Flyer Flashback 

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

click to enlarge Roxy Blue
  • Roxy Blue

Nineteen years ago this week, the Flyer was weighing the potential benefits and pitfalls of the "Great American Pyramid," set to open the following spring, with a two-part piece from Allen Hester. But Robert Gordon's music column in the August 30th Flyer is particularly interesting in retrospect.

Gordon leads with reports on major-label prospecting on the Memphis scene: "Another Memphis act signs big! Roxy Blue, Memphis' metal wonder, has inked a big deal with David Geffen Company, home of Guns N' Roses, Whitesnake, and other way-loud thumpers. ... [The band's demos] set Virgin and Geffen sword to sword, and the band had the happy chore of picking from two good deals. Tom Zutaut, who signed chart-monsters Guns N' Roses and Edie Brickel, signed the band after hearing them live at the Stage Stop. Big things ahead!"

Gordon also mentions Geffen's interest in a collaboration between local musicians R.T. Scott and Mike Barnes.

Big things never emerged from any of this.

But a counterpoint within the same column are early mentions of a couple of artists who would bloom in significance later on. Gordon mentions a successful showcase in Atlanta for Phalon Alexander, the son of Bar-Kays bassist James Alexander. More than a decade later, Alexander would come into his own as the hit-making hip-hop and R&B producer Jazze Pha.

Gordon also reports on a newish band, A Band Called Bud, getting a cease-and-desist order from Budweiser and changing their name to the Grifters, arguably the signature Memphis band of the '90s.

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