Athens, GA’s 40 Watt Club burglarized; R.E.M., Camper Van Beethoven members offering reward
Athens, GA's revered indie rock venue 40 Watt Club was burglarized early Friday morning (7/28) and thieves made off which much of the equipment that makes up its PA system. Flagpole Magazine reports that they made off with seven amplifiers, eight direct boxes and 37 microphones sometime between 2:30 AM and 10:30 AM. Many of the stolen items are engraved with "40 Watt" on them.
Some musicians have shown their support following the burglary. Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery, whose wife Velena Vego is the talent buyer at the 40 Watt, offered up $5000 reward money for "arrest/conviction of the fucking lowlifes who broke into the @40WattAthens last night and stole the PA etc." R.E.M.'s Mike Mills and Jason Isbell have since each matched that sum for reward money, with The Mountain Goats offering an addition $1000.
Originally a nickname given to Pylon’s rehearsal space, the 40 Watt hosted DIY parties and shows before moving into a legit space in 1980, and then moving again in 1982. It the focal point of Athens' storied underground music scene that spawned R.E.M., The B-52's, Love Tractor and more. It has been in its fifth, current location (285 W. Washington St.) since 1991. R.E.M.'s Peter Buck used to be married to 40 Watt owner Barrie Buck. Watch Neutral Milk Hotel play the 40 Watt in 1997, below: