"People always ask me what I'm doing these days, so I tell them, 'Whatever I want to do,'" says Marshall Grant, the original bass player for Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two.
Fortunately for local music fans, one of the things Grant wants to do is share his stories about his life on the road with Johnny Cash. On Thursday, July 29th, at 7 p.m., the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy is hosting Up Close & Personal, an intimate conversation with Grant at the Brooks Museum of Art. As an added treat, Grant, whose visit coincides with the museum's "Who Shot Rock & Roll" exhibit, has invited some special guests to sit in with him for a rendition of "Folsom Prison Blues" played on the instruments used during the original Sun recording session.
"I'm gonna play my bass just like Sam Phillips told me back when we were playing on The Louisiana Hayride," Grant says of his impending performance. "He told me, 'Marshall, whenever you get down there, I want you to get a microphone and slap the hell out of that thing.'" Grant has also loaned several Cash-era artifacts to the museum and will be available to sign copies of his book, I Was There When It Happened.
"You know, [the museum] only had one case, so I wasn't able to bring all that much," Grant says. "I brought the electric bass I played on Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and Johnny Cash at San Quentin. And I am also the proud owner of nine Grammys."
Antenna Reunion Redux
Do you have a great story from the glory days of the Antenna club that needs to be preserved on film? The second annual reunion concert inspired by Memphis' fabled punk club kicks off on Thursday, July 29th, with a meet-and-greet at the Buccaneer Lounge, and Memphis filmmaker C. Scott McCoy will be conducting interviews for his documentary about the club.
"Anyone who has an Antenna story that they'd like to share with us should come down and participate," McCoy says. "If it's good, it'll make it in the movie!" The Live From Memphis crew will be assisting McCoy by filming the 26 bands scheduled to play at Nocturnal and the Hi-Tone Café on Friday and Saturday nights. Rocket Science Audio will also be recording the shows.
"We hope to release a DVD of reunion performances mixed with some vintage performances we've dug up on video from some of the reunion bands as well as some bands that couldn't be here," McCoy says.
The first Antenna club reunion, held in 2009, lured hundreds of music fans back to the corner of Madison and Avalon to relive a bit of their misspent youth.
"I guess I must have been living in a cocoon, because I had no idea that so many people were interested in this," says former Antenna owner Steve McGehee. "Now I can see this getting bigger," he adds, contemplating the possibility of developing the reunion into an annual festival with an outdoor component.
The Antenna was ground zero for punk, new wave, and alternative culture in Memphis. Bands such as the Crime, the Klitz, the Randy Band, and Tav Falco's Panther Burns (featuring Alex Chilton) started playing there regularly in 1979. In addition to booking touring bands like Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, and Robyn Hitchcock, it was also the launch pad for many well-known local bands, including the Grifters, Pezz, the Oblivians, and Impala.
The noisy club quietly closed 15 years ago after a show by the alt-radio band Tripping Daisy.
Antenna reunion schedule, music starting at 7 p.m.:
July 30th — Nocturnal (formerly the Antenna): Small Room, Fluorescent Butt Jam, Pezz, Sobering Consequences, The New Mary Jane does the Grifters, Reigning Sound. Hi-Tone Café: Gasoline Grace, The Linda Heck Experiment, Four Neat Guys, Impala, Neighborhood Texture Jam, Soul Capitalist.
July 31st — Nocturnal: '68 Comeback with Lesa Aldridge and Ross Johnson, Neon Wheels, Calculated X, Barking Dog, Randy Band, The Crime, Distemper. Hi-Tone Café: Sons of Mud Boy, DDT, RBS, Greasland, Eraserhead, Recoil, Raid.