If I was a top-notch blogger in the same arena as Perez Hilton, and–see, I can’t even name another prominent blogger. Anyway, if I was blogging by today’s standards, I should have already posted five or six blogs by now. Keep in mind though, I come from the ‘zine world. Back in the day, all of the info I’m gathering here at SXSW would be used for one issue of a ‘zine–which probably wouldn’t come out until a month after the event. It’s not like I’m sitting poolside licking BBQ off my fingers. It just so happens I’ve only been able to get to my laptop a couple times each day…
The Presidents of the United States of America
The morning started off early with a visit to The Presidents of the United States’ hotel suite (sounds scandalous, doesn’t it?). At 10AM (which is ass-crack early for SXSW standards), drummer Jason Finn had already gone for a run and was doing some calisthenics when I arrived at the hotel. You all probably remember Jason as the hefty drummer of the group–he’s not so hefty anymore. I was also joined by the rookie of PUSA, guitbass player Andrew McKeag (who replaced founding member Dave Dederer). Frontman Chris Ballew was out doing another batch of press interviews somewhere else. The Presidents seemed jolly as always, maybe because they had a BBQ pig-out session the night before. I found out that the Presidents don’t resent their 90’s hits “Lump” and “Peaches,” and mentioned that a performance could quickly turn into a riot if they didn’t include the above mentioned songs on their set-list. On the way out, Finn spotted a Pittsburgh Steelers logo on my back-pack and mentioned how he and Terry Bradshaw shared a spirited conversation during a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (Steelers reference #1). The Presidents of the United States of America Play tonight at Cedar Door, 11:40PM.
Next up, I met with Money Mark. He’s in town for one show tonight (Buffalo Billiards, 10:45PM), promoting the soundtrack work he did for the yet to be released film, Beautiful Losers. Don’t expect another Money Mark album until possibly next year. He did mention that he is currently writing songs for it. We also talked about the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack, which I (and according to Mark, “many of his friends”) think is a blatant Money Mark rip-off. He said after his friends watched the film he got about 100 text messages that congratulated him on the score. On the Beastie front, Mark is writing songs with the group, but could offer no forecast on when the new Beastie Boys album will be complete. I was also surprised to find out that he has never injured himself while maniacally jumping on his keyboard during the Beastie’s performance of “Sabotage”.
A little bit later I met up with Moby. Besides spinning a whole bunch of parties at this year’s SXSW, he also has one full-band performance scheduled, and just finished performing two Velvet Underground covers at the Lou Reed tribute show, going on right now at the Fader Fort (the line to get in is pretty insane). Moby said he doesn’t want to tour with a full band anymore, until he can find an easier and less stressful way to do it. At the moment he’s just having a good time spinning records of “other people’s music.” His new album, Last Night, comes out in April. After the interview he also noticed the Steelers patch on the back of my backpack. He mentioned, “I used to be obsessed with the Steelers when I was a kid.” It was both joyous and oddly random to hear player’s names like “Lynn Swann” and “Franco Harris” come out of Moby’s mouth (Steelers reference #2).
Jim Noir was next on our list. He looks a lot younger in person than he does on his videos–maybe because he came dressed in a windbreaker and sock cap, as opposed to his bowler’s cap and three-piece suite. Jim mentioned that he was on “holiday,” hence the break in dress code. Amazingly, he creates songs much like Jay Z. He’ll start with a drumbeat, piece different loops together, and freestyles his poppy hooks over the instrumental (nothing is written down). He plays all the instruments himself, but performs with a four-piece band in concert settings. He also wanted to inform me that it was not his voice on a recent Target holiday commercial, it was a Jim Noir “sound-a-like.” Noir and band will perform at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop this Saturday at 9PM.
Up last was Sune Rose Wagner, frontman of The Raveonettes. The wear-and-tear of SXSW is starting to show. His band is playing 12 shows in four days. When I met up with him this afternoon, they had already done two. I asked him what his favorite part of SXSW was. His answer was very honest, “Leaving.” After their dozen shows here The Raveonettes continue their tour of the U.S. hitting up Minneapolis, MN.
On my way back to type this blog, I came across one of the many stars on Austin’s walk-of-fame (and I’ve seen some good ones the last couple of days: Carol Burnett, Buddy Holly, George Foreman). Since artists were randomly dropping Steelers references today, is was fitting that I spotted the star of Mean Joe Greene (Steelers reference #3).