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An interview with a neighbor: Frank Schultz

Even after 30 years, musician Frank Schultz's neighborhood still surprises



Frank Schultz, 51, has lived in Little Five Points for nearly 30 years. He is a homeowner and an engineer for Forensic Audio Labs, a company that provides forensic audio services for law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system, and private businesses. Shultz also plays lap steel guitar in the group Duet For Theremin and Lap Steel.

I have lived in Little Five Points since the fall of 1984. I originally moved into an apartment in what is now the sort of cream-colored condo building that's right behind Zesto's on Moreland Avenue. In '89 I moved into the house where I am now. I love living in the neighborhood for a number of reasons: The interesting mix of people there is very cool, and you can get through most days without having to drive anywhere. People-watching is good, there are some good watering holes in the neighborhood, and some great places to see live music like Variety Playhouse and Star Bar. I would be happy if Park Atlanta would get out of there. I walk up anywhere in the neighborhood where I need to go, but I see people getting tickets left and right, which could lead to a really negative experience — you go out for a night where you're just going to a show and maybe having a couple drinks. All of the sudden it's $50 more expensive! They don't seem to be too forgiving either, so I have no love for Park Atlanta.

I've been there for almost 30 years, and I don't know that Little Five Points has changed all that much in that time. Sure, it ebbs and flows in terms of good and bad: The shops change, the people change a little bit, but the mix mostly has stayed the same. I'm sure it has gotten better, but I've never really felt unsafe there, although I did get mugged and got the crap beaten out of me, probably in '88, in the back parking lot behind the old Jamaican place, Bridgetown Grill. But that's the only time that anything has happened to me there.

During the 30 years that I've been there, I have a ton of great memories of going to shows or just hanging out with friends.

The only celebrities that I've ever really met or hung out with were the guys from the band Morphine. They played Variety Playhouse one night, and I went out for a drink afterward and ended up sitting at the same table as them. A buddy of mine was trying to figure out what to do about a woman situation that he had going on in his life, and these guys coached him right through it. They made a list of the pros and cons, and were quite helpful — it was really funny.

I've seen a lot of fun shows in L5P. The first time I saw the Residents play at Variety Playhouse back in 2002 was incredible. The first time I saw Patti Smith at Variety was really great. I also saw Sun Ra play at 7 Stages, and that was one of the most powerful shows that I've ever seen. I remember at one point I looked and the people to both my left and my right were weeping. ... I've seen a lot of great shows in Little Five Points.

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