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OCT. 21-27, 2021

TRIAD-CITY-BEAT.COM WINSTON-SALEM EDITION

ALL FOR THE MONEY

THE 2021 CITY SALARY GUIDE BY NICOLE ZELNIKER | PAGE 6

State vs state PAGE 9

mitch easter PAGE T2

Rethinking lee PAGE T0


OCT. 21-27, 2021

EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK

Dave and trouble and me

Coronavirus in the Triad: (As of Wednesday, Oct. 20)

Documented COVID-19 diagnoses NC

1,457,798 (+17,860)

Forsyth

51,135 (+629)

Guilford County

66,064 (+882)

COVID-19 deaths NC

17,640 (+310)

Forsyth

549 (+12)

Guilford

852 (+9)

Documented recoveries NC

1,399,393 (27,536)

Forsyth

*no data*

Guilford

63,128 (+1,532)

Current cases NC

40,765 (-10,023)

Forsyth

*no data*

Guilford

2,083 (-659)

Hospitalizations (right now) NC

1,811 (-466)

Forsyth

*no data*

Guilford

83 (-17)

Vaccinations NC First Dose

2

5,717,276 (+48,315)

Fully vaccinated

5,751,445 (55%, +68,705)

Forsyth First Dose

227,417 (+1,371)

Fully vaccinated

212,336 (56%, +1,677)

Guilford First dose

315,451 (+1,731)

Fully vaccinated

297,043 (55%, +2,127)

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don’t know much about how Dave died last week, other than it was described to me via text as a “massive coroby Brian Clarey nary.” Scully said he lingered for about a day in the hospital before they started talking about organ donations. I know he was 51, the same age as me. And I know that things had not been going his way of late — professionally, interpersonally and in terms of his own physical well-being. That’s what I hear, anyway. I’ll get the full story from Bice later this week, another voice from long ago. Bice was there the day we all got arrested for truancy in Times Square — the 1984 version of Times Square and not the Disneyfied tourist trap it has since become — after ditching out of a field trip in another part of New York City. We were 14, and no one will ever believe it was not my idea to pull this caper, but it was not. I was just along for the ride. Though I was just 14, it was not the first time I had been apprehended by the law. That had happened two years earlier,

when we were 12, and it was just Dave and me and the small fire we had lit behind the nursery school where we had afterschool jobs. After that one, we learned to run. His parents blamed me; my parents blamed him. But really it was both of us, young and brazen and stupid, pushing each other along the road to ruin. That was just the first of our terrible collaborations that lasted until high school, each one landing us in more trouble than the last, our unearned privilege sparing us from recourse. We had no idea how lucky we were. I don’t really know what he became; all I remember is what he was, which was trouble, any which way you sliced it. Reckless. Fearless. Wild. I was the same way. Dave is still a kid when I picture him, 15 or so, his tangle of red, red hair and the smear of freckles everywhere the sun touched his skin, his pockets stuffed with candy from the 7-11 that he might have paid for and might have stolen, maybe a couple of crumpled Winstons, one for him and one for me.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Not only were they good, but the whole weird smurfy look we had, and the fact that a lot more women were in bands all of a sudden, I was really happy to be part of that vibe.” — Mitch Easter, page 14 1451 S. Elm-Eugene St. Box 24, Greensboro, NC 27406 Office: 336.256.9320 BUSINESS PUBLISHER/EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Brian Clarey brian@triad-city-beat.com

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EDITORIAL ADVISOR

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EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR

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STAFF WRITER

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TCB IN A FLASH @ triad-city-beat.com First copy is free, all additional copies are $1. ©2021 Beat Media Inc.

Chris Rudd chris@triad-city-beat.com Carolyn de Berry, James Douglas, Matt Jones, Jordan Howse, Jen Sorensen, Clay Jones

COVER Illustration by Charlie Marion


OCTOBER

Weekly

OCT. 21-27, 2021

OCTOBER 22ND & OCTOBER 26TH

SAM FRIBUSH ORGAN TRIO

Events OCTOBER 30TH

OLD SCHOOL HIP HOP PARTY W PREZ & SKIBO

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UP FRONT | OCT. 21-27, 2021

CITY LIFE OCT. 21-27 by Jasmine Gaines

THURSDAY Oct. 21

FRIDAY Oct. 22

Let’s Play! In Little Red Schoolhouse @ High Point Museum (HP) 10 a.m.

Adult Fall Festival @ Brown & Douglas Neighborhood Center (W-S) 10 a.m.

Let the kids release some energy in Little Red Schoolhouse. Interactive toys such as blocks, and hand puppets will be available. Free for all ages and mask are required. For more information visit the High Point Museum webpage.

RiverRun presents Storm Lake @ Kilpatrick Townsend (W-S) 6:30 p.m.

Come discuss newsworthy topics with the neighborhood. Join RiverRun to launch Indie Lens pop-up season with the free premiere of Storm Lake. The outdoor show begins with a panel discussion including local “newspaper professionals”. Visit the RiverRun International Film Festival website for more information.

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Brown and Douglas Recreation Center welcomes adults only to this fall festival. This free event will include live music, antique cars and vendors. To book your tickets visit the event page.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic @ Salem’s Elberson Fine Arts Center (W-S) 10 a.m.

Salem Academy and College is celebrating its 250th academic anniversary by hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. No appointments are needed for this public event. This clinic will offer Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines but Pzfizer will be the only booster vaccine available that day. For more information visit the Salem college website.

Harvest Fest @ Grace Baptist Church (W-S) 6 p.m.

Continue celebrating the fall season with a free night of family fun. Grace Baptist Church will have a trunk or treat event, inflatables and food trucks for everyone to enjoy. Visit the website for more information.


Harvest Pancake Celebration @ Greensboro Farmers Curb Market (GSO) 8 a.m.

Chefs Alex and Tim Amoroso of Cheesecakes by Alex will serve their harvest inspired pancakes at the Greensboro Farmers Market annual Harvest Pancake Day. Locally grown pumpkins and apples are included in the feast. Picnic seating and market fundraisers events are first come, first serve. For more information visit the event page.

Washington Park Historic District Tours @ City Park Church (W-S) 10 a.m.

Fall Festival @ Carriage House Senor Living Community (GSO) 11 a.m.

OCT. 21-27, 2021 | UP FRONT

SATURDAY Oct. 23

Carriage House Senior Living welcomes friends and family Join Preservation Forsyth on this two-hour walking tour. to their festive function. Food, raffles and pumpkin paintHistory of the park, highlights of local architectures and ing will be available. Bring outdoor seating and mask for recognition of the small black community that existed with- indoor events. For more information visit the webpage. in a predominately white neighborhood will be discussed. Tour audio will be available on your phone for the mile excursion. Visit the Facebook page for more information.

Fall Food Truck Festival @ Brown Truck Brewery (HP) Noon Community Drug Take-Back Event @ Inmar (W-S) 10 a.m.

Inmar is collaborating with the DEA and the WinstonSalem Police department for this drive thru event to collect expired, unwanted and unused prescription medications to properly dispose of them. Visit the Inmar Facebook page for more information.

What’s better than a food truck festival? A food truck festival with live music and local vendors. The nationally recognized brewery will include food trucks such as Lobster Dog, Mama Churros and Fresh Catch Sea Food. Visit the Brown Truck Brewery Facebook page for more information.

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NEWS | OCT. 21-27, 2021

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NEWS

All For The Money: The 2021 Triad City Salary Guide by Nicole Zelniker

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att Brown does it again. The Greensboro Coliseum director once more tops off the list of highest earners in the Triad at $368,392 per year, $7,223 more than he made last year. Overall, Triad executives continued to make six figures amidst a global pandemic that eliminated around over 22 million jobs around the world. Chuck Watt’s salary as Greensboro’s city attorney continues to rise as well, from $209,000 last year to $213,283 this year. Winston-Salem City Attorney Angela Carmon’s salary rose from $188,557 to $213,000. Not all salaries went up, however, even among the top earners. Greensboro Field Operations Director Julio Delgado’s salary went down from $104,566 to $104,000. Some salaries remained stagnant, like in the case of Winston-Salem Human Resource Director Marquis Barnett or High Point City Clerk Lisa Vierling. Former Winston-Salem Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan Ford has succeeded Greg Demko as High Point’s city manager, where she will oversee a $314 million budget and 1,463 full-time employees. Jonathan Travis Stroud has replaced Kenneth Shultz as High Point’s chief of police. Some of the minimum salaries among city employees also rose. Parking attendants, meter readers and custodians in Winston-Salem and High Point got small raises, as did Greensboro’s crime scene investigators. Overall, minimum salaries rose a few thousand or else stayed the same, as in the case with police officers across all three cities.

Highest salaries earners Entertainment facilities Coliseum Director Matt Brown, Greensboro — $368,392 Deputy Coliseum Director Scott Johnson, Greensboro — $161,045 Executive City Manager Lee Garrity, WinstonSalem — $212,486 Assistant City Manager Christian Wilson, Greensboro — $160,925 Assistant City Manager Larry Davis, Greensboro — $155,278 Assistant City Manager Nathaniel Davis, Greensboro — $152,818 Assistant City Manager Kimberly J. Sowell, Greensboro — $152,818 City Manager Tasha Logan Ford, High Point — $130,158 Assistant City Manager William Rowe, Winston-Salem — $154,891 Assistant City Manager Gregory Ferguson, High Point — $156,087 Legal City Attorney Charles D. Watts, Greensboro — $213,283 City Attorney Angela Carmon, Winston-Salem — $213,000 City Attorney JoAnne Carlyle, High Point — $187,430 Deputy City Attorney Alan Andrews, Winston-Salem — $157,157 Deputy City Attorney James A. Dickens Jr., Greensboro — $135,855 Senior Assistant City Attorney Anthony Baker — $122,853 Police Attorney Brian T. Beasley, High Point — $122,141 City Assistant Attorney Meghan Maguire, High Point – $121,985

Police Police Chief Brian L. James, Greensboro — $185,000 Police Chief Catrina Thompson, Winston-Salem — $187,513 Assistant Police Chief Wilson Weaver II, Winston-Salem — $156,336 Chief Jonathan T. Stroud, High Point — $155,001 Fire Deputy Chief Graham J. Robinson III, Greensboro — $145,196 Deputy Chief Dwayne S. Church, Greensboro — $122,109 Chief William Mayo, WinstonSalem — $169,859 Chief Marion T. Reid, High Point — $164,646 Deputy Chief Richard T. Wright, High Point — $129,995 Deputy Chief Brian A. Evans, High Point — $124.943 Utilities Utilities Director Courtney L. Driver, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County — $129,389 Electric Utilities Director Garey S. Edwards, High Point — $172,232 Assistant Electric Utilities Director Tyler R. Berrier, High Point — $135,882 Economic development Director Loren H. Hill, High Point — $170,776 Chief Information Officer Thomas L. Kureczka, Winston-Salem — $160,722 Information Technology & 911 Communications Director Steven R. Lingerfelt, High Point — $149,177 Chief Information Officer Jane R. Nickles, Greensboro — $141,047

Director Sandra Dunbeck, High Point — $140,000 Senior Information Technology Manager Christine Hofer, Greensboro — $133,727 Assistant IT Director Eric Xavier, High Point — $131,300 Director of Neighborhood Development Michelle M. Kennedy, Greensboro— $120,000 Finance Chief Financial Officer Lisa M. Saunders, Winston-Salem — $187,011 Senior Financial Services Director Marlene Druga, Greensboro — $152,600 Financial Services Director Bobby D. Fitzjohn, High Point — $130,900 Senior Administrative Services Manager Christopher S. Payne, Greensboro — $126,011 Public works/services Operations Director Johnnie F. Taylor, Winston-Salem — $169,670 Public Services Director Terry L. Houk, High Point — $158,296 Assistant Public Services Director Robby D. Stone, High Point — $141,984 Field Operations Director Julio Delgado, Greensboro — $140,000 Customer Services Director Troy R. Martin, High Point — $126,179 Senior Solid Waste Manager Christopher R. Marriott, Greensboro — $122,820 Fleet Services Director Gary L. Smith, High Point — $121,399


OCT. 21-27, 2021 | NEWS

Water Planning Director Sue Smotherman, Greensboro — $142,877 Senior Water Resources Manager Michael M. Borchers, Greensboro — $141,923 Senior Water Resources Manager Kristine W. Williams, Greensboro — $127,512 Stormwater Director Keith Huff, Winston-Salem — $127,044 Planning Director of Workforce Development Chris Rivera— $121,002 Planning Development Services Director Aaron E. King, WinstonSalem/Forsyth County — $141,113 Transportation Director of Transportation Hanna Cockburn, Greensboro — $141,577 Director Toneq McCullough, Winston-Salem — $120,720 Director Mark V. McDonald, High Point — $152,746 Engineering & inspections Engineering & Inspections Director Kenney McDowell, Greensboro — $151,766 City Engineer Robert J. Prestwood, Winston-Salem — $138,747

Facilities Manager Darrell Shumate, Greensboro — $120,855 City engineer Kelly Latham, Winston-Salem — $120,000 Budget Budget & Administrative Director Eric Olmedo, High Point — $156,653 Budget & Evaluation Director Patrice Y. Toney, Winston-Salem — $141,133.25 Director of Budget and Evaluation Jon S. Decker, Greensboro — $121,002 Human resources Director Jamiah Waterman, Greensboro — $143,173 Director Marquis Barnett, WinstonSalem — $134,568 Senior Human Resources Manager Tiffany B. Shelton, Greensboro — $122,176 Director Angela Kirkwood, High Point — $148,857 Facilities Facility Services Director Timothy McKinney, High Point — $148,588

Community/neighborhood development Community Development Director Marla Newman, Winston-Salem — $141,862 Community Development Director Michael McNair, High Point — $138,349 Libraries Director Brigitte H. Blanton, Greensboro — $143,235 Director Mary M. Sizemore, High Point — $126,990 Parks and recreation Director Nasha McCray, Greensboro — $138,235 Director Phillip L. Tillery, High Point — $127,826 Emergency services Guilford Metro 911 Communications Director Melanie Neal — $137,877 Human relations Communications Director Carla Banks, Greensboro — $126,630 Director Wanda Allen-Abraha, Winston-Salem — $122,021 Community & Public Engagement Director Jeron F. Hollis, High Point

— $139,821 Legislative Director Linda J. Barnes (Office of the Mayor), Winston-Salem — $114,412 City Clerk Angela R. Lord, Greensboro — $103,900 City Clerk Lisa Vierling, High Point — $101,851 Purchasing Director Jerry J. Bates, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County — $105,868 Manager Erik S. Conti, High Point — $97,173 Museums Museum Manager Carol G. Hart, Greensboro — $$88,009 Museum Director Edith W. Brady, High Point — $62,807

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NEWS | OCT. 21-27, 2021

Starting salaries Firefighter Greensboro — $36,714 High Point —$36,605 Police officer High Point — $40,365 Greensboro — $38,987 Winston-Salem — $29,767.40 Crime scene High Point (technician) — $38,436 Greensboro (investigator) — $37,633 Winston-Salem (police evidence specialist) — $34,080 Custodian Greensboro — $31,200 Winston-Salem — $29,767 High Point — $27,316 Courier Greensboro — $31,200 Sanitation operator (garbage truck driver) Greensboro — $31,200 Winston-Salem — $29,767 Sanitation laborer/worker Winston-Salem (laborer) — $29,767 High Point (worker) —$30,116 Stormwater technician Winston-Salem — $44,672 Landfill mechanic/tech Greensboro (tech) — $31,200 Meter reader Winston-Salem — $39,018 Greensboro — $31,200 High Point —$30,116

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Parking enforcement specialist/officer Greensboro (specialist) — $31,200 Winston-Salem (officer) — $29,767

Parking attendant Greensboro — $31,200 Winston-Salem — $29,767 High Point — $27,316 Grillroom assistant supervisor High Point — $31,622 Planner Winston-Salem — $47,799 Greensboro — $46,532 High Point — $49,054 Code enforcement officer Winston-Salem (field zoning inspector) — $39,018 Greensboro —$40,267 High Point —$42,375 Groundskeeper High Point —$28,681 Librarian High Point — $40,356 Greensboro — $40,267 Dead animal control worker Winston-Salem — $29,767 Call center representative Greensboro — $31,200 Community resource specialist High Point — $54,084 Mayor Greensboro — $30,000 Winston-Salem — $15,000 Mayor pro tem Greensboro — $23,000 City council members Greensboro — $23,000 Winston-Salem — $10,800


EDITORIAL

Jen Sorensen jensorensen.com/subscribe

Indecision on Leandro is our collective shame

H

ere’s a question we’ve consent order in 2020 committed the been asking around here for legislature to the details of the plan, more than a decade: What which would cost $1.7 billion in new happens when the state legeducation spending over two years. islature violates the state constitution? Funding for the Leandro Plan, We’re asking specifically about Article however, has not been approved by the IX, which guarantees a free public edulegislature, which has yet to sign off on cation to every child living in the state, a budget these many, many weeks after and this is not a rhetorical question: The the long session has usually ended. NC Supreme Court decided back in A Monday deadline set by Supe1997 that in five of our poorest counties, rior Court Judge David Lee has been the state was not keeping up its end extended three weeks, until Nov. 8, at of the deal to provide a which time the plaintiffs “sound basic education.” and the judge must deStill, 24 years later Hoke, cide on ways to compel What happens Halifax, Robeson, Vance the legislature to live up when the state and Cumberland counties to their obligation. have the lowest per-pupil But the Republican-led legislature spending in the state. legislature has said that violates the state the courts have no jurisIn the decades of inaction, generations diction over the House constitution? of children have passed nor Senate. There’s no through these substandard guarantee that, even if a schools. budget would be passed The Leandro v NC decision was far before the deadline, that Leandro fundback enough to implicate both Demoing would be a part of it. crats and Republicans in this complete So the question we posit is a real one, abdication of legislative responsibility. involving a looming impact between That nothing was done until 2017 is our the proverbial unstoppable force and collective shame. That’s the year Gov. immovable object. No one really knows Roy Cooper created a commission that what will happen next, because our state eventually, in 2018, ordered a report government has never achieved this and plan that landed in 2019. A signed level of dysfunction before.

OCT. 21-27, 2021 | OPINION

OPINION

Claytoonz by Clay Jones

claytoonz.com

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CULTURE | OCT. 21-27, 2021

by Edward Cone

Rethinking Robert E. Lee

And the man he grew up idolizing? “My former hero, Robert E. Lee, committed treason to preserve slavery.” Seidule knows many people will be impervious to any facts he musters as a soldier and historian, so he weaves the details and documentation through his own personal story: a guy pushing 60 who grew up aspiring to be a Virginia Gentleman in the image of Lee before realizing well into adulthood that the stories he believed were not true. Those stories were current not only among Southern kids who grew up knowing the name of Lee’s horse (Traveler, duh) or members of the social class that hears the word “Episcopal” and thinks first of the boarding school in Alexandria where Seidule’s father taught. The mythology that centers Lee the saint and superhero has deep roots across white America and retains the power to influence current events and attitudes toward everything from statues in the public square to voting rights and economic opportunity. The legend of a noble and blameless Lee grew up with a lie, a series of lies,” has been a kind of moral get-out-of-jail-free writes Ty Seidule in Robert E. Lee card for generations of Americans with soft and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning spots for the Confederacy, a gateway drug in with the Myth of the Lost Cause. the Lost Cause spiral. That version of history A retired brigadier general and former was a purposeful creation. head of the history department at West Seidule traces the narrative to the period Point, the author eventually stopped believimmediately after the Civil War, when the teing what he had been taught about the Civil nets of the Lost Cause were first elaborated War and its legacy. He wants you to stop in a speech by former Confederate general believing it too. Jubal Early — “the Saint Peter of the Lee cult” Seidule writes with an expert’s assurance — at Seidule’s future alma mater, Washingand a convert’s zeal. ton and Lee. Within decades these stories “The names we use matter,” he says, and were implanted in the national conscioushe is here to name names. The word “plantaness, even infiltrating the grounds of West tion,” for example, with its lingering romanPoint. “The South lost the war but won the tic associations, he eschews in favor of the battle for the narrative.” more direct “enslaved labor farms.” You know the Lost Cause litany: War for There was no Union army: “I refuse to states’ rights, not slavery. Inevitable victory use that terminology any longer… .The boys by the populous industrial North, despite in blue fought in the US Army for the United unsurpassed generalship by Lee, who was States of America… against a rebel force that burdened by an unshakeable duty to follow would not accept the results of a democratic Virginia’s secession despite his personal diselection.”

“I

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taste for slavery. Seidule the military historian acknowledges Lee as an excellent fighting general, but one who was outmatched by the deliberately and unfairly maligned Ulysses Grant. He argues that the north had real opportunities to lose the war. The rest of the mythos Seidule mauls with documentary evidence. Lee’s attitudes toward slavery, he shows, were standard planter-class fare. Every other US Army colonel from Virginia besides Lee (along with some of Lee’s own relatives) honored their oaths to the United States instead of joining the Confederate military. Seidule hammers home the reality that the Confederate States of America came into existence to perpetuate slavery, using the founding documents and founders’ words with ironclad efficiency. Readers invested in the motivations of common soldiers will be disappointed; Seidule does not address that question. His focus is on the politics of the CSA, not your Confederate ancestors or mine, and why Lee resigned his army commission to wage war on the country he swore to defend. He does offer damning thumbnails of several ardently pro-slavery and often feckless Confederate generals for whom US Army bases are named today, and his brisk sketches of battles and commanders are among my favorite parts of the book. I was somewhat less interested in the quick tour of myth-entrenching popular culture from Seidule’s youth, including rereleases of Song of the South and Gone With the Wind, if only because it was highly familiar to me, a North Carolinian of the same age (the author and I even attended the same summer camp in the NC mountains, a place where becoming a Southern Gentleman was as much a part of the tradition as hiking Grandfather; a fellow camper was a namesake and direct descendant of Robert E. Lee). Seidule recounts his awakening to the brutal realities of segregation and racist violence in the towns where he grew up, stillrecent history willfully overlooked by a white

Win enough battles, and someday you win the war.

Culture


believes in the myths of the Lost Cause that they have been misguided? Of course not, as hostile reader reviews online make clear. Still, Seidule is hopeful. If he got it, others can too. He describes a talk at Washington & Lee University’s Lee Chapel that earned him a standing ovation, unthinkable in the very recent past. Win enough battles, and someday you win the war.

OCT. 21-27, 2021 | CULTURE

Southern culture fixated on an imaginary, glorious past. Repentant and angry at his chosen blindness, he cites writers including Frederick Douglass and WEB Du Bois Douglass, not just for historical perspective but as evidence that the truth was in plain sight all along. You, though, he lets off the hook. “It’s not as if the enduring myths of the Confederacy are perpetuated by evil people.” (Well, some evil people, he acknowledges.) But the rest of us he sees as manipulated, not malicious. Many of the arguments presented by Seidule are familiar and even established, but he ties together the Lee and Lost Cause mythology with the flow of American history to the present day in ways that are useful and sharp. Will this slender book — the facts Seidule marshals and the personal voice in which he deploys them — convince everyone who

Edward Cone, a former News & Record columnist and semi-retired blogger, lives in Greensboro.

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CULTURE | OCT. 21-27, 2021

Culture by James Douglas

Mitch Easter’s 40-year odyssey of sound

JERRY COOPER

Mitch Easter crafted the jangle-pop sounds of the 1980s in his Fidelitorium studio in Kernersville, where dozens of college-radio staples were born.

T

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he studio sits at the end of a nondescript gravel road off the highway. Inside, the feel is vaguely ’70s with a modern façade, almost timeless, not set by any particular era or influence. The owner gives a short tour: The pristine reel to reels, vintage microphones and digital recording equipment are placed around the various rooms. They are functional art pieces, ready to be utilized when needed. The cathedral-like main studio is built to foster inspiration when it hits. The place feels like an empty church, quietly waiting for its congregants to show up and, if so moved, speak in their chosen tongues. In a way, it is. Musician, producer and studio head Mitch Easter isn’t the type to talk up his accom-

plishments. Non-imposing, he moves with an ease as he gives a tour of the Fidelitorium, the stylish, yet accessible studio he built in his backyard in Kernersville. “I started the studio in 1980, and I was lucky to immediately record some things that… did something,” he says as he sits in a sunroom adjacent to the studio. Because of the general isolation, the Fidelitorium has amenities to ensure that the artists can take breaks while recording: a stocked kitchen, multiple lounge areas, a guest house. One of those “things” Easter produced was REM’s first single “Radio Free Europe,” which put the band on the map. Easter later produced their first EP, co-produced their first two albums and started Let’s Active, a Winston-Salem based band that included

Easter, Faye Hunter and Sara Romweber. With catchy songs, an off-pop look, and killer instrumentation, they contributed to the early ’80s heyday of post-punk, new-wave indie pop. This style included the B-52’s, REM and Oingo Bongo, among others. His career, which spans numerous decades, venues, artists and self-made studios, is indication enough of his bona fides while the reams of music knowledge contained within his mind offer hours of discussion for music nerds. Easter is a native of Winston-Salem, starting Drive-In Studios, a small studio in a garage at 4527 Old Belews Creek Road, in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem, upon moving back from New York City in 1980. “Nothing was really happening here ex-


OCT. 21-27, 2021 | CULTURE

JERRY COOPER

The Fidelitorium, in Kernersville. It has hosted such artists as Ben Folds, the Avett Brothers, Joe Walsh, Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Wilco and many others.

JERRY COOPER

The Fidelitorium has amenities to ensure that the artists can take a break while recording; a stocked kitchen, multiple lounge areas, a guest house.

Like REM, Let’s Active was picked up by actly, but in a bigger sense, things were,” he IRS Records, an independent label that also says. “College radio was happening and my repped bands like the Go-Gos, the Cramps, studio business kind of fed into that scene.” Gary Numan and the Bangles in the early Pre-internet, and around the advent of MTV, new music was shared via college radio ’80s. From there, it led to touring, albums, and inclusion in the MTV avalanche that and picked up by independent labels, he launched a new medium. explains. It was a way to market to younger “The philosophy of IRS was sort of cool,” audiences and easier to get popular airplay. His choice to operate in a small college town Easter says. “You could almost say ‘crass,’ proved fortuitous; It allowed him to produce or even ‘smart,’ of just messing around with and record other regional bands and start his these little bands that had a punk sensibility and being like, ‘We’ll give you a little bit of own. money to make an album,’ which sort of fit “It was the first band that was like, my the times.” band,” Easter says. “I kind of had to start Let’s Active’s from scratch. Faye first EP, Afoot, was was my girlfriend released in 1983 and from when I was a Mitch Easter will perform at the immediately made teen, and she was Let’s Active 40th Anniversary Event the rounds on college a natural. She had radio. They filmed the started playing bass on November 4th at The Ramkat, single “Every Word and was like, in170 W. 9th St. in Winston-Salem. Means No” from that stantly good. And album for MTV’s “IRS then it was, ‘Well, we Presents: The Cutting just need drums, you know?’” Enter Sara Romweber, a 17-year-old Edge” show, which later evolved into “120 Minutes,” MTV’s late-night showcase of indie drummer from Chapel Hill who was playing music which provided an alternative to their with a ska band. “We had to pester her to join us because equally popular “Headbanger’s Ball.” The band’s full-length album Cypress she was in this band with her boyfriend…. She did eventually cave in,” Easter says with a was released in 1984. It was the last album to feature both Faye Hunter and Sara Romchuckle. “She was great, she really was.”

weber, who passed away in 2013 and 2019, respectively. When asked if he could have done Let’s Active with anyone else, he pauses for a moment. “I think the vibe of those two were absolutely critical to us getting anywhere...,” he says. “Not only were they good, but the whole weird smurfy look we had, and the fact that a lot more women were in bands all of a sudden, I was really happy to be part of that vibe. I wasn’t really a scary punk guy, and the kind of odd pop music we played was really great. It was fun. It was fun to do that.” Easter went on to record two more albums as Let’s Active and has stayed busy as a musician in the years since. More often these days, Easter still records, produces and mixes various artists in his the Fidelitorium. It has hosted such artists as Ben Folds, the Avett Brothers, Joe Walsh, Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Wilco, Between the Buried and Me and many others. He has remained busy mixing during the COVID-19 shutdown, even though they were closed to recording sessions. “I’m rusty,” he says with a hint of sarcasm.

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CROSSWORD

by Matt Jones

1 Brit’s WWII weapon 5 Eight, to Teo 9 Tiny tastes 13 Chance for change, maybe? 14 Bratwurst topper 15 Spike’s demon friend, on “Buffy” 16 Opera highlight 17 Flower in a Texas song 19 Genre for Michael McDonald and Rupert Holmes 21 “___ la vista, baby!” 22 Raphael’s weapon, in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” 23 Chess piece, at times 24 Getaways with a focus on poses 30 Commandeer 31 “The Hangover” actor Ed 32 Progressive character 35 Otter relative 36 Car brand that translates to “I roll” © 2021 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) 37 Galumph 38 Play the quizmaster 39 “Aladdin” character 40 “Real Housewives” channel 41 Longest waterway in China 43 Toward the rear of a boat 46 Objective 47 Prized instrument, for short 48 “I’m serious” 54 “No argument here” 56 “Empire” actor Diggs 57 Like two, but not too? 58 Cardiologist’s procedure, for short Answers from last issue 59 Raison d’___ (justification) 60 Hardy title character 28 Fired up again 61 Abbr. on a cognac bottle 29 Presley-inspired Mexican-American singer with 62 Ticket specification the albums “Graciasland” and “Merry MeX-mas” 32 Chuck D’s Public Enemy partner, for short Down 33 Zero, for Nadal 1 Hang around 34 Dumpster emanation 2 “America’s Next Top Model” host Banks 36 ___ diagram (logic illustration) 3 Impressive in scope 37 Order for humans 4 Vessel crammed full of wildlife 39 “En ___!” (fencing command) 5 McFlurry variety 40 Runny cheese 6 A.P. math subject 41 Longs (for) 7 Smashing fellow? 42 Keep an ___ the ground 8 Prefix meaning “ear-related” 43 Until now 9 Cancels 44 Cooking appliance 10 “Have ___ my mind?” 45 Squares up 11 Bucatini sauce 48 Yangs’ counterparts 12 Lipstick smudge 49 Waffle brand that somehow has a cereal version 14 NBA star Irving in the news for refusing to 50 Propose a romantic connection, in fanfic get vaccinated 51 Like some bloomers 18 Word often used by “Jeopardy!” champ 52 Constellation named for a stringed instrument Matt Amodio 53 Chuck as far away as possible, in modern slang 20 It covers a lot of ground 55 Toyota ___4 (SUV model) 23 It’s hard to distinguish, for short 24 “3:10 to ___” 25 Conditional suffix? 26 Engine buildup 27 Minimal beachwear

SUDOKU OCT. 21-27, 2021 | PUZZLES

Across

“YRs Truly”--more initial reactions.

©2021 Jonesin’ Crosswords

(editor@jonesincrosswords.com)

Answers from previous publication.

If you read

then you know...

• What a Freedom Fridge is • Where to get that bread • How many anti-abortion bills have been introduced this session Triad City Beat — If you know, you know

To get in front of the best readers in the Triad, contact Chris or Drew

chris@triad-city-beat.com drew@triad-city-beat.com

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SHOT IN THE TRIAD | OCT. 21-27, 2021

SHOT IN THE TRIAD

West Gate City Boulevard

CAROLYN DEBERRY

Sprinkle Oil, family-owned for almost 50 years, is known for its full-service gas station and fast oil changes. It is located in the path of UNCG’s southward expansion.

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