Sturgeon's Revelation

Beating the music business odds at SXSW

<i>Top Chef</i>'s Bev Chin
Top Chef's Bev Chin

Steady Diet of Nothing: The Road to Health

Thursday, March 17, 12:30pm, ACC 16B

Food and Music – One Big Happy Meal

Friday, March 18, 11am, ACC 12AB

Pairing music and food? No-brainer. You can get a slice of "death metal pizza" on Sixth Street any given night. That's in part why Food Network personality Rachael Ray hosts an annual South by Southwest party pairing hip bands with trendy food in one of the hottest tickets of the Music Festival.

That's also why Bev Chin, Scorch Marketing consultant and production assistant on Top Chef, thinks that now is the perfect time to explore the marketing opportunities presented by the natural pairing of sound and digestion.

"Chefs have become the new rock stars; they love music and have befriended and cooked for bands," states Chin, who anticipates that her panel, Food and Music – One Big Happy Meal, "will give musicians and foodies some insight on how bringing the two worlds together can create added exposure and potential revenue through cross-promotion, branding, and sponsorships."

Joining Chin will be chef Jamie Lauren, lately of Top Chef All-Stars and chef at Venice, Calif.'s Beechwood gastro-pub. Her role, says Chin, is to "help explain the backstory of why food and rock stars like each other so much."

Of course, rock stars have a complicated relationship with food while on the road. Contrary to popular belief, rock stars (and other touring musicians) are human beings. They have bodies that are vulnerable and need taking care of, even when they're on the road. How does the touring musician maintain a baseline of healthy eating while living the rock & roll lifestyle? For Brett Anderson, lead singer of the Donnas, it's all about planning and prevention.

"As a singer this is doubly important because my instrument is my body, and if I get sick I can't just get a new one," she says. "My performance suffers, and performing while sick can further damage my instrument."

The fact that many music venues are situated in food deserts devoid of anything approximating a fresh vegetable presents a challenge as well.

"Food is the biggest variable," says Anderson, who joins punk-rock vegan Ted Leo on the panel Steady Diet of Nothing: The Road to Health. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll get a cooking demonstration-cum-acoustic performance. "On tour, everyone's obsessed with finding food."

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