This past weekend was South by Southwest, Austin’s four day music festival.Â Every year, thousands of bands descend on Austin to play as many shows as they can in a short span of time.Â In addition to the usual music venues (of which there are a ton), bands end up playing in porn stores, front yards, tattoo parlors, and next to the front door of various restaurants.
I always wanted to play in a band at SXSW.
I first heard about SXSW in 1993.Â There was a special report from the festival on MTV news, and it looked incredible.Â It looked like this explosion of rock and roll, like Mecca for aspiring bands.Â Every year, City Beat in Cincinnati would make special mention of the one or two bands who got to make the trip to Austin.Â One year, I was going to be in one of those bands.
In 1997, I was in a band called Radioburning.Â We’d recorded a particularly crappy-sounding demo called Gossamer in my garage.Â With a fluttering stomach, I filled outÂ the SXSW application and mailed it off with a copy of said demo.Â I was convinced the next Spring would see a trip to Austin.Â Nevermind we had no press and had only played one show in an actual city (to be fair, we did have almost ten people at that gig).
Any guesses how that application went?
Yeah, so these days I’ve realized my future isn’t in music.Â I don’t want to lug drums around or stay out until 3AM on a work night.Â I don’t want to schmoozeÂ in order to snagÂ an opening slot.Â
But dammit, I still wanna play SXSW.Â I want to stand on a tiny stage and play with everything I have for forty minutes.Â Is that too much to ask?
Yeah, it probably is.