RALEIGH — Painting in careful brush strokes, Sarah Vetter made her mark on the walls at Deep South the Bar: “I wish I was the moon tonight,” a quote from a 2002 song by Neko Case, painted in an elegant white script on the red wall above a booth.
“I just went with first thought, best thought,” said Vetter, who works as a Web designer for Deep South Entertainment. “I’m kind of obsessed with Neko Case, and we spend a lot of nights in here chilling and drinking. So it fits.”
Since opening in 2007, Deep South’s main indoor décor has consisted of song lyrics by everyone from the Beach Boys to Bob Marley, painted on the walls by employees, patrons, friends and musicians. The downtown Raleigh nightspot periodically has people in to freshen the walls with new lyrics, and the latest session was Sunday afternoon.
“I always say it was just because of my inability to decorate,” said Deep South owner Dave Rose. “I didn’t know what to do, so I just said let’s invite a bunch of friends over to paint the walls.”
Several dozen folks passed through Deep South on Sunday to contribute, including Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane – who considered James Brown or Dave Matthews, but ultimately went with a Beatles quote, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Lauren Rogers, who works as an event supervisor for Deep South, painted a quote from Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” It was an easy choice.
“I have a wing tattooed behind my left ear,” Rogers said, “so it was not difficult to pick a song.”
Other lyrics that went up on Sunday were by Superchunk, Mountain Goats, the Rolling Stones and even drone-metal band Sunn O))), among others. They joined a roll call that includes lyrics by John Lennon, Queen, Big Star, The Who, The Smiths, Green Day, U2, Johnny Cash and R.E.M.
Rose’s contribution from 2007 – “Turn it up,” the beginning of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1970s classic-rock standard “Sweet Home Alabama” – is still on the wall above the bar.
“Artists love seeing it all when they come in,” Rose said. “And I love it because you can get drunk just from reading every lyric.”