Thursday, April 16, 2009
SXSW 2009: The Inside Scoop
After much cajoling and a little trickery, much like pulling teeth, I managed to get a brief, straight-up insiders report on this year's South by Southwest Conference and Festival from our own main man, "Mr. Insider", aka "The Indian", Missouri born, New Orleans bred, RI adoptee, ex-Red Rocker and ex-Raindog,and the current Man Behind the Curtain for Paul Westerberg and Roky Erickson, Darren Hill:
This year was much different for me than past years. We had just finished up most of the new Roky/Okkervil River record and took advantage of having all the label folks (what's left of them) in town - had them come down to the studio at various times to hear rough mixes. I kept having to run across town for that. Meanwhile, I was more interested in the business side of things this year than the music. I spent most of my days at the panels and in meetings, rather than at the day parties hearing bands and drinking beer.
The biz is upside down and I'm trying to get a handle on where things are heading now that we're over the cliff. My panel turned out to be entertaining. Kid Rock's manager kept it lively - picking fights with a couple of the other managers.
I did see some good shit this year, but nothing really worth reporting on. It's truly overwhelming - 1900 official bands showcasing, probably another 1000 on top of that. Every band plays multiple shows. It's not as easy as it used to be to jump around from show to show, so you really have to set an agenda. I had little interest in the "surprise" appearances by Metallica, Kayne West, Jane's Addiction. Saw Devo with my buddy Josh playing drums. The Sonics sounded great but are tough to look at. Did I tell you they're trying to get me to manage them? Little Steven's interview/rant was pretty cool.
Roky's Ice Cream Social was a hit again this year. I got name checked by the editor of Mojo in his report and I saw a bunch of "buzz" bands that I didn't understand.