SXSW Interview: Tony Wilson

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SXSW Interview: Tony Wilson

Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 14 Founder of Factory Records (New Order, Happy Mondays), Tony Wilson -- or someone who claimed to be him -- showed up in a queue the other night. After the vague, beer-fueled pleasantries that are part and parcel of virtually every meeting in Austin this week, Wilson -- older, wiser, and the subject of a Michael Winterbottom film gone wonderfully awry -- graciously acknowledged the off-cuff praise being bandied his way. There was a lot of it. And why not? Has anyone else done more in the service of perfectionist pop music while simultaneously doing less? The minimalist beats of New Order's "Blue Monday," which Wilson had a roundabout hand in post-Joy Division, sounded just shy of old hat last year. Now, with war looming for both Blair and Bush, the chilly anthemics of Sumner, Hook, Morris, and Gilbert seem downright prescient. And that goes double for the Happy Mondays. "I'm paraphrasing from John Ford," said Wilson during his chat with former Chronicle writer Jason Cohen, "but when the truth gets in the way of the legend, print the legend." That's Wilson in a post-party nutskull -- differentiating between Steve Coogan's film portrayal and the real Wilson is difficult if not impossible; even Wilson had difficulty, saying only that 24-Hour Party People was based on the myth. The Factory Records/Hacienda founder embraced artistic independence long before there was such a thing as "indie," and he really did DIY, at a time when it actually meant something. Like Creation Records' Alan McGee, Wilson is comfortably waiting to get back in the mix. "And so it goes. ..."

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