Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SXSW or bust: notes from the road pt. 1

Posted By on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 11:20 PM

click to enlarge Howlies with producer Kim Fowley
  • Howlies with producer Kim Fowley

7 p.m. It's Monday night and it feels like the calm before the storm. As I type these words I'm sitting in the back of a van with the four members of Atlanta rock and roll, power pop what ever you want to call it band, Howlies, and we're speeding toward Austin, TX. I think we’re in the Central time zone; as good a time as any to test out the action on this laptop that I borrowed from CL’s marketing director, Leigh Anne Rehkopf – mine was stolen out of the trunk of my car during in smash and grab job perpetrated by thieves in the Virginia Highlands last month.

Midnight. We didn't get out of Atlanta until 8 p.m. I’m zapped of energy already. I woke up this morning with a fever, a nagging sniffle and a red raw nose, but the steady intake of Dayquil has me in a pleasant, though hazy head space. GZA’s Liquid Swords is creeping out of my headphones and the he dull thud of every beat and the hiss that smothers every kung-fu chop matches the wheeze in my chest and slurred thoughts in my head. Is it the cold, or the cold medicine that’s making it so difficult to concentrate right now? At any rate, it’s all coming together to get my mind off of the fact that I still don’t really have a place to stay once we get there.

3 a.m. I was able to get a room about 5 miles outside of Austin for $45 via Priceline.com. Not sure what to do about Wed. night. The plan isto rely on the kind ness of others, namely Zoroaster who will be arriving a day after us. But things have changed. A death in the family is pulling me away from the SXSW madness. On Thurs. morning I will get on a plane in Austin and fly to Omaha. My grandmother died on Sun. morning, and I have to get back to deal with family stuff. Two days at SXSW are better than no days at SXSW, and I'll tear it up until I have to leave.

Earlier this week Atlanta's PBR rep., Bean Summer heard that I was going to be homeless the first few days in Austin, and gave me a PBR tent that’s shaped like a man-sized Tall Boy. I was starting to look forward to it, but I’ll take the hotel room.

5 a.m. The Howlies are playing at Emo’s tonight. It’s the book release party for rock poster artist Lindsay Kuhn. The following night (Wed., March 17) they're playing a CL-sponsored showcase at the Galaxy Room. Rocky Erickson is playing the same stage earlier in the afternoon.

7:30 a.m. I have a tentative schedule for Atlanta and related shows going on tonight.

The Coathangers: 8 p.m. @ Scoot Inn w/ the Strange Boys and Thee Ohsees

Constellations: Zynga Party / Fader Fort. 8:30 p.m. 1101 E. 5th St.

The Coathangers: 9 p.m. Panache Pre Party SXSW show @ Scoot Inn

Howlies: 10 p.m., Emo's (Lindsey Kuhn book release party)

Golden Triangle: Panache Pre-Party Midnight @ Scoot Inn.

8 a.m. I had been planning to hit up the Motorhead show on Wed. night at 10:30, but after posting some photos from the drive on Facebook I've learned that a high school friend of mine, Mark Schaffer, a.k.a. Schafer the Dark Lord, a.k.a. Emcee S.T.D is playing at the Karma Lounge at the same time and I can't really miss it.

11 a.m. The great state of Texas is pouring down rain. It's going to be cold tonight, but warmer tomorrow. The drive has been relatively easy so far. We spent most of the night talking about records, sharing cell phone photos of our cats, and dozing in and out of consciousness. It's impossible to sleep in this van. Every time I drift off to sleep and we hit a bump in the road, I think we're having an accident. I spent most of the night spooning with the van's spare tire, which they keep in the van ever since someone in Chicago tried to steal it. The soundtrack for this trip so far has been mostly old blues records from Bo Diddley and the likes. At the moment we're listening to Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan and it makes me feel like I'm tripping... Trippin' With Howlies! I need sleep.

2 p.m. The rain died down as we pulled in to downtown Austin. I checked in for my media credentials and "swag bag" without waiting in line for too long. I'm pretty sure the woman in line behind me was Carrie Brownstone from Sleater Kinney. We met Kim Fowley shortly thereafter. He was eating BBQ at the convention center and was totally excited to see the Howlies -- he produced their first album, Trippin' With Howlies last year, and was handing out cards like they were Halloween candy. Every one laughed about a recent quote he had in an LA Times story in which he said the upcoming Runaway's film, Cherry Bomb makes him look like Darth Vader as a used car salesman.

2:30 p.m. The Howlies dropped me off at the Red Roof Inn, and went on their way. They're going to sleep, rest and get ready for their show later tonight. A sane person in my shoes would do the same, but I've only got one more day here, so I have to make the most of it. The concierge tells me that the no. 7 bus stops only a few blocks from here and will take me where I need to go.

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