he still believes it to be true, "... when it wants to be. That film really captures the essence of Athens as it was at that time. My only wish is that similar films had been made subsequently about every five years... we're way overdue for a sequel."

Julie Phillips is entertainment editor for the Athens Banner-Herald.




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