Greetings from Clovis, New Mexico. We're here in a rather bizarre little hotel which has, on the one hand, a coin-operated Battletoads game, a regulation-size Ping Pong table, and one of those over-chloronated swimming pools capable of chemical burns and Michael Jackson-esque skin bleachery. On the other hand, it smells like cow shit. I guess if you live in a place where the bovine populous outnumbers the human one, you get used to the aroma. Let's just say they won't be bottling Eau de Outside Our Hotel anytime soon.
Clovis is about as close to Texas as you can get without actually being inside the Lone Star State. In fact, the final town we passed last evening was called Farewell, Texas, which is oh so cute, I know, and is close enough to the central time zone line that, if you played your cards right, you could have a twenty-five hour Christmas or two New Year's Eves. We spent a good six days in Texas this year, doing the San-Antonio-just-don't-make-fun-of-the-Spurs-or-the-Alamo-and-you'll-be-alright-thing, the free-pants-music-music-music-South-By-cacophony-thing, and the oh-my-Lord-how-was-that-so-effing-cool?-Dallas-thing. We also watched the Miami Vice movie that came out a year or so back, which is perhaps the worst movie we've ever seen on tour, a list that includes Crackerjack, Hide and Seek, and Showdown, a veritable trifecta of motion picture incompetence. I've already filed a class action suit against Michael Mann and Colin Ferrell for emotional distress.
But I digress. This year's journey's to Austin was far mellower than usual. Whereas prior years had found us playing several shows a day in infernal temperatures, this year we played a single show at the Fader fort, recorded a couple brief sessions, and got our fair share of free crap while wearing last year's free crap, all in a pleasantly mellow clime. South By is, by nature, a bit overwhelming, what with the four billion bands and industry folk schmoozing frantically, everywhere, but there's still time for enjoyment. For example, we saw what ranks among my favorite shows---ever---at the aforesaid Fader spot. The band? N.E.R.D. In a world where great drummers are in short supply, it seems plainly unfair that N.E.R.D. gets two, but goddamn did it sound good. It was one of those shows where I actually laughed, not at the band, mind you, but because cheering and hooting just weren't quite enough. It was the laugh of some maniacal supervillian who, having captured and tortured a tuxedoed secret agent, ransomed the head of the U.N., and fire bombed Orlando, can only marvel at the inarguable awesomeness unfolding in front of him. So yeah: they were alright.
We also did some fancy pants recordings here and there too and while only one of those has made it onto the tubes of the interwebs, we're proud of it. The always fine folks at WOXY were the catalysts here and please, do check it out.
But South By is still South By. It can be a little Disney Worldy. The crowd is 90% exhausted bands, beer reps, girls hawking Nintendo products, 'zine peddlers, A&R guys, PR girls, B&O Railroad---people, in other words, with other things to do. That's why you go to Dallas.
See, Dallas was one of those shows. We started out playing to the bartender, the other bands, and a handful of dedicated stalwarts and ended up sweating and hooting to a bar full of blotto folks shaking tambourines, screaming requests, wrapping duct tape around my arm, stomping, and generally, well, being Texans. And that's a big compliment. It's essentially the opposite of doing the much maligned crossed-arm-hipster-"Is this cool enough for me to enjoy?" dance that's sweeping the nation. So thanks Dallas. You are the little straw that stirs our coffee.