Editor's note: Emily Rose Epstein is a great music writer who also happens to be a great musician. She plays drums in Ty Segall's band--an act that had 10 officially-scheduled shows in Austin during SXSW last week. There's been a barrage of reports from critics about how the Texas music marathon went, but we wanted to know from the musician's side of things: were all those excess gigs, and all that exhaustion, worth it?
Upon receiving our itinerary for SXSW this year, I was deeply concerned. Ten shows in four days?! How could we possibly pull this off? Would I come out of Texas with all of my limbs intact? Would I even come out alive?
Well, I am writing this in the bummer nest of our van as Mikal Cronin sleeps intermittently against the window beside me, and Ty Segall and bassist Tim Hellman are prank calling national talk radio shows. We're currently en route to Tuscon, AZ, very much alive, and miraculously whole. Clearly, none of my deepest anxieties about SXSW came to fruition, but that isn't to say that the four-day foray was anywhere near easy, relaxing, or without problems. Such a strenuous schedule came with extreme emotional and physical peaks and valleys. We played some of our best and worst shows of all time in Austin. We broke guitars on purpose and basses by accident. We saw some of the best bands of our time - hello JEFF the Brotherhood! - and some of the worst bands I have ever heard in my entire life.
We had several close calls with the Austin PD, mostly due to the Hellmaniac, our sole sober comrade.
We saw friends that we don't get to see very often, but had little time to spend with them. We made new friends who enriched our experiences in Austin, but had little time to spend with them. We took photos with fans, despite having three shows' worth of sweat pooling on our foreheads. One Frenchman asked to take a picture with our arms linked because he had joked to his friends that he was going to marry Ty Segall's drummer and never return to Europe. We also met an assortment of soul suckers and lurkers who inappropriately bombarded us, but we dealt with each as gracefully as possibly after living for four days on a diet of Lone Star and truck stop coffee, and after not sleeping.