Major Athens acts including R.E.M., the B-52s, Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, Pylon, Neutral Milk Hotel and Danger Mouse are donating items to an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help restore and save the St. Mary’s Steeple, the only remaining structural piece of the church where R.E.M. played their first show April 5th, 1980.
Among the collectible musical memorabilia offered as incentives in the fundraising campaign are three Rickenbacker guitars autographed by R.E.M., Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers and Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal); tour costumes from Of Montreal; a limited-edition signed steeple poster from longtime Drive-By Truckers artist Wes Freed; albums and posters signed by Neutral Milk Hotel; and more.
The church itself was demolished in 1990 to make way for condos, and the remaining steeple – included among Rolling Stone’s list of musical landmarks in the South – stood unprotected for years until the homeowners association transferred ownership to Nuci’s Space, a nearby musician’s resource and mental health support center, last year. The Indiegogo campaign runs through Dec. 12th at http://igg.me/at/reconstructionofthesteeple.