Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate South By Southwest

I saw that the South By Southwest Festival just wrapped up in Austin. This was at one time the greatest unsigned band festival on the planet, and even now it stands as one of the best festivals for true music lovers and industry types. I could wax on about the Great Music Industry Crash, and how it was so much better In Our Day, but who really wants to read that? The digitization of music let the genie out of the bottle, and the old ways of doing business are dead and gone. The good news is that now anyone can put music out to the public. This of course brings up the bad news. Anyone can put out music to the public. Things change, so be it. Still, it would have been great to have been able to play this, or any year...

We last played it all the way back in 1998 when the music industry was somehow led to believe that roots rock would save their financial ass, and was The Next Big Thing. Ryan Adams from Whiskeytown was walking around at nighttime in aviator sunglasses with whispers that he had signed a deal that gave him an advance large enough to buy an SUV with fancy rims. Alejandro Escovedo and much of the old guard circled around the buzz bands hoping some of the magic would rub off on them and make them a hot commercial entity again. Meanwhile we were just happy to be there and hoped we could convince someone to give us enough money to put out “West Virginia Dog Track Boogie”.

The day before we played our “showcase”, we roamed around Austin checking out parties and other bands. It was pretty cool to stand next to Jimmie Dale Gilmore and talk to Mars from Liquid Soul about his tours with the Psychedelic Furs while knocking back free Lone Stars. It seemed odd that songs we had made up on my couch had enabled us to hang out with honest to God musicians as peers. I pretended not to recognize Sandra Bullock when she stood next to me. I hit all kinds of parties with Sasha, a guy that booked shows for us in Champaign IL and much of the Midwest looking for anyone that might be interested in what we were doing. Meanwhile Krusty, Bobby, and Leo head out with The Enabler, who was acting as our advisor and legal attaché.

The Enabler, being who he was, somehow convinced the guys it might be a good idea to really cut loose that night and “see what happens”. Leo, being who he was, ate a massive amount of mushrooms The Enabler had secured in some shady deal outside of an Ihop I believe. The boys went to a bar with a pool table and shot a game with some locals. Billiards is probably as interesting a way to spend an hour when you are under the influence of a crushing amount of hallucinogens as any other. Krusty and Bobby looked on from a nearby table nursing Shiner Bocks, when Ken noticed how the locals were interacting with Leo.

“Bob! Bob! Look! Those guys think Leo is retarded!” Leo’s behavior had been reduced to making gleeful shrieks of pleasure when he hit a shot. The noise was sort of an “EEhhhhhhheeeeeee!!!!!” that started from the gut and whooshed out with increasing volume. Meanwhile, the guys he was shooting pool with were saying things like, “That was very good Leo. Look at Leo. Leo made a good shot! Hooray for Leo!” in sing song tone you would use with a puppy or “special needs” child. Leo, of course, saw nothing strange in any of this, as he was probably wondering why the walls were melting.

The best part of this whole incident was that Bobby and Ken held onto it. They never confronted Leo with it until months later. I remember like it was yesterday. Leo was giving Bobby a hard time, and Bobby played the card he had been holding for so very long. “Oh yeah Lee? Hey, you remember when you shot pool with those guys in Austin? Those guys thought you were retarded!” Everything got quiet in the van for a few seconds as Leo considered this unexpected new information. “NO! No way Bob!” Leo don’t you remember how they talked to you? You remember how they clapped when you put one in? Leo considered it again. “Oh fuck! Oh fuck! They did think I was retarded!”

In a week or so Rolling Stone will run some sort of corporate sponsored SXSW recap. I’m sure it was great down there. I’ll bet a good time was had by all. But there is no way it was better than that time we went and played.

Advice: I went 4-4 in the last 2 days with the tournament putting me at 15-10 ATS overall. Today I have Florida on the money line, Arizona +4.5, and I teased Florida +.5 with Arizona +9.5. It's getting tricky now...

Advice: I took VCU +11 and the over 148 in the NC/KY game. Why not?


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