Glynda had some business with my brother Houston, in Athens, so I offered to drive her down in exchange for a leisurely day taking photographs. Turned out to be a good road trip through Georgia, stopping at several interesting points and a couple of landmarks in the university town. The highlight, though, was a stop at Weaver D’s Automatic for the People, a culinary and rock and roll landmark in Athens.
Dexter Weaver, a Georgia Native, moved to Baltimore early in life, where his classmates gave him the nickname “Weaver D 43”, from his high school football jersey number. Weaver D found himself in a variety of retail and fast food settings. Through these endeavors Weaver crafted his catch phrase, “Automatic for the People,” to indicate efficiency, caring and quality. A co-worker suggested that if he ever went into business for himself, that should become his motto.
Fate eventually brought him back to Athens, where he used his business and culinary sense to establish a catering business in the late 70’s, early 80s. His business flourished, and he made a name for himself catering events for frat houses and other university events. In 1986 the old Riverside Cafe closed down, opening an opportunity for Weaver D. He leased the building and opened his soul food restaurant.
Because he had catered so many university events, the place was immediately popular with students as a restaurant where they could get good home-cooked food. One of the patrons was none other than Michael Stipe of REM. In 1992 Stipe approached Weaver about using his catchphrase for the title of an upcoming Album, and Weaver agreed. Released in 1992, Automatic for the People was the eighth album by REM, and received a Grammy nomination. The album has the hits “Man in the Moon” and “Everybody Hurts.” It was also used as the title for a Sarah Connor Chronicles TV episode. Continue reading “Automatic for the People”