The Kids Are AlrightAustin Convention Center, Friday, March 19
Senior Chronicle Music scribe, Austin Music Awards engine, and teen-rock mentor Margaret Moser argued for the tremendous power of young people playing serious music. The question is: How do we promote and encourage it? Kim Fowley, former manager of the Runaways, burst into the room and claimed that A&R reps are looking for teenagers these days. "If you're 24, become a roadie or serve tea. Youth is not wasted on the young if it's packaged properly," he declared, then swept out of the room. This uncomfortable notion, that the corporate eye gazes hotly on the vulnerable training-bra set, hung in the air as Irwin Kornfeld, CEO of In Tune Partners, explained that improved music education might make teens more active contributors to the music industry, lamenting that, "We don't teach music creation, sound engineering, and so on." Producer and local-living Go-Go's guitarist Kathy Valentine stressed that artistry is paramount, and that kids shouldn't feel rushed to join the machinery of the industry and instead should focus on playing for their friends and families. Moser, who's campaigning with fellow panelist James Mays for a Underage South by Southwest showcase next year, encouraged attendees to go home and explore the local teen-music scene. "Most of it's going to be fun, some of it's going to be good, and a few of them will go places."