Band was literally ground zero for
independent, original Tarheel rock ‘n’ roll.
By Blurt Staff
Legendary N.C. band Arrogance
will be celebrating their 40th anniversary on March 21 at Durham’s Carolina Theatre. For native Tarheels
and music fans alike, especially those of us with long memories, this will be
quite an auspicious event.
Touted as “one of the architects of the alternative
trend of the 1980s” by All Music Guide, Arrogance has long been a crowd
favorite in the Triangle and the influence for a host of bands that followed in
their footsteps. With all the original members, including renowned producer Don
Dixon, this event will showcase the band’s tight harmonies, energetic
performance and witty rock/pop tunes — all the things that still make
Arrogance the best live band in North
Formed in 1969 in a dorm room at UNC by Don Dixon and Robert
Kirkland, Arrogance soon became known for its unique sound, smart lyrics and
exceptional harmonies. Dixon (bass) and Robert (guitar) were joined by Marty
Stout (keyboards), Scott Davison (drums) and Rod Abernathy (guitar) and
the group conquered the hearts of music fans in clubs and venues throughout the
Triangle from 1973-83.
Entertainment critic and co-founder of Spectator Magazine Godfrey Cheshire characterizes the band as North Carolina’s Beatles, tipping
his hat to Arrogance’s innovative nature and insistence on playing and
producing their own music long before the “indie” movement. After two
self-released LPs, Arrogance won national label contracts, recording albums for
Vanguard and Warner/Curb. Their catalog also includes a live album documenting
their 1981 tour and a 2002 release on GAFF.
Arrogance played to packed houses from Virginia
to Georgia, becoming the
most popular band in North Carolina
from the mid ’70s into the early ’80s. Disbanding in 1983 to pursue separate
interests, Arrogance reunited in 2000 to enthusiastic crowds for two sold-out
shows and have been playing ever since.
The influence of
the band is felt throughout the jangle/pop rock genre. Recognized as an NC
Legend, they performed at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Benefit Concert in
September. Some of the bands inspired by Arrogance are the Connells, the dB’s,
Let’s Active, and the X-teens. The band’s influence continued through Don
Dixon’s production work with such groups as REM, the
Smithereens, Guadalcanal Diary, Hootie & the Blowfish, Chris Stamey,
Marshall Crenshaw, Matthew Sweet, and the Reivers.