Justin of Semi Precious Weapons.
Justin of Semi Precious Weapons.
Margaret Moser, the moderator of this afternoon's panel on 16 Magazine and the birth of music journalism, started out the discussion by showing off a collection of the publications going back to their first issue in the early '50s. The covers went from showing Elvis and James Dean to The Beatles in the '60s to family bands in the '70s and the boy bands of the '90s. At either end of the table sat two people who appeared in the magazine over the years: Susan Cowsill of The Cowsills and Taylor Hanson of Hanson.
Having these two former child stars on the panel allowed the discussion to get into the populatiry of magazines like 16, which disbanded in 2001. Hanson summed it up well when he said, "Ultimately, people want to know you and want to connect with you." As corny as these magazines can seem from the standpoint of serious journalism, they did tap into something people want from bands. And that's access.
Jaan Uhelszki, who used to write for Creem, was another of today's panelists. She spoke about the access given back in the early '70s when Creem's writers would spend a few weeks on tour with a band. There would be the opportunity to really get to know them just like in the movie Almost Famous, she said. But the line between journalist and band access changed in the '80s along with "the corporatization of music," she added.
This didn't really come up in the panel but the idea of access to bands has shifted with the Web and sites such as YouTube or MySpace where you can become "friends" with a...
Once again at SXSW, the topic of online music has surfaced as R.E.M. announced they're bringing a new album to the Web. They're not following the Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails formula, but a week ahead of the release of Accelerate, they'll be streaming it on iLike. Users of the service will be able to embed the album in their profiles on Facebook, MySpace or Bebo.
Michael Stipe of R.E.M., who played a SXSW showcase at Stubb's last night, talked to Billboard.com about how music consumption is changing:
He also noted that the way people embrace music "has certainly changed in the last 5 or 10 years. I think you can either go with it or sit back and watch it happen, and I would rather be out on the field than in the bleachers."
Last night while R.E.M. was playing Stubb's, I was interviewing glam band Semi Precious Weapons a few blocks away at The Viper Room's showcase. Our interview ended on a similar sentiment to Stipe's. Semi Precious Weapons has made their first album available on their Web site for free.
"We’re really aware of the ways people are getting music nowadays...We want to relate to the people we play music for and one of the ways you can do that nowadays is by presenting the music to them in a way they’re used to," said guitarist Aaron Lee Tasjan.
Frontman Justin Tranter, who's known for his wild performances, jumped...
Acclaimed actor/director and musician Billy Bob Thornton spent an hour with SXSW attendees this afternoon discussing his career and thoughts on where American culture is headed. Dressed in mostly black down to his dark sunglasses, which were necessary after a rough night, it's appropriate that the conversation began on the original man in black Johnny Cash, who told Thornton at one point, "Don't pay any attention to anybody."
It's fitting advice for someone like Thornton who's gone about his career in a different way. Thornton also added that more people should pay attention to what Cash had to say. Thornton said what's wrong with the movie business is there's too much concern about letting the audience dictate everything. Movies are not a toothpaste, he said. They are art and "art by nature is someone's vision of something."
Of course Thornton had other gripes about the movie industry as well. For an audience including many filmmakers, one point in particular was well received. Thornton said that Slingblade is the last movie he's made where he had complete control of the process. Success doesn't equal freedom. In fact, when you're a filmmaker under the radar, it's much easier to make the movie you want but once people are paying attention to you, it's tough if not impossible. In potential projects this year, that's something Thornton is wrestling with.
Another major theme throughout the discussion raised the musicality and rhythm of Thornton's work. Thornton says this really first started with Slingblade and has continued since. This makes sense given Thornton's background in music. Although, he noted that audiences tend to be tough on people who are famous in one area but also pursue another. This of course is...
Dennis Lambert performs his classic hits at a private party Saturday night in Austin.
Click here for a rough cut of our on-camera conversation with Jody and Dennis.