Friday, February 27, 2009

Pylon Guitarist Randy Bewley Dies at Age 53

Just when the influential 1980s band Pylon was staging a series of reunion concerts, guitarist Randy Bewley has died at age 53. He reportedly suffered a heart attack on Monday and died on Wednesday. Pylon emerged from the same Athens, Georgia scene that gave rise to R.E.M. and the B-52s, a year before R.E.M. Bill Berry, the former R.E.M. drummer, once called Pylon "the best band in the world," even though Pylon had already broken up at that point.

I wrote about Pylon in December when they played their return engagement in New York. Unfortunately I didn't make it to that show, and it seems pretty clear that Bewley's death means the end for Pylon. Losing one member is obviously a blow for any trio, and for Pylon Bewley's guitar playing was responsible for much of the group's distinctive sound. Online Athens notes that many guitarists have cited Bewley's influence on their own playing.

Besides playing the reunion shows, Pylon last year released a collection of many of their recordings on one CD called Gyrate +.

It's sad that Pylon was exciting old fans and winning new one with its reunion gigs, which were showing people why the band has been such an influence on later groups.

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