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CNN Today

North Carolina High-Tech Workers Break Stereotype That Geeks and Creativity Don't Mix

Aired March 8, 2000 - 1:57 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Try this on for size: Can you imagine if we went upstairs and said, say, we'll be late for work because our band is playing a gig?

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I can see it, Donna, you and me.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, it is all part of keeping creative employees happy.

CNN's Marcia Walton reports on some guys who play music who are also pretty good with computers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSHA WALTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In North Carolina's research triangle, the Silicon Valley of the Southeast, some workers thrive at both the logical and the artistic. This band called Cage breaks out of the stereotype that geeks and creativity don't mix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The music is all play and it takes you away for awhile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me personally, I feel as if music just makes me feel good. If I feel good, I do my job well, too.

WALTON: For years, the Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill area has been a hotbed for musicians. It's emergence as a high-tech center has added to both the players and audience for a wide range of sounds.

JAMES CLARK, SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR/KEYBOARDS: I think there's a lot of similarities between working out a problem, you know, on a server, a coding error, and working on a song.

WALTON: For sing years, Nomad Project AV has performed a dark and daring techno style.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): I have to laugh. Sometimes it's all joke on me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be able to live out at least a small little rock star dream is a wonderful thing. WALTON: By day, engineer Paul Carpenter (ph) pounds on cell phones to help Ericsson designers anticipate the abuse users will put them through. About a year ago, he started jamming with some colleagues. They soon entered and won a corporate band challenge.

In a performance for co-workers, Cage unveiled some original songs and helped dissolve a stereotype many people have about geeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you tell them you're an engineer, the first thing they think is that you can't do anything artistic.

WALTON: None of these high-tech professionals has serious plans to trade their computer code for a life on the road making music, but it's an important outlet.

Marsha Walton, CNN, Raleigh, North Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: All right, from now on, engineers are not geeks. Let's remember that.

KELLEY: Yes, and we need them. We really need them.

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