By Donna Parker
At first blush, you’d think the Peloponnesian War would have little in common with a modern-day rock band, but then you wouldn’t have crawled into the minds of brothers Charlie and Jamie Roadman, and friends Kevin Higginbotham and Erik Sanden, members of the band Athens v. Sparta and fellow Trinity alumni. Jamie ’94, Kevin ’93, and Erik ’93 received their bachelor’s degrees in English. Charlie received his bachelor’s degree in history in 1992.
“Erik and I were in an undergraduate Trinity history class with Colin Wells, department of history and classical studies, on the Peloponnesian War,” explains Charlie.
“We had delayed reading Thucydides until the last three of four days, reading 20 hours a day and passing the final exam.”
“That was in 1991 and about eight years ago, Erik gave me a copy of Thucydides and we just started writing songs that chronicled the war and relayed its history. I guess Colin’s class material had just been simmering inside us for a long time,” he jokes, “because as well as I remember, our grades were in the B-C category.”
The group debuted the album with all its cuts to a packed house at the Cactus Café in Austin recently. The band members laugh that everyone seemed surprised to see everybody else there. It was astonishing to discover that there were so many Thucydides fans in Texas.
“We kicked buttock,” says Kevin. “We performed the entire album from start to finish with narration by local actor, Ken Webster,” adds Jamie, who finishes, “It was a difficult thing to time the music and narration, but it came out wonderfully.”
The band terms it classicist rock – really just a concept album that’s caught on in Austin and may strike a chord soon in San Antonio, when the band does it again at Casbeers on April 18.
“It’s an old church venue, which is incredible and it really should be fun!” says Charlie.
They describe their group friendship as a “rich tapestry,” having known each other for 15 years and played together the majority of that time. Jamie and Erik currently play in Buttercup -- well known in the South Texas area.
“Our friendships are rooted strongly in the bands and people still ask us to play.”
Not bad for boys who “got into various states of malfeasance” on the Trinity campus from “day three-on.” In fact, their story is that Coleen Grissom, the then Dean of Students, used to tell their class president that she had an entire file cabinet on the antics of Erik. Kevin fondly remembers Erik and his roommate sitting on top of the goal posts of Alamo Stadium one night, so it doesn’t seem far from the truth.
But even back then, some professors caught the band bug with Willis Salomon, department of English, telling Jamie that his term paper was “OK,” but he enjoyed seeing him play the drums the night before more.
Kevin and Charlie now are the two “grownups” in the group of four, with the other two reportedly still “resisting the real world.” Charlie is a practicing attorney in Austin. He is married to Julia Vorwerk Roadman (Trinity '95), with a young daughter named Anna. And another daughter is on the way. Kevin is a consultant in San Antonio and has a young son named Finn; Jamie works in a bookstore and he is married to Lexa; and Erik, who says he’s still trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes, is a musician.