Sounds and utterances and everything...

Pylon Talks To Mark Maynard

© 2003 Crimewave U.S.A. Reprinted with permission.

I first came to know about the band Pylon through a documentary film called Athens, GA: Inside/Out. The film came out in 1986 and I saw it at small art theater in Washington, DC, near where I was living at the time. (In case you're interested, that wonderful theater is now a wonderful Walgreens.) I ended up seeing the film three times, over three consecutive days. I hadn't done anything like that since Star Wars came out a decade earlier, and I'd done that because I was part of a gang of bored boys in the suburbs of Atlanta. With Athens, GA: Inside/Out, I saw it by myself. There was no social component and it wasn't because I was bored. There was just me, being obsessed.

It may not have really been the case, but the film introduced Athens as sort of a paradise for misfits, a place where anyone could fit in, have fun and be in a band, even if they didn't have innate musical ability or even know how to play an instrument. As something of an outcast, sitting alone in a theater, in the middle of a big, cold city, it sounded like heaven.

Whereas Star Wars introduced me to myth and the idea of an eternal battle between the forces of good and evil (I know that most people get that through religion, but I responded to the ideas in Star Wars better than I did to those in Davey and Goliath,) Athens, GA: Inside/Out taught me that you didn't necessarily have to know what you were doing to set about doing something. It was liberating.

Here, in this simple, approachable film, you met people you could be friends with. They weren't rock stars, but regular people, just like you were. They weren't pretentious (well, maybe with the exception of Mike Stipe). They were just normal people who wanted to create art.

They wanted to make music, so they got instruments and they did it. It seems obvious now, but at the time it was a completely new concept to me. At that time, I was not aware of DIY music, or self-publishing, or anything else that took advantage of the growing accessibility of tools such as copiers and amps to pursue, amplify and distribute self-expression.

I don't think, at that time in my life, I had ever owned a record that wasn't released or distributed by a major label, and here I was listening to music that was real, raw, and meaningful, even if the artists didn't have recording contracts.

Sure, I had records by the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Stooges, and the Velvet Underground, but they all knew how to play. They had set the bar too high. The people being interviewed in Athens, GA: Inside/Out, were speaking about the step before competency. They were talking about the spark of inspiration and the blind ambition to pursue your dreams, even when they run contrary to logic and experience.

Michael, the bass player for Pylon, described in the film how he and Randy, the guitarist, just decided one day that they wanted to be in a band. They didn't know the first thing about music, but they wanted to form a band, so they bought instruments at a pawn shop and a garage sale and they set out to do it.

So, here I am, about fifteen years after first seeing Athens, GA: Inside/Out, heading to Athens to record with my own band, the Monkey Power Trio. As long as I'm going to be in town, I decide to look up the folks in Pylon and see if they'd be agreeable to doing an interview for Crimewave. Fortunately, they were. What follows is part of the conversation we had that evening, in the quiet upstairs of the Globe bar in downtown Athens as my bandmates sat downstairs below us and drank.

Pylon, who were recently [included in a] Georgia Music Hall of Fame [exhibit on the Athens music scene], have been broken up since 1991. They had been broken up twice before that, but neither of those had taken. (I was fortunate in that I got to see them on each of their reunion tours.)

I spoke with Vanessa and Michael for this interview, but got to meet Curtis, their drummer, and founder of Athens' historic 40 Watt Club, later in the evening for a beer. Randy, I was told, does not do interviews.

Vanessa is now a nurse. Michael now owns a DJ store/design firm called Candy ( Curtis does carpentry work for the film industry. Randy is a teacher.

I should add that not only was Pylon an influence in terms of philosophy, and not only did they persuade me to buy my first guitar, but they were also a damned good band. If you get a chance, check out their stuff. They were way ahead of their time.

Mark: Just in case we've got any readers out there who don't know the history of how you came together or what was taking place here in Athens in the late '70s, would you talk on that subject?

Vanessa: Michael and Randy were roommates in University of Georgia art school. I was there and Curtis was there also, but I didn't really know him. Michael and Randy had a subscription to New York Rocker and they thought that it would be fun to get a band together, to play once in New York, get written up in New York Rocker, and then come back home to Athens and break up.

They practiced and practiced and kept playing the same thing over and over. Curtis heard them from upstairs and knocked on their door. They were driving him crazy being so repetitious. He said, "Hey, you guys need a drummer?"

They said, "Sure." And he dragged his drum kit downstairs to their studio. Then they auditioned everybody that they knew to be the vocalist. None of them worked out. They were giving up and they were going to use this record, a record about how to teach your parrot how to talk, Teach Your Parrot How To Talk. On the other side of the record it had a guard dog barking. You could put in on if you were out and just play it over and over. Actually, they used that record to make a demo tape. I heard it at a B52's show at the Georgia Theater, right across the street from where we are sitting now. Randy came up and said, "What did you think of that?"

I was too busy talking to really pay any attention to it. After that someone in the band said, "Hey, why don't we ask Vanessa?"

Randy came up to JC Penny one day where I was working in the catalog department. He said, "Would you like to audition for the band?" I said, "Yeah, sure." So, I auditioned for the band. It was Valentine's Day so I took them some cookies. The cookies fell off the top of the car though and they broke. So, I took them broken Valentine cookies.

Mark: So this would have been '78 or '79?

Vanessa: February 14, 1979. They saw that I was putting forth good effort, but they couldn't hear a thing that I was doing until we went into the studio to record the first single.

Mark: What were your influences at that time, when you first went in to sing? And what was it that made you think that you could do something like this? Were there other bands in town doing interesting stuff?

Vanessa: Oh, no, there were really no other bands in town (The B-52's had just moved to New York.) I loved the Ramones. I actually got crushed at a Ramones show in 1977 or '78. I was bruised from here to here (she indicates her entire torso) because we had been standing right up front waiting for them. When they finally came on stage, after three really incredibly awful bands, there was this huge surge of people. My friend Rhonda and I got crushed. We were trying to pull ourselves up onto the stage to get out of the way. I got one of Johnny's guitar picks.

Then, after that show, my first husband, Jimmy Elissison, called out to Rhonda and me, "Hey, let's go meet the Ramones." So, we went and knocked on a door and they let us in. We got to meet them and they autographed my t-shirt with me in it. I can't say how nice they all were to us. We three did the same thing with Blondie. We met Blondie like that. Blondie were playing with that English band—what was their name...the Kinks.

Mark: Did this take place in Athens?

Vanessa: Oh no, all of this took place in Atlanta. We went to Atlanta to see everything. There was nothing in Athens. Nobody liked Blondie then. My friend Rhonda and I, we stood right at the front. We were yelling out titles of songs and they were looking at us through the lights because everybody else was just sitting there real politely with their hands in their laps, waiting for the Kinks to come on. And then, after the show this other person who really liked Blondie came up to us and said, "I know you really like Blondie. I know what hotel they're at." We went to that hotel and we met Blondie in the lobby.

Mark: So would you say those were your biggest musical influences then, bands like Blondie and the Ramones?

Vanessa: Not with regard to vocal style so much. I didn't really consider myself a singer. I just liked the attitude that you could just get up there and do it. I just liked that whole punk thing, that new wave, punk thing. You could own every record that was available in that genre at that time. I love Devo. I loved Elvis Costello, the Stranglers, the B-52's, Talking Heads, Wire, Pere Ubu, Patti Smith, Television, Roxy Music. I had all those records. I have the Little Nell single. That's considered one of the first new wave records (She was in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.) The Pretenders. I loved all of that stuff. I couldn't sing like that though. So they weren't an influence, I just liked them a lot.

Mark: How did you come by your vocal style and your sense of phrasing?

Vanessa: Michael gave me a notebook with all the lyrics (to the first songs) neatly typed up. I was just trying to make them fit. I hadn't discovered that I could drop words or add words. I was just doing exactly what he had written, trying to make everything fit. That made some of the phrasing really odd.

Mark: Which, I think, makes those songs really nice. Your interpretation of those words and the way you push certain words together and stretch some words out, even spelling them to fill space, is great. How did you make the transition to the point where you were writing your own lyrics?

Vanessa: I think that the first one I wrote completely on my own was "Crazy." Prior to that I didn't feel comfortable trying to do it on my own. We'd get together at Michael's house and work on song lyrics. We'd have some beers.

He'd get the Scrabble board out and we might write song lyrics from a scrabble game (the song "K" for instance.) It was like we'd use any process. It didn't matter if the song had any meaning. It was more about the sound. But, after I started singing it enough, I'd see that there was some sort of meaning there. We'd written it there maybe subconsciously, created something that had some meaning.

Michael: I listened to some of our recordings last year when that tribute band formed to cover Pylon songs. It was Aaron and someone else from Elf Power, a girl named Jennifer and this other guy. They formed this one-time-only band to do Pylon songs. All of us were there except for Randy. Vanessa, Curtis and I were there checking it out and it was hilarious! They were really, really good. Some of them were really big Pylon fans and they'd been listening to the records for years. They thought that they could learn them pretty quickly, but then when they tried to, they had kind of a mild freak-out when they realized that the songs were more complicated to figure out, especially probably the guitar.

They ended up really having to rehearse and stuff. A huge amount of effort went into it. This girl, Jennifer, went to a lot of work to think through how she should be—if she should try to look and move like Vanessa. Or if she should just stand there and try to sing like Vanessa. She ended up going the route where she tried to get more into the part of who Vanessa was, whereas the rest of them were just kind of staring at their hands, trying to get the sound to come out right.

It was really entertaining and, as a result of being in the audience, listening, it was a really weird experience, one that I had never envisioned. It had just never even crossed my mind that this would ever happen. It was such a surprise that I got this delightful experience of being able to hear someone do that.

Vanessa: Because we've never heard ourselves live before! (Mark and Michael laugh.)

Michael: And it sounded just as close as you could get to making it sound like us. As a result of listening to that tribute band, I went back and listened to our records. The best thing that happened for me, in sitting on that stuff for a while without listening to it, was that I realized that the most overwhelming aspect of it for me today is the aspect of Vanessa's vocals—in large part because of the phrasing, but also because of the energy and the tactile sound and all of that kind of stuff.

There was so much nuance there, so much depth! Sounds and utterances and everything. But, the phrasing is absolutely mind-blowing to me now when I listen to it and think about it. Like where some of it is rushed, like what she's talking about in this interview, where she was trying to fit in pre-written words. It's just like "blpblppletkkssksk," And then there's this other stuff that's just so spread out. And there are these odd emphasis that are just fantastic. From those recordings I just came away thinking, "Oh my god, Vanessa was like... the SHIT!" We're just really, really lucky that Vanessa was in Pylon. With this perspective now, I just totally feel lucky...

Vanessa: I felt lucky too. I felt lucky to have been a part of something really original. Maybe we had influences and bands we liked and things that we were compared to but I feel that we were really original.

Mark: From the film Athens, GA: Inside/Out you'd think that just about everyone in Athens at that time was in a band.

Vanessa: There's a dichotomy. Athens is very much a traditional southern town. All the lighting stores have all colonial fixtures. It's pretty traditional. And then you've got these crazy college kids and their highjinks. And I think that's why the town tolerated as much as they did from us—they were used to crazy college highjinks.

Mark: What about the division on campus between the fraternity groups on one side and the artists or band-people on the other? It must not have always been that harmonious, with all of the people in town supporting this new music scene.

Vanessa: No. No. Not back then. Now maybe they would like all of these bands, and be real welcoming, but not back then. Fraternity guys jumped up from behind a bush down the street here and attacked Michael Stipe, Craig Woodall, and Vic Carney. They jumped up from behind the bushes and beat them up. They just didn't like the way they looked.

Mark: So how big a group was it that supported local music at that time and was it all centered around the art school?

Vanessa: It was the vegetarians and the art school, I'd say.

Michael: Yeah. There used to be this vegetarian restaurant that was like the core of where the B52's crew came out of and some other people that were real involved in the scene. The convergence of art students and vegetarians was primarily at parties. At parties, the music we listened to was what we had in common. In 1979, the music just became so important to all of us collectively, listening to records at parties—we just ate it up.

Vanessa: Like Crokers' 24 Hour Party in 1978. There was an art professor at UGA who had a 24-hour party. People were dancing to records. "Are we not men, we are Devo." All that. The Ramones. A crowd of people all smashed together in a living room and bodies being passed overhead, hand over hand. It was amazing.

Mark: What do you think that you brought to it as visual artists? You described before the "tactile sense of the words."

Michael: I think the attitude that we all had, this kind of "do it yourself" or "can do" thing, was rooted in art school. We were always exploring different media and switching between them. It was a very vibrant art school at the time. There were young faculty that were really encouraging us. And those of us in art school were willing to work lots of hours, keep helping each other, keep showing art, keep making art.

That's where a lot of this attitude developed. Like I remember one of the classes that Vanessa and I were in together—we were looking at one of my drawings and there was a footprint it which was the kind of thing that just occurred during my work process. It wasn't something that was a big deal one way or the other. For some reason there were some people who were a little less comfortable with this footprint. They were drawing attention to it,like, "What about that footprint?" and "It seems like it would have worked a little better if the footprint was over here." They were getting all nit-picky over it, apparently forgetting that it wasn't done intentionally.

And Vanessa piped up and she said, "Well, how could a footprint be in the wrong place?" (both laugh)

That attitude is basically the gist of the way the four of us worked. When it came time to decide whether or not to be in a band, and how to approach it—The B52's had presented a model, how to not be all traditional rock and roll and experienced and all this stuff—combined with the art part of it and the attitude that if we can figure out how to do this, this and this, then we can probably figure out how to make music.

Mark: Did you know the folks in the B52's before they formed?

Michael: I don't know that I really did.

Vanessa: I'd seen Kate and Brian Coccaine around town. The first time I saw Kate, she was standing in the back of a pickup truck, like in a Fellini movie, riding down Broad Street, and she had a scarf draped around her neck and this long evening gown on and she was scattering glitter to the wind. And I was like, who's that woman? (Michael and Vanessa laugh)

I did know Phyllis, the incomparable Phyllis who did an opening act for the B-52's—always different, always fun, from art school. She also worked at the Eldorado, a vegetarian restaurant, with Kate and Fred. I used to eat there when I could afford it.

Michael: They were always very comfortable in being um... show people. They were wild, really wild, at parties. They would not let people just sit on their asses or stand around holding a beer. They wanted "More Action" all the time. If it wasn't happening at the time, they would instigate it. I remember at one party we were dancing in the front room and that's all we really wanted to do, but they wanted for it to be more thrilling. They grabbed the garden hose from the backyard and started hosing people down and getting them to take their clothes off. Some of them were completely naked and they were spraying water on each other... at one point they brought the live garden hose into the house and started spraying us. Like, "You fuckers, who are just in here dancing!" It's like they always wanted to bring it up a couple more notches. It had to be crazier, wetter, more nakedness.

Vanessa: Like instead of wearing one hat, they 'd wear like 20 hats on top of each other, plus some wigs on top of that. It was fun. I enjoyed them. I loved them all.

The B-52's original manager Maureen is one of my best friends now. She was always very supportive of the Athens music scene. I want to mention her because I love her and her two girls—Vanessa and Erin.

Michael: There was this band called the Plastics who were friends of theirs. They were a Japanese band. It was that band that was supposed to open for them in Central Park, but they couldn't get through customs. So, at the last minute, like 18 or 24 hours before the gig, they called us. It must have been more than 18 hours, because it takes 18 hours to drive from Athens to New York.

Anyway, they called us and asked, "Hey, do you guys want to come and open for us in Central Park?" We weren't set up as a band to go on tour. We didn't have a van at that time and Vanessa was still working at Dupont. She could only take so much time off before they just wouldn't have her there anymore. This invitation meant that we all just had to drop everything and, within hours, start driving straight through to New York. Just drive through the night, get there, do sound check and then play. Well, we did it.

Vanessa: And the Plastics ended up making it to the show.

Michael: Really?

Vanessa: They were all in the audience, sitting next to each other.

Mark: How did the show go?

Vanessa: I was very tired.

Michael: We had already played New York and stuff like that, but this was really a very hasty trip and we were not really prepared for the show. We weren't really that great at Central Park but we did get some good press out of it, like from Glen O'Brien.

Vanessa: And John Lennon

didn't specifically mention us but he did mention the show with the B52's and talked about how they were doing Yoko Ono stuff, especially in that song "Red Lobster," and that maybe the world was ready for her sound now or something like that.

Mark: How often do you see each other now?

Michael: Not really that much any more. I don't even run into Curtis that much. Curtis lives kind of in my neighborhood and my whole orientation is downtown. Vanessa's is work and home.

Vanessa: I'm in suburbia. Michael did come over though, and I took his stitches out.

Mark: It's nice to be able to do that for a friend.

Michael: I know, I got them at the emergency room and they said that I could get a doctor or a nurse to take them out. I knew that someone would present themselves, so I just carried the tools around with me, but never ran into anybody, so I had to call Vanessa because it was starting to get messed up. That was just about a month ago.

Mark: Did you play a lot at the 40 Watt? I've read a history of the club that calls you the house band.

Michael: I don 't think we played there a lot. Our band was always picky about over exposure.

Vanessa: If we wanted to try out a new song, and if we were on a wild hair, we might drag our stuff across the street or something.

Michael: Yeah, but we wanted for each one of our shows to be an event. We used to be very judicious about how often we would play. I don't remember the rules now, but we really did kind of have rules of thumb about things. Like there had to be a month between our Athens shows.

Vanessa: And we 'd have to have something different on stage.

Michael: And different songs, or something like that. But that reputation about us always being at the 40 Watt sort of came from the fact that there were these different occasions where we were the band given the honor of opening up the new club, or closing down the old one. (The 40 Watt has been in at least four different locations over its lifetime.) So we ended up in several of those situations and those were always really fun.

Mark: Not to be negative, but can we talk about the last and apparently final breakup? From what I've read, it was very painful for everyone when Randy decided to leave. That was in '91. I'm just wondering how you feel now that ten years has passed. Do you feel as though you accomplished everything you wanted to with Pylon?

Vanessa: At the time I was very upset because I wasn't ready for it to end. It was sort of like a death. It really was. But just a few years down the road I realized that it was probably for the best. It was better than the band just petering out.

Mark: Do you still feel that way now?

Vanessa: I'm 46 now, I don 't think about it a lot in my life. (all laugh) I do think about the band in a fond way. I have very fond memories of getting to do that. I work with a younger nurse now on the weekends and sometimes I talk about it with her. Most people that I associate with at the hospital though don't know and don't care about my band. Most medical people don't have a clue. They just care about whether I can do my job well or not.

Mark: Do those two worlds ever collide? Has anyone ever come in on a stretcher and recognized you?

Vanessa: I work on a floor where there's scheduled surgery cases usually and the patients are sleeping at night. I did have an older patient come in one night and his family was all there with him. The younger ones recognized me. That was a little strange. (laughs) "Hey, look, it's Vanessa!" "Yes, I am, and I'll be your nurse tonight. I'll be here until 7:00 in the morning."

Mark: Is it awkward outside of work? Do people recognize you around town?

Vanessa: Yeah, but people in Athens are pretty cool. Today I was eating lunch at Red Lobster with my mom and the waiter recognized me and my mother thought that it was really neat. She enjoys that when she sees it. She's just recently come to live with me and she hadn't experienced that before. I gave him this little card, I had an envelope of them, from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and she thought that was fun.

Mark: How about you, Michael, do you think that it ended at a good time? Or, in retrospect, do you think that you still have more to accomplish?

Michael: I don't think that my feeling about it has ever really changed. I think I just understood that we couldn't do anything about it. Somebody just lost the faith. I guess I was never upset. At that point in time, there were business-related decisions that needed to made with regard to money. We had to pay off some debts and stuff like that. I would have rather done without all of that. But that meant that there was still a pretty decent amount of time during which Pylon still existed. There was already a long period of time when we weren't together, and somewhere in that interim I actually began being a dj and I was also in this film group called Flicker. When Pylon went away again all of these other things just filled in. I continued to find gratification in other areas. I'm still involved in the arts. I've got a dj store called Candy. Johnny Greenwood from Radio Head was wearing a Candy shirt at one of their shows.

So, the whole interface still exists for me to engage with people who are interested in what I 'm doing through this other avenue and none of it has anything to do with Pylon...

Mark: What was your relationship with REM like? I know that you opened for them on part of a tour.

Michael: I was at their first show. Back then almost all of us would go see any show that any other one of us was doing. There was a really voracious appetite to keep that whole thing going. You didn't really miss anything and everyone was there, whether it was in a kitchen or some other venue. It was at this church, that 's now a fabled part of the whole REM history. Jimmy's band (Vanessa's husband at the time), the Side Effects, were opening up for REM who, on that night, I'm not even sure had that name. And I did see almost all of their shows in Athens. They traveled a lot. They were the one band from the whole scene who really went out and developed a fan base outside of the various major media markets. As a result they really played a very crucial role in making the new music scene more accessible to a wider range of people. They were a lot more aggressive and missionary. REM had the capability to go out and to play for hours.They would just go out and play and they won over people like crazy in all these different college towns. That made it better for all of our bands, especially those bands that were pretty established, like Pylon. We could start playing to more people in other cities, like Savannah, Georgia, and like that.

Our band broke up the first time and then when we reformed later, REM was on a whole different level. I think they'd just had their biggest record with Green. It had so many singles off of it and everything. They had already finished one tour for it in the states and then they kind of did a rare thing—they booked another US tour because it was still very vibrant, getting lots of play on the radio and MTV and everything. We were invited to play the first third or so of the tour.

Vanessa: It was the last third.

Michael: Yeah, that's right. The Indigo Girls and someone else did the other shows. We played a total of fifteen shows with them.

Mark: Which do you feel were the best shows that you ever played? When did it feel the best to be in Pylon?

Michael: To me, the highlights are all over the map. Certain things stand out, like opening up for Public Image Limited in Atlanta. Opening up for the B52's in Central Park. And definitely some of those REM shows. Those were huge, very memorable experiences. But the day in and day out shows of us just playing for really enthusiastic crowds in a really crowded room, like playing at Maxwell's in Hoboken, those were some of the best.

Vanessa: I usually had a better time in like San Francisco, Boston, New York, Hoboken. It was the energy of the crowds there.

Mark: What kind of feedback did you get after Athens, GA: Inside/Out? I know that I found it influential and started placing orders for Pylon stuff from DB Recs, but I don't know how much of an audience the film had. For instance, do you feel as though you sold more records as a result?

Vanessa: I know that we got a lot of fan mail after it. People started writing to us again.

Michael: That movie was made during this second wave of the Athens scene and we had already broken up. In retrospect, I don't think was a very interesting time. The timing for these kinds of things is never right. People don't jump on things when they're really hot. They wait until things are a little more established.

The people who helped guide the filmmakers as to who they should interview and feature kind of steered the project in a kind of odd direction. It had a lot of folk artists and kind of a North Carolina orientation to it. But on that level those things reflected what really was going on in Athens at that time.

They were also trying to do this thing where they were looking back. The looking back part was probably less successful, and that's where Pylon was included, with the B52's and some other stuff. So I consider the entire project to be seriously flawed.

I saw it again on the way to Macon on a bus, going to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame thing. It was on and I really wasn't paying much attention to it. We were all just sitting there talking, and every once in a while you'd look up and see that it was on. Then there was this part where I could hear a really familiar voice saying, "And I lost my saw. I lost me saw." And everyone just sat back in their seat because it was John Seawright and he died about a year and a half ago.

Michael: At that point you just have to say, regardless of what you might think about this movie, at least they bothered to capture John doing what he used to do. So, I'm not trying to put it down. Any recording, this interview for instance, contributes. The account isn't complete and it's not perfect, but it's something.

The main thing that that film did for those of us in Pylon was that it vindicated that there was this new and growing mainstream interest. There was this interest that was focusing in on the Athens scene, which included Pylon, even though we weren't still together. And it did, I think, trigger some of the talk and thinking that resulted in us reforming. The film indicated to us that maybe the ground was more fertile for what Pylon had been doing back then. It revived some of the excitement about what it meant to be in Pylon.

Vanessa: We were able to play places like Louisville and Lexington that we hadn't been able to play before.

Mark: If you had to do it over again, would you approach the business of being in a band any differently?

Vanessa: I think that if we had thought that way it would have affected who we were. I think that our music would have been different. We just traveled around the country like we were tourists.

Mark: I like the band photos on the back of Chomp that show you all with your cameras around your necks. I always appreciated the fact that you could tell that you weren't the average band. You were out having fun. I think in those photos you were at the Grand Canyon or something. Other bands, I don't think, would have taken that approach. Even if they were wide-eyed tourists, they wouldn't have owned up to it.

Michael: I think at one point we noticed that ourselves, just what you 're talking about.We were tourists in the rock and roll industry. We really felt, maybe not anything as odd as in The Man Who Fell to Earth, but that we were just in the wrong place. We didn't feel like we were really musicians. We didn't ever set out to become rock-and-roll stars. We didn't ever plan to become famous or rich or whatever. We really just wanted to do it for our own reasons, and for us those were the right reasons. We just never really took it seriously enough to succeed.

Had we taken it more seriously, like Vanessa said, we would have had to have done things differently and then we would have maybe been a different band. It's hard to predict how it could have come out if that had been the case.

Mark: It seems that to make that jump you have to make certain sacrifices. You have to sell yourself to some extent.

Vanessa: Yeah, they would have got rid of me and got a perfect looking blonde and they would have rocked the house. It just wouldn't have been Pylon.

Mark: For that very reason I think it's really noble that the rest of you decided not to go on without Randy once he decided to leave Pylon. I think most people would have replaced him.

Vanessa: It broke my heart, just like Michael was saying, but I couldn't see Pylon without Randy. We could have gotten another guitarist but it wouldn't have been Pylon. And I got over it. I got on with life. At least for that time, I know that I got to do what I wanted to do. I got to live my dream. ###

(This interview couldn't have happened without the help of the Pylon fansite at


Created  01/18/2003 09:38 PM PST
Modified 03/24/2003 10:21 AM PST.