On not being where things are happening
For the first time since, I believe, 1993, I am not in Austin for SXSW. I miss the food, I miss seeing old friends, but accept that many of them will drift out of touch, and I miss the music. More or less in that order.
Rarely have I been at the center of things, and then, when grunge broke in Seattle, all the smart folk from New York came in to tell us what it all meant, and then left when it quit selling. Once, in Austin, we had another of those moments, when Whiskeytown played its debut at the Split Rail and Peter and I tried to convince Sub Pop to take a look (they passed, of course). You could feel something happening that night.
But in the last few years I have felt adrift at SXSW. Perhaps because I am ill at ease in cocktail parties, or perhaps because I came to represent a kind of music which was not hip and was not selling hip numbers, I came to wonder why the hell I was there. What good I was doing.
And SXSW quit booking artists who interested me, at least in significant numbers. I mean, if I had wanted to stay current on the state of indie rock, that was the place. But I don’t. I didn’t. I haven’t wanted to know about indie rock for years. It quit being interesting (to me, possibly even to itself). But the new post-bluegrass music? Not showcasing in Austin, for the most part. Folk? Maybe, maybe a little. Bluegrass? Huh? Country and its less commercial tendrils? Only if it was native to Austin. Or so it seemed.
I do not mean to sound bitter, because I’m not. Really. Many things, but not that.
I simply recognized my increasing irrelevance.
So I’m home this year. Actually, we went to Cincinnati for an overnight with out daughter, and went to the zoo. To the children’s museum. She had fun, we had a break. All of us, not just me.
So it’s OK, y’know. I’m not chasing the star-making machine, and it doesn’t care.
Y’all have fun and play nice.