Ballroom Dancing

SXSW Panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo By Gary Miller

Artists Speak Up

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 15

In the odd grouping of Brits (The Stranglers' Hugh Cornwell, actor-glam rocker Michael des Barres, Marco Pirroni of Siouxsie & the Banshees, and moderator B.P. Fallon), Yanks (the Go-Go's Kathy Valentine, grown-up Zach and Taylor Hanson), and an underattended audience of about 30, the artists spoke, joked, cut up, and occasionally got serious. Moderator Fallon directed the topics – why does rock & roll have to be anarchic? – by pointing to Pirroni, who replied "better than going to school and having a job." Des Barres ruled the panel with whip-smart wit that was at its best when paired with Pirroni's dry humor. The two tweaked each other mercilessly about their pasts – Pirroni's in Adam & the Ants, des Barres' as an Eighties icon – which tickled the audience. The Yanks were considerably less comedic, though the Hansons displayed impressive understanding of the business. "What can a label do to help artists?" came a question from a label rep. "Help the artist find and hold onto an audience," Taylor Hanson responded.

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