I'm Eighteen

Thoughts on the Next Up teen band series

If I have been writing on teenagers playing music as though I knew what I was talking about, I talked rubbish. What I learned over the last five weekends of being in the trenches with more than two dozen bands and performers under age 18 in the Next Up series at Threadgill’s is light years from what I thought I knew observing them from the audience. Here are a few thoughts.

- This is the most underground movement in Austin music right now because there’s no above ground organization, outlet, or venue for teen musicians, yet they are thriving.

- Not only does Austin boast a high level of talented teens, they are exceptionally prepared to play because Austin’s music schools have done a kick-ass job of preparing them to be in bands.

- In order to properly saturate Austin’s teens, these shows will have to move to the suburbs, too.

- Contemporary teens know every lesson MTV has to offer, including how to dress.

- Despite what I wrote about “backstage mothers” (and fathers), all the parents I dealt with were pleasant and easy to work with.

- Today’s parents are much more supportive of their kids wanting to play rock music than previous generations.

- Austin could use some sort of booking agency or resource center for these bands, who would benefit from having a central place to go to for gigs or to network with other musicians.

- The better we prepare these young players now, the more it pays off for Austin in the future.

- Teen bands have traditionally been good for one, maybe two good songs. With today's emphasis on downloadable tracks and the technology to record in a bedroom, teens are better poised to make good music than any decade since the 1960s.

- Two musicians and synthesizer can make a lot of noise.

More commentary and photos tomorrow.

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More Next Up series
Snapshot: Next Up
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Threadgill's hosts the teen bands of tomorrow

Margaret Moser, Nov. 18, 2008

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