Paul Scales, Athens musician and 40 Watt Club co-founder, died on Friday, Sept. 4th after suffering a massive heart attack.
The 40 Watt was officially established as an official venue in 1980 when Scales and Pylon drummer Curtis Crowe (at left in this photo with Scales from this year’s AthFest) opened the tiny first location of the storied club on College Ave. in downtown Athens. Prior to that, the idea had taken shape through a series of wild parties, centered around live local bands, thrown by Crowe in Pylon’s rehearsal space a few doors away. An ongoing series of owners and relocations followed, with Scales moving on by 1984. The current incarnation of the Watt has been located on West Washington Street since 1991, and is owned by Barrie Buck.
Scales moved to north Georgia after leaving the club business but later returned to Athens, where he became involved in the city’s blues music scene. In recent years, he played keyboards and harmonica with an assortment of groups including The Cindy Wilson Band, The Shadow Executives and the Back Alley Blues Band. He also organized a popular periodic blues jam session at Athens venue The Office, where many of his friends and fellow musicians gathered to remember him the day after his passing.