Archive for Bill Murray

SXSW Day Three: Up Close and Way Too Personal

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2012 by 30daysout

Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes.

AUSTIN – Perhaps at this junction it might be helpful to briefly summarize the physical nature of the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, so it can serve as a road map of sorts for the stories that will follow today.

SXSW is a four-day (or five, depending on who is doing the counting) conference for anyone interested in music: industry insiders, artists, publicists and fans. “Official” participants have purchased a badge or a wristband that allows one access to various panels, speeches, keynote addresses (like Bruce Springsteen’s talk on Thursday) and exhibits in the Austin Convention Center.

Once each day’s events are complete in the convention center, the night begins as participants spill out onto the streets of Austin to attend music performance “showcases” held in venues in and around the downtown area. This year more than 2,000 bands and acts are participating in the official SXSW, but there’s more.

Ian McLagan and the Bump Band.

Non-official events, employing at least another 2,000 acts, spill out from downtown and reach south on Congress Avenue, one of the city’s top drags; into the neighborhoods of the east side and west into the shopping district. These venues can be miles apart, and because many of these non-official events are free and do not require an official badge or wristband, they attract what could be as many as 200,000 people a day.

So we tell you all this because it’s important to note that Austin is not that big a city (population less than 800,000). So all of these people crawling around this urban anthill not only get in each others’ way, but also into each others’ faces. It’s real life bleeding over into the music, and it’s an experience you cannot have with any other type of festival. Whether you like it or not, you are in the movie and you are in the music.

The other night we walked into the Lucky Lounge in downtown Austin, where many weeks one can experience what we like to call the “World’s Greatest Happy Hour.” That is because there is no cover, and the entertainment just happens to be Ian McLagan and the Bump Band. McLagan, who in a few weeks will become a new member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his bands Small Faces and the Faces, is not only a terrific entertainer but a great, friendly guy.

At one point during our visit McLagan announced the next song as a number from the Faces. “And we’ll dedicate it to … is there anyone named Cindy in the house?” McLagan asked. When no ladies spoke up, we volunteered to be Cindy. McLagan looked over and chuckled, “Ha ha, it’s always a geezer. So this bloke is our Cindy tonight!” And he launched into “Cindy Incidentally.”

A few minutes later, as the Bumpsters stepped off for a smoke break, Mac picked up his pint and said to me, “Thanks, friend, for being part of the show.”

Part of the show … that’s what I’m talking about.

Last night we wandered around and harassed celebrities. The only one worth noting, really, was Mike Judge, the creator and voice behind animated characters like Beavis and Butthead and Hank of “King of the Hill.” We’re doing a short video for your entertainment on our wrapup day, so we asked Judge if he’d like to speak to us briefly.

Jimmy Cliff.

He and his companion paused, and in the time it would have taken to speak to our Flip camera, he told us sincerely, “Sorry, brother.” Then he went to yet another party where he was turned away at the door.

We’re here for the music so let’s get some of that in. We encountered reggae great Jimmy Cliff at the excellent Waterloo Records store – with a two-piece-acoustic-guitar-and-bongo-drum backup, he simply shined with “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” “Sitting In Limbo” and “Wonderful World, Beautiful People.” He updated his classic “Vietnam” into “Afghanistan” and offered up a shimmering cover of “I Can See Clearly Now.” He wrapped the short set with “The Harder They Come” and a singalong “One More.”

A few minutes later we spoke with Jimmy, and asked how he felt helping Bruce Springsteen wreck Austin the night before. “Fantastic,” Cliff said, his voice starting to give way after numerous gigs this week. “I have sung with him before and it has always been fantastic.”

From one legend to another: so we’re leaving the Jimmy Cliff gig to drive a few miles and pick up one of our party. At a stop light, we happen to glance sideways and see at a bus stop none other than Eric Burdon, the now white-haired leader of the Animals! Whoa! So we whip into a parking lot and walk up to him and his wife, Marianna.

We exchange pleasantries and in his inimitable accent, Burdon asks “Do you know where is the mall?” Wha? He needs some new shoes. “Sure, we know where a mall is!” (We didn’t.) But seconds later, one of rock music’s legends and finest voices climbs into the back seat of our car for a trip to the shoe store.

Burdon brought down the house with Bruce Springsteen on Thursday night as he sang a rousing “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” He told us Springsteen learned he was in town, and tweeted Burdon to invite him to sing. He was thoroughly impressed with the organization of Springsteen’s backstage production crew.

Now living in Joshua Tree, California, Burdon said he is working on a book and has completed a new album that was mixed in Texas. He’s shopping around for a distributor. He also gave us a card with a free download of a new song, “An Invitation To the White House (It Was A Dream).” We asked if he ever wanted to visit the White House, and Burdon replied, “No f**ing way! I already have enough aliens in my life!”

Burdon also said he loves Austin, “’cause you don’t see too many f**kin’ cops.”  As we waved him into the shoe store, Eric waved back and said he’d see us again. And we’re pretty sure that will happen.

The legendary Eric Burdon, center, with intrepid 30 Days Out reporters Denny Angelle (left) and George Kovacik.

We got around to catching a set by the heavily hyped Alabama Shakes, led by singer/guitarist Brittany Howard. We can understand why the Shakes are this year’s “buzz” band – Howard is a great singer who howls, growls and purrs her way through some thick and tasty slabs of Southern soul and rock. The songs are simple but tuneful, and the band displays virtuosity without being showy. Although the Shakes’ debut album doesn’t see the light of day until April 10, you can go to their website and download “Hold On,” which is a good representation of their sound.

Our only complaint with the Alabama Shakes: not once did any member of the band speak to the crowd, or even toss a smile in the audience’s direction. Maybe it’s the grueling gig schedule they have during SXSW, or maybe they are just a little overwhelmed by the craziness. But if the Shakes want to graduate from the bars, they may want to work on their bedside manner.

Later in the night, two members of our party found ourselves without a badge or band or any hope of getting into the more-exclusive-than-exclusive showcase by Jack White and members of his Third Man Records roster. We moped around outdoors for what seemed like hours, working every angle we could to get waved inside. We even made friends with members of different bands, some of whom were not performing.  Finally a couple members of the band Pujol came out for a smoke, and one of them took a shine to us.

We’re in! We had to promise Pujol we’d do an interview; you can read it tomorrow maybe here or at our home blog 30 Days Out. Jack White was phenomenal, he played with two different bands – one all-girl, the other all-boy. He rocked material from his new solo album Blunderbuss and touched on every aspect of his career, with songs from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather among others. Mid-set, the junior member of our team texted her terse review: “Holy motherf***ing shit.”

They wouldn’t let anyone take photos, even with a cell phone.  Because we surely would have shared a picture of this: so the music’s over, and we spot this gray-haired gentleman in the back. We walk up, grab him by the shoulder, and Bill Murray turns to face us. “Ghostbusters forever!” is all we could say. He started laughing hysterically, then turned away and left.

There you have it – SXSW with music and a bit of face time with our fellow occupants of Planet Austin. When we leave tomorrow, we’re going to have memories forever and a pocketful of stories nobody will ever believe.

Video Du Jour: Emily Hearn w/Bill Murray

Posted in News with tags , on February 24, 2011 by 30daysout

You know we love Bill Murray ’round here … with SXSW coming up in a few weeks, we wonder where he’s gonna show up this year.  Well, for starters, he makes a guest appearance in a new video by Emily Hearn, who is a singer/songwriter from Athens, Ga.  “Rooftop” is from her first EP, Paper Heart, and she will record a full album later this year.  The video was shot in South Carolina by film students on a shoestring budget; when Murray heard about the project, he immediately agreed to appear in the video.

Emily Hearn official website

SXSW Aftermath: Bill Murray

Posted in News, SXSW with tags , on March 26, 2010 by 30daysout

Sorry to pester you with more stuff from last week’s festival but this was too weird and funny to pass up.  Reports that actor Bill Murray was all over last week’s SXSW festival have now been confirmed with both photographic and video evidence.

It seems Murray entered one bar accompanied by members of the Wu-Tang Clan, headed behind the bar and proceeded to serve drinks.  No matter what anyone ordered, the actor served them tequila.  Pictures also show Murray at an unidentified house party sitting in with a band and drinking with fellow party-goers. Why is this news you might ask?  This website might explain everything; then again, maybe not.  You can always try this but I’m not sure it will be much help either.

YouTube: Bill Murray bartending at SXSW

One For The Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 3, 2008 by 30daysout

For your weekend listening enjoyment, a few clips from the 1977 comedy classic National Lampoon – That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick.   Written and performed by once and future comedy stars including Bill Murray, Richard Belzer, Christopher Guest, Laraine Newman, Brian Doyle Murray and many others, this masterpiece features a whiny public radio DJ doing a pledge drive (Bill Murray), an acid-tongued radio talk show host (Belzer) and the funniest spoof of Mr. Rogers (Guest) you’ll ever hear.  All of it is done in a rapid-fire, quick cutting style designed to simulate someone changing channels.  Sorry for all the ticks and pops, I digitized this from my original vinyl LP.  And needless to say, there is some blue language (some … ha, ha) so keep Grandma away – if you can.

MP3: Squalor show, confession, Dick Ballantine, Nadia Comaneci and more 

MP3: Stereo equipment commercial

MP3: Game show, Rape hotline and Mr. Rogers welcomes a bass player

Lost Classics! “Where The Buffalo Roam”

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , on June 8, 2008 by 30daysout

On paper, it probably looked like a surefire idea: condense the crazed writings of brilliant journalist/author Hunter S. Thompson and turn it into a movie.  And sign up comedian Bill Murray to play him!  And have eccentric rocker Neil Young do the soundtrack!  Surely, a coked-up Hollywood producer’s dream.

Back in 1980, Where The Buffalo Roam was the unholy product of this drug-fueled vision.  Of course the movie was bad – it was little more than Murray mugging through one bizarre episode after another.  So little of Thompson’s sensibility made it onto the film, the writer hated the movie, even though Murray was a close friend.  And of course the movie was a flop.

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