When some think of Atlanta, they think of Ted Turner, OutKast, or the Coke Museum. I think of the Eyedrum.
The Eyedrum is a is a “non-profit organization developing contemporary art, music and new media in its gallery space” where, on two separate occasions in the early aughts, I played to no people. After my second bad show at Eyedrum, my now ex-bandmates and I agreed that Eyedrum was “bummin'” (“bummin'” was an expression we often employed). In the ten years I played in that band, this is one of the few things we did not debate.
I will say that the Eyedrum once let me sleep in their venue. For this, they deserve credit.
“Sure, you guys can sleep here,” said the Eyedrum representative. “However, I’ve gotta leave. Once I leave and take the key, you can’t leave Eyedrum and get back in. So don’t leave until morning. And, once I turn out the lights, you can’t turn them back on again. So, I’m turning the lights off now, and you must immediately go to sleep. Good night.”
Don’t get me wrong: Eyedrum did me a favor when I slept there. However, the favor made me hate both myself (the favor recipient) and Eyedrum (the favor grantor), as if I was an underage person seeking to procure alcohol, and found a sketchy guy with greasy long hair in the liquor store parking lot who was willing to purchase alcohol on my behalf for a can of beer.
For years, no matter how desperate I was for an Atlanta show, I would not contact Eyedrum. Then, I began receiving email and snail mail solicitations from the group. Unbelievably, Eyedrum had mounted a capital campaign. I did not donate, but one day, was so desperate for an Atlanta show that I emailed Eyedrum. “I am on your donation list,” I wrote. “You send me solicitations. Can I talk to you about a show?” No one replied.
Luckily, I was able to avoid Eyedrum this time in Atlanta and I played at ISP with this good Atlanta local, an industrial-ish outfit. Payment was not excessive, but people wandered in and out of the venue in a Downtown 81 fashion that I appreciated. During the show, the mic shocked my face twice, but I twice recovered. I even sold a T-shirt.
Still, after the show, I fled Atlanta and stayed at a motel in Montgomery, Ala. Who knew whether Eyedrum would find some way to strike again?