The 40 Watt Club is a music venue in Athens, Georgia. Along with CBGB's, the Whisky a Go Go, and selected others, it was instrumental in launching American punk rock and "New Wave music." The 40 Watt Club had its origins as Curtis Crowe's College Avenue loft back in 1978. Bill Tabor and Curtis joked that it was a 40 Watt Club due to the single 40 Watt bulb which hung from the ceiling. Curtis first party in his space featured his band Strictly American a group of friends from Marietta, Georgia which included members of the future Guadalcanal Diary. Curtis and Bill would hang out in his loft upstairs and listen to Michael Lachowski and Randy Bewley practice the same riff over and over again in the space directly below. Curtis eventually knocked on their practice space and asked if they could use a drummer and Pylon was born.
During Pylon's subsequent tours of the Northeast, Curtis theorized that opening a real club on a shoestring was possible. Crowe and his partner Paul Scales then moved the "club" across the street to a space above a sandwich shop at the corner of College and Broad Streets. It opened with Curtis still making last minute additions to the bar and stage. The Side Effects played that first night and Pylon on the second. It was an instant smash with the local youth of Athens. The floors had to be reinforced with removable beams due to the intense dancing that took place. Later, with new partner Steve Allen, Scales migrated the club to a larger space on West Clayton Street. Amenities such as a stage and hot water were added, as was a second bathroom. True to the 40 Watt method it was assembled with found materials (including toilet and sink) and volunteer labor.