SXSW Encore: Eric Burdon

Animals frontman Eric Burdon put his stamp on SXSW 2012

Eric Burdon at the Gram Parsons Foundation Launch, Jo's Coffee, 3.14.2012
Eric Burdon at the Gram Parsons Foundation Launch, Jo's Coffee, 3.14.2012 (by Jana Birchum)

Eric Burdon never let his career get in the way of his musical vision. From classic British Invasion chartoppers with the Animals (“House of the Rising Sun”) and later War (“Spill the Wine”), to the modern Animals (including local drummer Brannen Temple), Burdon is still sharp, relevant, creative, and inspired 50 years after breaking out of North England.

For Valentine’s Day, the singer posted a video with new song “Wait” in the background, wishing fans “love, because that’s what it’s all about.” At least that’s what he told us, calling from his California home one early-March morning anticipating an appearance at the Gram Parsons Foundation Launch last Wednesday at Jo's Coffee and perhaps even his guest spot at Bruce Springsteen's epic Moody Theater. Did I mention Burdon was also a presenter at the Austin Music Awards?

“I don’t believe in love the same way I used to. I’m just finding out what love is for the first time in my life. I’ve always been an advocate of women. Loving women and loving powerful women and women in business, like when they become directors instead of just actors.

“I always thought I knew about women until I got married. Then I realized I knew nothing about them. It’s an ongoing learning process.

“My early music was ‘guy’ stuff, and we had ‘guy’ audiences more than girls. By the time we got to the U.S., we had these screaming Beatles-type audiences, which I hated. I know the Beatles did. I remember John [Lennon] telling the audience to shut up as they were trying to sing a love song.

“The charge of a singer is to get control of an audience, but not in an obvious way. If you’ve ever seen a bullfighter take command of a charging Spanish bull and stop it dead in its tracks, hypnotized by his movements, that's what you have to do.

“I’ve always looked at an audience as an animal, a wild tiger out there that can devour you if you make the wrong move. You have to be very respectful.”

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Eric Burdon, the Animals, War, Spill the Wine, Brannen Temple, Bruce Springsteen, Gram Parsons Foundation, 2011/12 Austin Music Awards, Bealtes, John Lennon

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