CD Release - Good morning, Vietnam
Stan Satin has a recurring dream where he's holding a record by his former, Atlanta-based new wave band Vietnam. Each morning he wakes up empty-handed. "One of my biggest regrets is that we never put out a record," says Satin. "We could have done it ourselves, but there was always a hint that someone was going to sign us. It didn't happen."
Vocalist/saxophonist Satin, bassist Tim Hunter and guitarist Drew Davidson (who is now deceased) formed Vietnam in 1980 at the height of Athens' heyday in the alternative-rock limelight. "The '70s sucked and 1980 seemed so fresh," Satin continues. "This really felt like the center of the musical universe."
The group cycled through as many as 13 members, including Sue Garner, who went on to record with '90s experimental indie-rock groups Run On and Fish & Roses, and later as a solo artist for Thrill Jockey Records.
Vietnam shared stages with the likes of Public Image Ltd., the Gun Club and John Cale, along with Athens peers Pylon and Method Actors. Satin's blaring saxophone work amid a framework of dark, post-industrial punk and no-wave grind drew comparisons to everyone from Cabaret Voltaire to the Contortions.
Twenty-five years after the group's initial burst of songwriting, the material has finally been released. In December, Satin's Scared Records label released the first concrete documentation of Vietnam, a CD titled Past Away. The label is home to other forgotten locals including Atlanta's first punk band, the Restraints; Subliminator; and Front Street, featuring Will Fratesi (Hubcap City, Tenement Halls) and Greg Connors.
Posters for the CD tout Past Away as "the debut recording from Vietnam" without a hint of irony. The songs were recorded in 2000, and after having plenty of time to work out the kinks, Past Away crystallizes as a brilliant and cohesive snapshot of Vietnam. Although it's not an actual record, the CD makes Satin's dream a partial reality. "I do plan on putting together a compilation of the original recordings, including some live stuff," he adds. "I'd love to do it on vinyl."