CD Release - Variac: Footing the bill

Big break by way of the B-52’s

Athens band the B-52’s aren’t exactly young guns anymore. So it’s good to have Atlanta hard rockers Variac joining them at Chastain Park Amphitheater Aug. 1 to help shoo in the hipsters. Not that the 1970s new-wave band needs ticket-boosters. It does, however, need an opening act, and Variac is more than happy to oblige.</
Influenced by bad boys of rock the Rolling Stones, this five-piece turns out gritty riff-rock with balls. But will it provide an appropriate asterisk to the Love Shackers who dominated MTV when these young’uns had hardly hit puberty?</
Variac thinks so. “Finally we’re playing with a band that our parents won’t [ask], ‘Who?’ when we call home,” says bassist James Pinkstone. And parental approval is rare.</
Variac didn’t score the gig by accident. Chastain’s booking agent contacted guitarist Kris Sampson, who has engineered numerous demos for the B-52’s at Nickel & Dime Studios, and offered the band the opportunity. Despite Sampson and fellow N&D engineer Pinkstone having an established rapport with the new-wavers, it was the boys’ fiery live show that earned them their slot.</
But Variac members aren’t kidding themselves about who the audience will really be there to see. They’re just pleased to gather with fellow Georgians – from an equally infamous city – for an evening that will attract more well-deserved attention to Atlanta’s music scene. Given the acts’ generation gap, Variac is preparing for a diverse audience ranging from baby boomers and ex-punk rockers to the suburbs’ foxiest. Age differences also account for different lifestyles; since the B-52’s make healthy choices these days, the “self-destructive heathens” of Variac don’t expect the grown-ups “to be huffing gas backstage or anything,” Pinkstone jests.</
Fans should certainly prepare for a shindig. Juxtaposing the South’s most notorious party band ever with one of the youngest and most tenacious of the same caliber is no snore-jam.