Pedal prince of Wales?
When pedal steel player and political activist Bill Fleming moves to Europe later this month, he'll leave behind a legacy of three decades of local musical and community accomplishments.
For years, Fleming has been consistently in demand as the pre-eminent local steel guitar player of the region. He's played with an amazingly diverse array of local favorites, including Elise Witt, Arms Akimbo, Buddy O'Reilly Band, Hair of the Dog, Gopher Broke, the Ex-Pand Band, and has joined Slim Chance and the Convicts for numerous shows and recording projects.
As a political activist, he has been instrumental in much of the preservation of greenspace in East Atlanta — especially the Little Five Points area. He remains proudest of his work with the "roadbusters." "We stopped the Presidential Parkway from dividing the Candler Park community and essentially destroying it," he says. He also fondly recalls working on a number of environment-enhancing murals around town. He adds that any project that reflects his philosophy of "thinking globally and acting locally" is a fond memory. In addition to his local work, he even acted globally on a number of occasions. "I went to Nicaragua 12 times to help rebuild the country and counter the effects of Reagan's war," he says.
Joined by his family, Fleming will leave the States to work on his Ph.D. in political geography at University of Wales. But why Wales? "Because the British invented geography," he chuckles. "I'm just excited about entering a new culture and having new experiences. It balances the sadness of leaving a wonderful community, home, friends — and music."This Fri., Sept. 10, Fleming's friends will throw a going-away party in his honor at Jake's Toadhouse. Slim Chance and the Convicts, the EX-PAND Band, and Gopher Broke will perform. 9:30 p.m. $7. For more info, call 404-633-4111 or visit www.jakesroadhouse.net.