The Swimming Pool Q’s formed in Atlanta in 1978. We were among the first generation of Georgia New Wave bands that included The B-52’s, The Brains, Pylon and R.E.M. In 1979, we toured the East Coast and South and played with The Police on the Southern dates of their first major American tour.
Our debut full-length recording was The Deep End [1981/2001, DB 55]. We signed with A&M Records in 1984 and released two albums, The Swimming Pool Q’s [A&M SP5015,1984] and Blue Tomorrow [A&M SP5107, 1986].
“Visionary pop eccentrics from Atlanta,” noted Melody Maker. “Some of the most compelling rock sounds in all of America…lofty architectural style distinguished by the elegant and muscular guitar duets between Jeff Calder and Bob Elsey and [Anne] Boston's rhapsodic alto phrasings,” said The Village Voice. In Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder wrote, “Overlaid with Calder's unusually literate songwriting sensibility, this musical mélange is one of the freshest sounds coming out of the South.” We were chosen as support act for Lou Reed on his New Sensations comeback tour.
In 1989, following our satire of televangelism, The Firing Squad for God EP [DB 87], we launched World War Two Point Five [Capitol/DB C1-91068]. Our cosmogonical flight Royal Academy of Reality appeared in 2003 [Barnone].
Of Royal Academy, All Music Guide said, “The striking scale and superb craft of this album are impressive by any standard.” David Fricke in Rolling Stone likened it to “Abbey Road wrapped in kudzu.” Ed Ward in Wire U.K described R.A.R. as “flat-out astonishing” and “overflowing with musical and intellectual ideas.” Closer to home, The State in South Carolina called it “Possibly the most progressive American rock record of the new century.”
The Swimming Pool Q’s celebrated our 34th anniversary in June, 2012.
The purpose of our Kickstarter campaign is to fund deluxe reissues of our albums The Swimming Pool Q’s (1984) and Blue Tomorrow (1986). Originally released on A&M Records, they’ve never been offered on CD in America.
This project realizes years of dedication—remastering, research, flights to nowhere—so we’ve taken great care assembling a variety of additional rewards, many available exclusively to Kickstarter backers:
- A CD of demos, outtakes, alternate versions and remixes from the period, including a country version of “The Bells Ring”.
- “Fire Makes Us Diamonds”, Jeff Calder’s historical notes examining The Swimming Pool Q’s in the years 1983–1987; accompanying the text will be many never-before-seen photos from The Q’s archive and Anne Richmond Boston’s personal collection.
- A DVD, created by our drummer Bill Burton, which captures us in a variety of compromising situations: The 930 Club in Washington DC in early 1985; various teenbeat cable television shows; a stirring clip of The Q’s psych-folk interpretation of “Little Drummer Boy”; a promotional video created for A&M Records’ 1984 annual meeting, plus a visit by the band to the record company’s legendary Hollywood lot; and more.
- Signed photographs from sessions surrounding both albums, plus reproductions of the luxurious 24” x 36” posters that accompanied the reissue of The Deep End (1981/2001) and the release of Royal Academy of Reality (2003).
- A disc of new material including tracks like “System of Love” and “Science Moon”.
- Two CDs from The Swimming Pool Q's catalog, The Deep End and Royal Academy of Reality, along with our debut 7” single from 1979 “Rat Bait” b/w “The A-Woke Woke Me Up” on Chlorinated Records.
- Archival flyers from many Swimming Pool Q’s performances reproduced on original Xerox machines, when possible.
- A full-course dinner at your nearest Olive Garden, hosted by the group.
- A private live show at which we’ll play selections from The Swimming Pool Q’s and Blue Tomorrow plus bonus tracks.
We’ll be posting additional rewards information as it becomes available.
THE SWIMMING POOL Q’s was our major label debut in 1984. It featured songs we developed after of our first LP The Deep End in 1981. It was produced by the legendary David Anderle, who signed us to A&M Records. David had worked with Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys, and Judy Collins in the 1960s. (Later in the 80s, he served as the music supervisor on the influential soundtracks The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink.) Our engineer and co-producer was Ed Stasium, who had recorded many artists including The Ramones and Talking Heads.
We made SPQ’s at Axis Studios in Atlanta in May/June, 1984. Anne Richmond Boston designed the cover. The opening track “Pull Back My Spring” was issued as a single, succeeded later in the fall by “The Bells Ring”. Following SPQ’s release, we opened for R.E.M. at the Hollywood Greek Amphitheatre in September and left almost immediately on a tour with Lou Reed that took us all over America and up into Canada, and would occupy us for the rest of the year.
Blue Tomorrow was a production leap. At the console was UK producer Mike Howlett, who had worked with Flock of Seagulls, Joan Armatrading, Gang of Four, and OMD. (In the 70s, Mike had played bass in the prog group Gong; he was to become a key figure in a proto-formation of The Police lineup.)
The album was cut at Studio One in Doraville, Georgia, where Lynyrd Skynyrd had made Street Survivors. It was an elaborate 48-track analog recording. The expanded format allowed us to experiment with instrumentation like harpsichord, harmonium, electric dulcimer and amplified autoharp, as well as occasional programming and sequencing. The first single was “Now I’m Talking About Now”. We later remixed a special 12-inch of “More Than One Heaven” with Scott Litt who, as a producer, would proceed to great heights with R.E.M.
Blue Tomorrow was a complex affair. It took over three months to complete. At the end of the process, Howlett sailed home on the QE2 where he arranged for Blue Tomorrow to become the first digitally-mastered album in history. He was always on the cutting edge of technology. It was released in March, 1986.
All contributions will go toward the packaging and production costs of The Swimming Pool Q’s project
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