Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones
The bleary-eyed barista who pulled the shots for your Americano this morning? She rocked a sold-out show last night. That fella who slid your ice-cold tallboy down the counter is one of the most versatile drummers in town. Your smiling restaurant server is in talks with a hip Midwestern label to release her band’s debut. Even the lawyer helping you sort stuff out has been known to take the stage now and again.
In Athens, you can’t turn a corner without running into a musician, and it follows that our businesses are chock-full of ’em: behind the counter, in the kitchen, at the desk, on the sales floor. They’re the lifeblood of our economy, on stage and in the office. So, as we celebrate our readers’ favorite local businesses, we also wanted to spotlight a few of the musicians who keep those businesses going.
Where do you work? I'm a bartender at Manhattan Café and The World Famous.
Favorite thing about your jobs? I'm super fortunate to work at two of the best bars in Athens. I genuinely love my jobs, and one cool perk about working at TWF is that I can book shows there whenever I want.
Least favorite thing? My best shifts are Friday and Saturday night, which are also prime show nights, so it’s a delicate balance of trying to book shows during the week and/or begging coworkers to cover my shifts.
Do people recognize you at work? Honestly, I get recognized more for being a bartender. People will come up to me at a show and be like, “Hey, didn't you make my martini last night?" And I'll say, “You're damn right I did.”
If you weren't playing music or working your jobs, what would you be doing? I'd be rolling around in a ditch somewhere, scream-singing "Slow Hands" by Silkworm. Seriously, I have no other marketable skills.
Where do you work? I’m a server at Ted’s Most Best.
What band are you in? Saline.
Favorite thing about your job? My coworkers may not know this, because most of our interactions involve making fun of each other, but I love them. A lot of my coworkers are members of the same family, and they generously extend that sense of belonging to the rest of us.
Favorite thing about being a musician in Athens? I love feeling the energy and excitement from customers all evening, and then going out to get a taste of it myself, especially during festivals or events, like Ciné’s Experimentique Night, that place a strong focus on collaboration.
If you weren't playing music or working your job, what would you be doing? I'm really interested in further pursuing cultural anthropology after graduation.
What's your craziest work story? A thunderstorm brought sleet and sideways wind, requiring us to chase uprooted umbrellas all over the patio and rescue meals from the rain. Once we were inside, the power went out. The heat of our gas ovens continued to cook the pizzas, and we used it to finish making everyone's orders. They ate in the dark while my coworker used a manual credit-card imprinter to continue taking orders. My stepsister's mom and stepdad showed up and socialized with us, while another customer celebrating a birthday party gave us homemade blackberry pie!
Where do you work? I have my own law firm, The Law Offices of Adam L. Hebbard, LLC.
What bands are you in? Adam Hebbard and the et Als, Basketball Team, Mikey Mel and the JDs.
Favorite thing about your day job? It is intellectually rewarding, my colleagues are generally great, and I get to help people to boot.
Least favorite thing about your day job? Being self-employed means I'm almost never not at work, and rarely are my clients' issues confined to regular business hours.
How do your skills as a musician translate to your day job, and vice versa? I do a lot of courtroom and jury work, so public speaking and presentation skills—not to mention a taste for the theatrical—are useful in both contexts. Both jobs require being able and willing to negotiate and compromise with people, whether it’s about band practice or a legal matter.
If you weren't playing music or working your day job, what would you be doing? No idea. Maybe working at a brewery?
Where do you work? I serve and manage at The Grit.
Favorite thing about your job? The Grit helped introduce me to the music scene. One day at work, me and Phelan LaVelle said to each other in passing, “We should play music together.” Without even discussing it besides that, we rented a space at Nuçi's and Crunchy happened—and now we’re getting ready for our second tour!
Do people recognize you at work? Yeah, it is super cool and flattering when someone approaches me while I’m working about a show I’ve played. Especially being a drummer, I’m not used to that attention. I blush.
How do your skills as a musician translate to your day job, and vice versa? Being able to see what needs to be done and then doing it in a certain amount of time, in the most efficient way—that’s kind of what serving is, and what drumming is like. But sometimes, drumming is also going crazy and making a mess, and accepting that’s what you’re working with in the moment—much like being a server. Ha!
If you weren't playing music or working your job, what would you be doing? I have a big interest in fitness, and would love to become a personal trainer. I’m trying to do it all now, but I definitely wish there were more hours in a day.
Photo Credit: Mike White
Where do you work? I’m a night cook at Last Resort Grill.
What bands are you in? I play guitar and backing vocals in Reap, and I’m also working on a new project.
Favorite thing about being a musician in Athens? The extremely supportive community. I always get the days off that I need to play shows or go out of town. I work with several other musicians, and most of my musician friends also work in the service industry.
Do people recognize you at work? Not the clientele, but new hires do sometimes.
What’s your craziest music story? My old band, The Rodney Kings, played in Brooklyn—we played at an art gallery to very interested and supportive folks. Our friends put us up at their loft close to the venue. Come morning, we went to get our car and realized there were zero cars on the street. We ended up having to walk all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge, with our guitars, to get our car out of the impound. I'll never forget watching my bandmate Cameron ride in the front seat of the cop car as they went to sort out which car was ours.
Where do you work? I hold a few positions at Hendershot’s Coffee Bar: doorman, baker, barista.
What bands are you in? I have a solo project and play in Fake Flowers.
Favorite thing about your job? Obviously, Hendershot’s is quite a musical environment, and I never feel too pulled away from a creative mental space.
Favorite thing about being a musician in Athens? Everyone knows that everyone knows that it’s pretty cheap to live here, but I’ll say it anyway.
Least favorite thing? Waking up early for the baking shift isn't too bad—I can be either a night owl or a morning bird—but it helps for consistency. A couple of baking shifts placed adjacent to some late-night shows in Atlanta will really mess up my internal rhythm.
Where do you work? I’ve worked several jobs at the Georgia Theatre, including security.
What band are you in? I am the founder and lead guitarist for Gimme Hendrix, a local Jimi Hendrix tribute band.
Favorite thing about your day job? I enjoy being exposed to all types of music and meeting people from all types of diverse backgrounds.
Least favorite thing about being a musician in Athens? There’s so much great music here, and so many things to learn, there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.
Do people recognize you at work? Yes. It’s great to know that people from all backgrounds and age groups still appreciate Hendrix’s music.
How do your skills as a musician translate to your day job, and vice versa? It has helped me to be more understanding and patient. Musicians all work very hard at their craft. You put in a lot of time in order to get the sound right, and being in charge of a band means you have to learn to be flexible as well. You learn to develop both business skills and people skills.
What's your craziest music story? I have a few, but a good one is that one time I played Duane Allman's goldtop guitar.