Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I have been receiving e-mail announcements from bands on the way to SXSW this year. With the state of the major label companies as they are I can't imagine the festival is the same as it was the last time I went to SXSW (10 years ago). I'm sure it is still filled with corporate parties giving bands a place to play while the drunken hordes of people shuttle from club to club, filled with free booze and whatever else the can get their hands on. Various music industry employees trying to get the bands to use or wear products by giving them free samples and giving them free booze.

I wonder if any of the bands actually think they can get a contract with a record company? Is that still the goal, or is it just another gig albeit one with a possibly larger audience than one might have on any other given night. Do the people remember the bands performance better on the night of a festival any better than a regular night? I don't want to come off as bitter, but it just seems like music industry festival gatherings have become more about industry than about music.

I still remember the drummer from another band making a scene at SXSW. The band I worked for had played earlier in the day and we had loaded up our gear and taken it back to the hotel. The rest of the night was ours to party with. We split up everyone wanting to see different shows, with the idea of meeting up when one of the other bands on our label played later that night. When I got to that show one of the label reps asked where the drummer for our band was. they needed to ask if he could play for the headliner that night. After all the scrambling the drummer in question was able to get up and play anyway. When he walked to the stage with 2 roadies holding him up, I wasn't even sure if he was awake. He played the full show with encores , though as I watched from the side of the stage, I thought for sure he might fall over at any minute. I guess that might be called rock and roll.

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