My SXSW

My SXSW


Friday, March 17

Taxi to O'Hare, 6am flight, belt off, shoes off, "No that's not a laptop." I stumble, pants 'round ankles, into O'Plummet's Pilot Lounge for a quick snort before the evil hometown stench of popcorn, pizza, and napalm drives us off to gate H59 and onto a packed flight to Denver, where we must change planes for Dallas, or perhaps Lubbock.

The gangway to the plane is a huge wraparound Starbuck's CD advertisement, and I'm pressed up against a large image of Bob Dylan circa 1965 as I wait to board. This is the only way to sell music in 2006! I hope I run into a Starbuck's talent scout in Güero's this afternoon. Christ! I could do with selling some records.

Members of Tower of Power, in matching silk bomber jackets, are trying to stuff conga drums and wheelie bags full of hemp products into the overheads. There's a nun in the row behind me. Luckily, I have a window seat with a fine view of some burly baggage handlers out on the tarmac jumping up and down on my antique ukulele and laughing like hyenas. The guy next to me looks exactly like David Bowie, and by the time the Tylenol PMs and $8 gin and tonics kick in, I'm convinced he is David Bowie. I become very irritated when I notice he's trying to read my copy of No Depression.

"Back off skinny boy," I spit, "there's nowt for you in here!"

By the time we land in Denver, we're firm friends and have plans to collaborate on a new Tin Machine project.

I wake up at the baggage counter in Austin, where Deano is trying to describe his bagpipe case to the airline staff. Mr. Spanky has disappeared. This is going to take a while, so I sidle off to the nearest bar and fuel up on Drambuie and Diet Slice. We're onstage in 45 minutes.

Our cabdriver is mortified that he's never heard of us but says that he had Sufjan Stevens in the back of his cab this morning and he got his guitar out and previewed a whole bunch of new material! Wow! Only in Austin, eh!? The floor of the cab is thick with fractured demo CDs, party invites, and vomit.

In the crowded alley behind Yard Dog Folk Art, the owner of our record label is waiting with a tray of Hornitos floaters and a side of mushroom tamales. "Yeah! SXSW, my 27th visit! Hi Tift!" Some guy who claims I talked to him once at the Rumpo Wagon in Jacksonville is blocking my way to the bathroom, so I flatten him with a left to the kisser, strap on my battered Strat, and look around for someone more important to drool on ...


Jon Langford's SXSW showcase: Saturday, March 18, 10pm @ Opal Divine's Freehouse. Watch out for that left hook.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Wednesday Interview
Wednesday Interview
Delta Spirit

Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle