Neon Christ, Almighty

"The way Bush is running the country, we almost feel obligated to make a statement," says Randy DuTeau of Neon Christ, the '80s political punk band returning for a Christmas Eve reunion show at the Earl.

At its New Year's Eve '83 debut, the band's plan was "to save the world from Ronald Reagan's trickle-down economics and the nuclear destruction that he was leading us into," continues Jimmy Demer. "The nuclear destruction part didn't happen, but the more nightmarish elements of the Reagan ideology are again alive and well. The naive political ideas of a bunch of middle-class teenagers like us seemed a bit silly a few years ago, but now, they're as alive — and not so naive — as ever."

The decidedly leftist and uncompromisingly noncommercial band played its final show in February '86 at the Exit on DeKalb Avenue with DeTeau (vocals), Demer (drums), Kip DuVall (guitar) and Danny Lankford (bass). They did a brief reunion set without DuVall at the Earl last month. "It felt like being a teenager again," says Demer. "While we've all got bigger bellies and bigger responsibilities, the spirit of the music felt just like it did 20 years ago."

In '86, Demer, Lankford, and DuTeau formed the band Gardens of ..., and Lankford also joined garage rockers the Go Devils. But DuVall, now based in Los Angeles, remains the sole member to pursue music professionally. He co-wrote Dionne Farris' hit "I Know," and has worked with Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, Michael Tolcher and Comes With the Fall.

Bootlegs of the first Neon Christ record still circulate and — 10 years after the band broke up — they were voted "Best Local Band No Longer in Existence" in CL's Best of Atlanta issue. "They wrote that we were the only Atlanta punk band that mattered,'" says Demer. "For a 'teen punk band,' we seemed to have made some impact."

Neon Christ plays the Earl Fri., Dec. 24, 9:30 p.m. $5. Catfight! and the Carbonas open.