this must be the place....goin strong , yeah baby!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ESCAPES 2014 // SXSW RECAP pt 1, preface

Yo. I love you all

I like to do a recap every year on what went down, mainly so I can remember exactly what happened and save it for posterity, since its all such a blur, but also for other people interested in what is going on with this weirdo rock thing and sharing perspectives, but I think I am going to do it a bit differently this time.  SXSW is a major vibe bomb for everyone.  Without going to far into it, it was really sad what went down in front of Mohawk this year, and I do think it weighed on everyones conscious a little bit.  Before that happened, i noticed people driving like batshit crazy style (as Thor would say "drunk driving is for rich assholes", well sxsw is pretty much the largest rich asshole magnet known to man). Then afterwards it seemed like people were driving with more courtesy.  I couldn't help but think of the short story "The Lottery" which like any good middle schooler I read.  Basically the town sacrifices one random person to "ensure" a good harvest because they are superstitious or something.  At least thats how I remembered the story going.

But yeah, I am very tiptoey, because the whole vibe bomb thing casts a pretty wide net.  For example, someone left a mini-Korg at one of the shows I did and I posted it on facebook "is this your mini-korg?" yet I couldnt help but wonder, actually I thought it like this, "probably someone is going to see that post and think i am bragging about what a great guy i am getting ppl their gear back, and they are going to hate me for it."  Because people do think like that, trust me.  Its weird the ways you can inspire hatred, and its worth being tiptoey about.  Some of the best advice I have gotten recently, or maybe it wasnt the best advice so much as it was the advice most applicable to my life, was sort of second hand......I was at dinner with my dad and 2 of his business associates (he is a wine importer) and this dude who is now like the #1 salesman in Austin or Texas or something, his bullshit is real good ol' boy style, but I have met this guy enough times to know its an act, he said something about this woman in the business and he said, authoritatively "she needs to keep her mouth shut."  The way he said it sounded real chauvy, but it was a little more nuanced then that --- actually I had been looking over at my dad cause i got confused what to do in this situation (I have no business with these guys obviously, i am just sort of at dinner) and the answer was, hey everythings cool, you just need to keep your mouth shut.  Thats what I should have been doing, just watch, learn, and be comfy while these guys do their shit.  So I took it to half-mean the guy was talking to me, and actually telling me something really helpful.  But also, in a way, this is the liquor sales business in Texas we are talking about, not the fuckin friars club or whatever, this guy would have no trouble saying some other male needed to "keep his mouth shut", it actually is important business information and probably appropriate in a weird way, and he is actually doing his job to talk about this other business actor in the same way, be that actor male of female (as well as being convincing as a salesperson by talking authoritatively in that manner).  double edged sword of equality.

And I do have something to say a little later about what women face, especially being in bands, cause I didnt really notice it before this year, but women do have it harder in certain basic regards --- harder getting the soundman to do his fuckin' job, harder because x number of ppl you meet are all trying to get in your pants (at all levels of industry), and if you do you are slut shamed and if you dont they just all get mad at you, and its difficult.  like, wow.  Or maybe i should say its tricky.  As a guy, I face certain things too, but I think all and all humanity would be better served if the average guy had a better understanding of what the average woman goes thru in certain situations.

Peoples gear getting stolen is a major fucking vibe bomb.  Its happened to me in years past.  This year, miraculously, I lost nothing except my computer charger (who knows, maybe its around here somewhere).  But Cloud Becomes Your Hand and Moonsicles definitely got gear stolen and it just puts such a bad taste in your mouth.  Moonsicles was down to play this art gallery show I had set up for them at 5 AM, and they had to cancel because they had their gear stolen --- I cant imagine they would have agreed to play at 5 AM unless it was something they were excited about, so think about that for a second.  Cloud Becomes Your Hand, I exchanged with those guys this pissed off sideways knowing glance because "its always at the best shows that your gear gets stolen, isn't it?"  you let your guard down for one second because you are having such a great time, and the vibe of the place seems legit like you are welcome and at home, etc, and boom, that show just cost you $1000 to play.  Fucked up shit.  And that aggregates and it matters.  CBYH has really nice gear, they are serious musicians from Brooklyn and they have an electric vibrophone and a violin player and a lot of electronics -- some people would probably see all their fancy gear and assume that they are rich or something, but I see it a bit differently -- I assume all musicians are basically broke, so if they have more money invested in their gear it probably will make it even harder for that band to replace.  "oh theyre rich, they have all this nice gear, they can probably afford to replace this."  bullshit.

SO that was some of the negativity.  There was a lot of positivity too  -- MAJOR positivity.  I met a lot of cool people and psychedelically bonded with some people who stayed at my house.  There were some people who legitimately get what I am doing, and why, and that means the world to me, because the status quo basically feels like you do all this shit for other people and then you get misunderstood and people treat you with suspicion. I will say, that when it comes to the Major League Baseball of Rock and Roll, you need to punch your own ticket, and there is no way around that, unless you want to be at the mercy of someone else's beck and call.  as Jerry Jeff Walker says, "if you want to be free, you have to be your own boss."  So I have been trying to do that, and in a weird way that could be considered an expression of the will, or of the self, but the way I do things is really about other people, thats actually a trick that I think is what makes the whole thing work, and what other people by and large miss.

I got to book a lot of my friends bands and I got to see a lot of my friends from out of town all at once.  I got to see my friends in Austin lose their shit on a number of occasions, and I personally got to lose my shit (i mean this in a good way of course, as in "i just saw the most awesome band and the whole crowd was losing their shit").  I had this thought towards the end of the pool party like about the absurdity of the situation is the sense that I was asking myself the question "so is this what it takes to get me off?"  Like why should it be going to Herculean lengths, planning something for 3+ months, dealing with a mountain of bullshit, etc, .... why cant i just be a normal person?! ha.  But it all works --- the best things that happened to me over sxsw are weirdly mundane in a way --- my parent's told me they loved me, my best friend's dad called me a man, and I went on a sikk ass date, which I have no idea how that happened, first of all people dont even go on dates any more, and second of all I am typically retarded when I try to talk to a woman I am attracted to.

The thing about rock and roll is it really expressed the peak of what humans are capable of, the individual and also as an aggregate, and most people dont have that much of a reference point with peak experiences.  Anyways, more blogging recap to follow but I am going to keep it brief to the point of being curt and also not really talk about Austin bands since that would turn into a circle jerk real fast, obviously I only went to see or booked Austin bands that I really like and also that I want to support their music because I believe in it.  


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