Monday, September 15, 2008

Roosevelt - Athens Nth Golden Era

Here is the download - Roosevelt Discography

1-3: From the Fuel Compilation
4-6: From the Person Single
7-16: From the Shingle LP

When I was in 11th grade (in 1991), I played in a band called Finletter with a guy named Brian Sweeney, who is the little brother of Kevin Sweeney from Hayride, one of the pillars of the Athens rock scene over the years. Brian introduced me to all kinds of Athens bands from the time, and out of all of them I think Roosevelt was my favorite. To me they were kind of like The Meat Puppets (who I enjoy immensely), taken to a different level with their incredible instrumentation and skill. It might be a bit noodley for most people, and this sound when done by other bands can be really horrible, but it fits them perfectly. They were also one of those bands that made better music the longer they were around, as I like the last music they did far more than their earlier work. I arranged the unofficial discography in this order so the "hits" in my opinion are right up front.

One of the other great aspects of Roosevelt is that it featured Mr. Ballard Lesemann on drums. Henry Owings mentioned that Kyle Spence and Jerry Fuchs are the best drummers Athens/Atlanta ever created, but I would also have to put Ballard right up there with them. I never got to see Roosevelt in person, as I started school in Athens in the Fall of 1993, after they broke up. However, I would see Ballard around town and was way too timid to talk up drums with him. Later on he played in The Germans, and I believe Hayride for a time as well as the Rock A Teens, but then moved to Charleston where he works in the newspaper business. Roosevelt will play a show from time to time, and released a CD retrospective back in 2001, but I was not aware it even existed (or the shows for that matter) until I did a bit of research for this post. Atlanta can be a completely different world sometimes. If I get my hands on the CD, I will post it here as well for completeness sake as it has some extra stuff that is not on the main releases I have here.

Here is their page from the Athens Fuel Compilation:

Here is the artwork from the Person single:

Here is the artwork from the Shingle LP, sorry my scanner isn't big enough to fit the entire image.

For more info, check out their Myspace page.


  1. When I moved to Athens in '91, Roosevelt was one of the few bands (along with The Woggles, Dashboard Saviors and JackONuts) that I knew of. Although Jerry and Kyle are stellar drummers in their own right, Ballard was always bedrock. The Bun E. Carlos of the Athens scene, if you will. Not a flashy drummer, but you could go to the bank with him. Elf Power? Rock*A*Teens? Hayride? Bam. All great uses of his talents. I should also add that Ballard continues to be an extremely close friend even though he sadly moved back to Charleston. His Fall cover band "Fiery Jack" was one of his many hijinks. Another one being, of course, when he performed Chronic Town at the Engine Room and Stipe got up and sang with him. Ballard always was, and continues to be, one of the most charming and talented people I've met since I moved to Georgia almost 20 years ago.

  2. Ballard was also the nicest Grit employee there was, always respectful. If I'm not mistaken, he was also in Monsters Of Metal who played late 70s early 80s hard rock covers.
    My favorite Ballardism was getting the chance to go to the movies with him as a guest of Steven Tanner and Kyle Spence (I never really knew him beyond the typical Athens "nod of acknowledgement"), as Ballard had his movie review show on local cable at the time, and would spend entire Saturdays at the Georgia Square Mall Cinema watching movies back to back to back. Talk about endurance.

    James, I'll bring you that Hayride lp so you can do a post on them in the future.

  3. I think Ballard use to work at Steverinos in Athens as well.