The Launch of
Saturn 5 Records is the brainchild of Richard J. Lenz, founder and president of the music enterprise, who decided to bring his long-time involvement and interest in music and business together in a record label for the 21st century.
“Because of my twin loves of music and business – and as an entrepreneur – I was intrigued to see if a new approach might work,” says Lenz. “Given changes to the industry, I thought there might be some new ideas that would be successful.”
Lenz had supported, produced, and marketed a wide variety of community events and festivals over the years, including wine festivals, book festivals, science festivals, food festivals, and road races, among others. In 2003, he produced a music-based charitable event at Gwinnett Arena featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama for a crowd of 4,000 cancer survivors, and later a show on the Decatur Square featuring Patterson Hood of the Drive By Truckers, both planting seeds for what was to come.
Eventually, Lenz decided to establish Lenz Music as a brand that brought his music interests under one name, and founded a record label named Red Eye Gravy Records in 2010.
In 2011, his business partner Mike Killeen recorded and released an album titled Poverty is Real on Lenz’s Red Eye Gravy Records. Soon after, Killeen decided to formally establish a music-oriented non-profit called Poverty is Real (PIR), to raise funds to be passed through to selected community non-profits.
Starting with a small show at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, PIR kept trying to increase the amount of fundraising that could be achieved, and moved into other markets including Nashville, Asheville, Athens, Atlanta, Suwannee, Charlotte, and Charlottesville. In 2014, PIR renamed itself Amplify My Community.
In 2013, Lenz produced a sell-out fundraising event with 12 bands in Atlanta called Beatles VS Stones, which started a thematic series of successful concerts called the Versus series under the Amplify My Community name.
The Decatur set of shows grew in scope and talent, becoming an outdoor festival in spring, featuring well-established acts, with Lenz as the title sponsor. To date, Lenz and Amplify, with additional partners, have produced more than 30 events, raising more than $350,000.
Richard Lenz supported all these efforts by supplying to various degrees the design, marketing, promotion, PR, and operations services of Lenz, Inc., free of charge to Amplify My Community.
His label also supported the non-profit by helping to produce seven compilation albums tied to the events, which served as marketing and merchandise and featured a diverse group of bands and artists, including R.E.M., Five Eight, Widespread Panic, Patterson Hood, and Caroline Herring. Lenz also released a full-length album and EP by artist Nathan Beaver on Red Eye Gravy Records.
In 2014, Richard Lenz decided to change the name of the label to Saturn 5 Records, and released to widespread critical acclaim its first major album on vinyl and CD, titled Eliot Bronson, which was produced by multi-Grammy winning, Nashville phenom Dave Cobb.
In 2015, Richard Lenz’s brother and business partner John Lenz founded a food and catering business called Georgia Smoke, which holds at least two fundraisers a year: an oyster festival in the fall and a crawfish festival in the spring, with funds going to FODAC.
In 2019, Lenz released Ghost, by Mike Killeen, also produced in Nashville by Ken Coomer and available on vinyl and CD.