ATHENS, Ga. – On Tuesday, Athens’ 40-Watt club opened their doors to New Orleans based music group “MuteMath.” The group has been on an international tour since releasing their fourth studio album in November last year.
Since releasing their album, the band has been touring across Europe and North America. MuteMath has made several stops during festivals and television appearances, gaining a lot of notoriety on the way.
After their show on Tuesday, the Kennesaw Statement had an opportunity to speak with the lead singer of MuteMath, Paul Meany.
“It’s electric and new for us,” said Meany. “We’re very thankful and humble to have the fans we do and play the music we work so hard to compile for people all around the world.”
The band has become highly recognized because of the eccentric and vibrant live shows they produce. Since first playing in Athens four years ago, the band has continued to sell out the 40-Watt club every time they have returned.
“The 40-Watt is our home in Georgia,” said Meany. “We continue to get a great vibe here and the fans really show out.”
MuteMath has brought with them a vibe around the city that cannot be ignored. Debbie Wilcox, 25, is an employee at Hotel Indigo in Downtown Athens. She has overheard conversations of the band and their arrival in Athens.
“Bookings have increased here and a lot of young students around the city and in my classes are excited about their show,” said Wilcox. “I couldn’t get tickets myself because they sold out just a couple days after they went on sale.”
MuteMath was recently featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as they discussed their new music video for the hit single “Monument.” The video featured Charles “LaLa” Evans of Mississippi and how he developed his home into a monument for his late wife Louise.
“It was a beautiful love story,” said Wilcox. “It was cool to see them on TV mid-day, especially on Ellen. That really helped their notoriety.”
MuteMath has been featured on many late night television programs such as Conan O’ Brien, David Letterman, and recently Stephen Colbert. However, their passion for live shows and crowd involvement is what leads to their sold out shows.
Ben Jones, 42, is a resident of Athens and has been going to the 40-Watt Club since moving here in 1997. He is excited that the 40-Watt continues to bring back great artists.
“The music scene has never been dead here and that’s all because of Pylon (Crowe’s band) and the 40-Watt,” said Jones.
The 40-Watt Club in Athens, Ga. is one of the most prolific venues in the world. The club has become the centerpiece of music in the Southeast for 35 years and continues to highlight and deliver some of most beloved bands in the world including R.E.M., the B-52’s, Drive-By Truckers and Of Montreal.
The 40-Watt club, alongside CBGB’s and Whisky a Go Go, has been widely considered as one of the most influential music venues in launching American punk rock music and new wave.
The 40-Watt club was not always a successful, thriving venue. It developed slowly in a basement and transformed into a stage of awe. The small venue has been graced by performers such as Snoop Dogg, The Strokes, The Flaming Lips and Kings of Leon to name a few.
The name derives from its original setting in the loft of former owner Curtis Crowe’s loft in 1978. A single 40 watt light bulb hung from the ceiling of his loft where friends would come over to play music and party.
Crowe, a Marietta native, formed the band Strictly American and performed for the youth of Athens. Crowe’s reputation developed with the youth and Strictly American needed a bigger venue – and a drummer. Crowe formed the band Pylon and the location of the 40-Watt moved across the street from the original loft.
The venue has shifted locations several times, but now sits homely at 285 West Washington St.
Cameron Cox is a graduate student in music business at the University of Georgia. He is impressed with the history and significance of the 40-Watt club since he started attending the University of Georgia in 2009.
“Without the 40 Watt, the music scene and vibe in Athens probably would not be as influential as it is now,” Cox said. “It was like Columbus discovering America. Athens and the 40-Watt discovered music.”