How Seattle's Getting to Austin

And other thoughts from the city's SXSW class of 2011.

Every March, the entire music industry descends on Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival—this year, March 15 to 20— and Seattle's scene is no exception. Dozens of bands are making the trip, and they'll be playing more shows and downing more free Red Stripes than can be calculated. We normally reserve our Reverb Questionnaire for non-music folks like Michele Norris and Michael Chabon, but in preparation for the massive trip south, we tweaked our standard questions and presented them to a few local emissaries making the journey. Here's what we learned. ***** Hey, Dean . . .

Musician: Dean Whitmore Band: Unnatural Helpers SW: What music have you been listening to today? Did you like it? Whitmore: "Just 14" by the Original Sins, and I have been enjoying it every day this week, multiple times a day, since getting it from my friend Tim Hayes' blog. Listening to Feedtime now. I've had a good couple weeks with discovering things I've known had existed for a million years but hadn't checked out, like Killdozer, Feedtime, and Halo of Flies. When was the last time you heard "Stairway to Heaven"? Did you turn it off? I don't listen to the radio, but if I were to be listening to the radio and that song came on, I think I'd be OK with taking that trip. It's been a while. Do you play an instrument? Fuck you and your drummer jokes. Do you still listen to anything you listened to in high school? Yeah, lots. I had a friend who had siblings listening to the college rock of the day, and we were listening to their records: Blondie, Elvis Costello, etc. Who was the first band/artist you saw in concert? Would you see them again? The first band I ever saw live was Devo. The aforementioned friend's brother took us to that show. I was 13 and couldn't believe my eyes. People were all fucked-up-looking and were smoking dope and making out and stuff. Was a real eye-opener for me.*****  Hey, Brent . . .

Musician: Brent Amaker Band: Brent Amaker & The Rodeo What's your preferred method for listening to music (iPod, car, home stereo, etc.)? Amaker: When I'm back in Seattle, I ONLY listen to records on my turntable. MP3s are convenient, but they tend to suck the life out of the music-listening process. I find a lot of joy in putting the needle down and then flipping the record when side A is over. It forces you to sit down in a room and actively listen to music. MP3 culture is a drag. Who was the first band/artist you saw in concert? Would you see them again? My first concert was Elvis Presley. My dad took me to see him when I was a kid. Elvis died the next year, so it wouldn't ever be possible to see him again. I guess the next best thing would be a trip to Graceland. Who was the last band/artist you saw in concert? Worth your time? The Black Angels at the Showbox. It was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. I bought their new vinyl and I think it's sitting on my turntable back home now. Love that band! When you sing karaoke, what's your go-to number? Lately it's "China Girl" by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. I do the Iggy Pop version. How do you feel about ABBA? I'm indifferent. I never got into ABBA. Seems they have like a million hits or some shit. It's not my bag. What is the last song you want to hear before you die? I'm not really focused on death. Have you heard of the Singularity movement? We're all gonna be immortal in 2045.*****  So how do you plan to get there? And how sure are you that you'll make it? "A Ford Econoline van, White Fang. Yes! Pretty sure." —Christopher Mansfield, Fences "I'm touring down to SXSW with Viva Voce. I hear they have good wheels and conversation." —Damien Jurado "It's happening a month into a six-week tour for us, so no, I'm not sure we'll make it there . . . " —Eric Elbogen, Say Hi "Driving. Actually, not sure at all. Pushing 300,000 miles on the odometer." —Kyle Musselwhite, the Globes "I just bought a van. I'm not sure, but I keep my fingers crossed." —Derek Fudesco, Cave Singers "Flying. I'm kinda banking on it getting me all the way there." —Dean Whitmore "Brent Amaker & The Rodeo travel in a 15-passenger Chevy Express van. We bought the van as a low-mileage, pre-owned vehicle, and we have since put over 45,000 miles on the van touring. I bought new tires and brakes this past year. We take good care of it, and most of my bandmates are handy with a wrench. I'm fairly confident it will get us there. We do this shit all the time." —Brent Amaker What's one indispensible accessory for SXSW this year? "If you're in a band driving down to Austin, I suggest psyllium husk. It's a bitch finding proper facilities on the road, and the Husk will help you keep things in order. At this point, most of my band is hooked on the psyllium. I like to mix mine with Emergen-C to get vitamin C." —Amaker "Last year I had a lot of trouble finding clean toilets. This year I'll be wearing Depends." —Musselwhite "A firm mental grasp of where the cleanest restrooms are." —Elbogen "Hopefully someone's nearby hotel-room key so I can get a break and watch some TV." —Whitmore "Speed." —Fudesco "Socks." —Jurado "I might wear shorts." —Mansfield Good luck, y'all.

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