Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Watch This Space For SXSW Coverage


One of my all-time favorite SXSW performers, 6th Street 2006

I'm just south of Austin now, a little tired from the drive to Santa Fe, but eager to hit the South by Southwest Music Festival Wednesday night.
The Waco Brothers always are a highlight

I'll be blogging at least once a day. Figuring how to balance sleep and blogging is a constant problem during the festival. But it's a good problem to have.

I've got a long history with SXSW. The first time I attended was in 1995. It basically was a spur of the moment decision following a conversation with the late Alex Magosci, a coworker who had a band called Junk, which he fondly referred to as "Santa Fe's most dysfunctional band." He convinced me to travel with junk, which at that point was just a duo, Alex and his girlfriend Virginia Plain (but everyone knew her as "Sandy"), in their convertred school bus, lovingly dubbed The Junk Heap.

Junk rocks Brazos Street, 1995
No, they didn't have an actual slot at the festival, but Alex thought he had lined up a few non-affiliated gigs. So I got my press credentials (which was so much easier back then) and talked my editor into giving me time off to go to Austin for a big Sunday spread. She even got me a little walking around money for the trip. (That was so much easier back then too.)

It was a wild trip. The Junk Heap, which we all thought was parked safely, started rolling unmanned and nearly hit a gas pump in Santa Rosa. The the damned thing broke down in Clovis. It was obvious the bus would never get to Austin. My editor was expecting a big feature on the festival, so I ditched Alex and Sandy and took a plane from Lubbock.

The Hickoids 2012
I felt bad for them, but a couple of days later, who did I run into but Alex and Sandy. The Junk Heap had come through. Of course, all the gigs Alex thought he had lined up fizzled one by one. They tried to set up in various spots along Sixth Street only to get get thwarted one by one. Finally Alex found a friendly shopkeep on Brazos who let him plug into the store's electrical outlet. They started playing right after an Irma Thomas outdoor show about a block away, so they got an instant crowd. They played an inspired handful of songs, which was cut short once again by the Austin police. But they sold about $200 worth of their cassette tapes.

I joined them for the drive back. The Junk Heap broke down again, this time in Fort Stockton, Texas. I barely made it to work Monday afternoon.

Too much fun at the Moose Lodge, 2012
I attended the next five festivals. Then, when I started covering the Legislature in 2001, I had to cut back to every other year because the session is 60 days every odd-numbered year. And the last week always falls during SXSW.

My daughter moved to Austin a few years ago, so these days when I come to Austin for SXSW I usually spend the days with her and her husband and my grandsons -- and prowl for music at night.

So I'm back again. Watch this space, and tell your friends. 

And if you're really hard up for reading material, check out some of my old SXSW coverage HERE.


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