I will impressed if anyone other than Bobby Lerma, Chris Burch or Wayne Barnes knows about this band. Guadalcanal Diary was from Marietta, Georgia, not Athens like many people were led to believe. It makes sense that fans may have thought this since the band’s jangle pop guitar sound made it easy to compare them to bands such as R.E.M.
Guadalcanal Diary may not enjoyed the mainstream success that R.E.M. did but they did have success on the alternative and college radio circuits. 2X4 is probably the most well-known album due to the success of the single “Litany (Life Goes On)” but my favorite album remains the band’s 1986 sophomore release Jamboree. The two lead tracks “Pray for Rain” and “Fear of God” provided a formidable one-two punch to lead off a great album.
One of my fondest concert memories was the band opening for R.E.M. at Mesa Amphitheatre during the tour for Life’s Rich Pageant. Guadalcanal led off its set with “Pray for Rain” and no joke, it started raining during the song. I couldn’t make up something that cool. Check out “Fear of God” for a little taste of a band that deserved to be much bigger than it was.
Album Inspiration: Jamboree