And then there are memorable SXSW moments…thanks Billy Corgan

No, this isn’t Billy Corgan – it’s Vince Hanneman of Cathedral of Junk fame

Yeah, I know that this blog is really supposed to be road trip relevant, but sometimes you witness a moment…or two. And yes – there were great road trip moments, too.

The SXSW session. “The End of Business as Usual” sounded interesting. And Billy Corgan was a guest speaker – so it looked to be very interesting. And it was. Hey, even Billboard has already written about it. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/smashing-pumpkins-billy-corgan-goes-off-1006436552.story

But the story they missed was the one and only audience question.

Billy was invited by his fan-friend, author Brian Solis, sporting a sham-wow headset, who fed him seemingly preset questions, providing Billy an unchallenged forum to rail against the music machine. Which was well deserved. And the great quotes were flying. When describing the current scene for musicians, “You either are a hollow robot or a jerk in the basement.” “I call a lot of these bands ‘laptop rock’. You know, it’s easy to listen to on your laptop.”

But one of the points that he repeatedly returned to was the role of the fans in the success of a musician…”Stop thinking of it as a victimization relationship…they have to see it as an intrinsic wider support as an artist.” He went on to exclaim “If you like an artist and don’t support them via social media, then you are worse than the people who like cats playing a piano video.” OK, that was funny, but misguided.

So time was running out, and there was only time for one question from the audience…a guy stood up and announced his fandom, blah blah blah, and then “F*ck you, Corgan” and proceeded to take him to task for blaming the fans for musicians failures (victimization of the musicians). Upon which, Corgan invited him to the stage for what actually could have been an interesting discussion with both parties having interesting points.

Then, poof – time is up. Gotta clear out, One blogger captured many of his quoteables and ironically stated that Billy got a standing ovation…really? It was the end of the session. So, we stood to leave. http://crestfallen.com/2012/03/12/billy-corgan-at-sxsw-with-brian-solis-talking-about-no-more-music-business-as-usual/Al Gore (inventor of the internet) was next up. Seriously? It was the first engaging session.

Oh, and there was an exhibitor booth that was featuring new technology that records your CDs onto vinyl. Everything old is new again.

Now, back to the road trip portion of the show… first stop on this foggy morning was Maria’s Taco Express, a featured spot on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” – amen to the hodge podge decor. And a double amen to the breakfast tacos called Migas.

Cam checks his photos at Maria’s Express Tacos

Then on to the folk art environment, Vince Hanneman’s “Cathedral of Junk.”

At one point in the 1990s, Vince Hanneman was in charge of the city’s recycling program. And it worked out really well, because he could bring home more old bikes, TVs and appliances to add to the tiers of trash spiraling upward in his backyard. Not an untidy pile, but an architectural oddity he called his cathedral, a place where he could have coffee overlooking the yard in the morning, or parties at night, with its various rooms lit with Christmas lights.

Just last year the Cathedral was in danger of demolition. Issues with the easement, troubles finding a structural engineer to validate it’s safety…and it got down to the wire. Luckily, vince found the engineer, the lawyers, and architect and an army of volunteers moved 40 tons of junk out of the easement and he got his permit.

Tens of thousands have visited, some have even held weddings here.

It’s late, I am tired – so I leave you with this…