Most famous as a punk rock icon and artist, Exene Cervenka (front woman for X, Knitters and Original Sinners) is documenting her adventures for Heard Mentality on the way to Austin's South By Southwest, the country's biggest music festival. Check out her complete tour diary archive here.
Traveling across the West for three days. Listening to Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo, Phil Alvin Live at the Redwood, The Plugz. CNN on the radio. Endless drive. Lots of towns dying, broken houses falling down, people still living in them. Poverty and depression. Sad how America is falling apart.
Finally today got to the Texas hill country. Passing bands' vans pulling trailers, and then, at last, Austin!
Immediately went to Threadgil's and saw Sonny Throckmorton and Will Sexton on the singer/songwriter stage. Outside, of course. Most every show is outside. That made it hard last year when it was in the 30s and raining!
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Every venue in town has live music--every restaurant, record store, live music everywhere. I hear a pass to the whole fest is around $1,200, then I hear $500 just for the music side, not film.
It's not cheap or easy. There's absolutely no parking and no cabs. It can take an hour to drive six blocks. You can't always get in to the shows you want to see, even with a laminate or wristband. Yet, this is the biggest SXSW yet because, thank goodness, people are crazy about music! (Me included.)
Tomorrow at 9 a.m., I get my credentials and play two shows. One for Sea Now!/Popantipop, one for a Florida radio station--'cause I'm from Florida and they were nice to ask me.
I love Austin and I love SXSW, even though it's a tough gig in some ways. But where else can you walk to the restaurant next to your hotel and see Roky Erickson playing with Billy Gibbons!?! That's on Thursday. I will do my best to see that and let you all know about it. Lots more tomorrow. Lots more . . .