This Athens, Georgia venue helped usher in punk and new wave music. : World Cafe : World Cafe Words and Music Podcast The music venue in Georgia regularly hosted performances by bands like Pylon, R.E.M., of Montreal, and more.

Sense of Place: How Athens' 40 Watt Club helped usher in a new era of rock

Barrie Buck on World Cafe

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The 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia. Miguel Perez/WXPN hide caption

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Miguel Perez/WXPN

The 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia.

Miguel Perez/WXPN

When you look at the Wikipedia page for the 40 Watt Club, in the very first line, it's grouped in with CBGB and the Whiskey a Go Go as one of the most influential music venues in the early punk and new wave scenes. But here's the thing: CBGB was in New York City; Whisky a Go Go is in LA. The 40 Watt Club is in Athens, Ga., population about 130,000.

That should give you an idea of just how important the 40 Watt is. A launching pad for Athens bands like R.E.M. and Drive-By Truckers, the venue has long been a central hub for the local music scene, but it also welcomes artists from far and wide who come back again and again.

Barrie Buck has been owner of the 40 Watt Club since 1987. Kimberly Junod/WXPN hide caption

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Kimberly Junod/WXPN

In this session, longtime owner Barrie Buck talks about hosting bands like Nirvana and The Replacements, plus she shares what makes 40 Watt so special on this dispatch from our Sense of Place: Athens series.

This episode of World Cafe was produced and edited by Kimberly Junod. The web story was created by Miguel Perez. Our engineer is Chris Williams. Our programming and booking coordinator is Chelsea Johnson and our line producer is Will Loftus.

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