Punk Rocks

Johnathon Kelso

As curator of modern political and historical collections at Emory's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Randy Gue is always on the lookout for material that helps complete the cultural puzzle that is the American South.

Last year, he realized that he held a piece of it himself. Growing up in Atlanta in the early 1980s, Gue was drawn to the community’s burgeoning punk rock scene, which was fed by both local bands and nationally known acts that passed through the city.

Although hardcore punk stood in stark contrast to broader Southern culture at the time, Gue and other fans found within it a life-changing wave of creativity and community. In many ways, it became his second family.

For years, Gue collected mementos from that time — concert fliers and fanzines, bumper stickers and posters.

Last year, he and his friends Randy DuTeau — former lead vocalist for the eighties Atlanta hardcore band Neon Christ—and Nick Rosendorf donated their punk-rock memorabilia to Emory’s Rose Library, creating the seedbed for a new collection.

Since then, the collection documenting the hardcore punk rock and alternative music scene in Atlanta from 1980 to today has grown, as others have stepped forward with donations.

When the collection became the focus of recent online articles produced jointly by The Bitter Southerner and ArtsATL, Gue reports that his phone “exploded” with messages from fans offering their own donations, graduate students doing research on social/cultural/political aspects of the punk rock movement, and even a researcher from the United Kingdom eager to study it.

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