Athens’ Favorite Goth: Meet Model Dusty Gannon
This year’s award model for flagpoleAthens’ annual Favorites competition features none other than Dusty Gannon, who many readers may recognize as the frontman of local goth-pop and post-punk band Vision Video. When he’s not dancing on stage donning fishnets and leather, he wears the uniform of a paramedic and firefighter in metro Atlanta. After leaving active military service in 2016 as an infantry officer, the Afghanistan War veteran returned to his hometown of Athens and soon discovered that writing music was the cathartic outlet he needed. needed to unpack the trauma experienced in his past and present areas of work.
“Work is directly related to music for me intrinsically now,” says Gannon. “I write a lot of music based on my experiences with mortality and existentialism. I’ve seen some of the worst and best parts of humanity because of this work. Music now serves as catharsis for some of the worst things that I have seen.
Gannon credits social media as one of the most essential tools Vision Video has used to build an international following over the past two years, while the pandemic has largely kept the entertainment industry as a whole in limbo. He estimates that he probably spends around 30-40 hours a week creating content and engaging with listeners.
“I used to think there was a magic trick to growing your social media, but honestly, you just have to put in the work,” says Gannon. “I consider what I do with the band on social media as part of my musical career. The other half is just conveying vulnerability through what you post. I tell stories about who I am and what I represent, and it’s resonated with people, but I’m also a goofball full of dad jokes, obsessed with horror movies, and listens to too much 80s music. -even in our content, and that’s why it works. If I can do this, anyone can, because I feel like I can barely tie my shoes properly every morning.
Beyond group-related announcements, Vision Video’s social media serves as a positive place to aggregate complex makeup and fashion experiments, motivational posts, and occasional public service announcements, such as a recent video aimed at collecting funds for the veteran-run organization Global Medical and Surgical Group which is currently providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine. His sense of humor shines through a series of short clips featuring “Goth Dad,” an endearing, wholesome character with a Midwestern accent who delivers goth-inspired jokes with moan-inducing punchlines. Often addressing his viewers as his “baby bats”, the character was inspired by his own father as well as bassist Dan Geller’s parents, who live in the Midwest.
“I was writing placeholder lyrics for a riff, and it just randomly popped into my brain: ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if there was some kind of guy almost Mr. Rogers wearing a cardigan, was obsessed with The Cure, had really badass makeup, and told horrible jokes?!'”
His character has been so well received that it has led to a 2022 “Goth Dad Thirst Bat” calendar full of stylized and cheeky portraits. It’s even available on Cameo to request personalized videos with personalized messages.
“Athens is such a special city,” says Gannon, who named his band after the quirky and dearly defunct Vision Video rental shop. “I am and always will be in love with the magic of our music scene. There is such an abundance of talent in this city that constantly intersects and exchanges sounds, ideas and friendships.
Vision Video is currently on tour until April 11 for the second half of its Inked in red tour, making stops at both South by Southwest in Austin, TX and Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID along the way. The band plans to hit the road again at the end of June and are currently putting the finishing touches on their second studio album, which is due out in November. To keep up with upcoming tour dates, music news and other Gannon antics, check out @visionvideoband on instagram and ICT Tac.
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