Renovations on Athens, Ga., Steeple Where R.E.M. Played Their First Show Have Begun
Last year, Nuci’s Space -- an Athens, Ga.-based suicide prevention organization -- opened an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to refurbish and restore the local St. Mary’s Episcopal Church steeple, where R.E.M. played their very first show back in 1980. Following the successful fundraising campaign and exactly 35 years since the iconic alt-rockers’ first gig on April 5, 1980, construction on the steeple is underway.
Though St. Mary’s Church had long since been demolished, the steeple remained as a famous landmark in rock history -- not only did R.E.M. play their first gig there, but it also acted as a launching pad for other outfits, such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Drive-by Truckers and Of Montreal. Nuci’s Space acquired the steeple back in 2013, but it had been neglected and was decaying, in risk of being demolished. However, after Nuci’s Space was able to successfully raise nearly $150,000 from its Indiegogo campaign, renovations to preserve the steeple have begun.
“There are no huge surprises,” Nuci’s Space executive director Bob Sleppy told the Athens Banner-Herald of the recently launched construction. “There is some rot, and some bug damage, but no termites.”
Sleppy assures any new construction added to the site will serve as "a nod to what the church actually looked like." Funds are still being raised for the steeple and programs; you can donate -- and possibly snag a salvaged brick -- here.