GQ with Bill Murray on Ghostbusters 3, Garfield, SxSW, among other things

Bill Murray has to be one of my favorite actors of all time. Not because he's a great actor (which he is), but he's a great personality - on camera, or off (when I say 'off' I mean in interviews, etc.). He's not always happy or chirpy. In fact he's rarely "on" in the same way that many comedic actors of his time seem to be (see: Robin Williams, Martin Short, Jim Carrey) which makes him more real and more likeable.

The above pic is taken from a scene in Kingpin, where he played Ernie McCracken, one of my favorite Bill Murray characters.

I love when people of power and/or celebrity give honest, frank interviews even though it may rub some people the wrong way, including their friends. This is well worth the read - it's great to hear him talk about stuff like Harold Ramis' Year One being among the worst movies every made, wondering who wrote the piece of shit that was Garfield and realizing it was Joel Cohen & not Joel Coen (of the Coen brothers), doing movies that he thinks won't have a chance, and copping to the fact that he barely ever watches any popular TV & movies. I mean - who hasn't seen Seinfeld!

Here's a snippet:

Is the third Ghostbusters movie happening? What's the story with that?

It's all a bunch of crock. It's a crock. There was a story—and I gotta be careful here, I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. When I hurt someone's feelings, I really want to hurt them. [laughs] Harold Ramis said, Oh, I've got these guys, they write on The Office, and they're really funny. They're going to write the next Ghostbusters. And they had just written this movie that he had directed.

Year One.

Year One. Well, I never went to see Year One, but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporized. That was gone. But it's the studio that really wants this thing. It's a franchise. It's a franchise, and they made a whole lot of money on Ghostbusters.

Oh, sure, I remember. The soundtrack. The lunchboxes. The action figures.

Right. And it's still one of the biggest movies of all time. And ever since that story broke, everywhere I go people are like, "So are you gonna make that movie?" I was down in Austin at South by Southwest, and you go at it hard down there—fun but, man, you need to sleep for days afterwards. Anyhow, I got into it one night with a bunch of younger people who were like, Oh, I love Peter Venkman! I grew up with Peter Venkman! We got to talking, and the more we talked about it, the more I thought, Oh Christ, I should just do this thing.

Read the whole thing at GQ Magazine.

GQ is really putting out some great articles lately. If they get an iPad version of their magazine, I might have to start buying it.

EDIT: GQ DOES have an iPad app. Kudos GQ, I will be downloading and purchasing your contents.

Really pushing this band: Fanfarlo

I've been pumping the tires of this band since I discovered them this spring, and they are likely my favorite musical-act-of-the-moment.

I got a bit of validation a couple of weeks ago when I was at a party in Austin. I met a writer for Soundcheck Magazine and when I mentioned I'd gone to SxSW we began comparing some of our favorite acts from the festival. There were a couple of bands I'd never heard of before, but I felt that I was able to keep up for the most part. I have to say I was pretty envious of his insider knowledge - he had access to a lot of bands that didn't start making a name for themselves until or after SxSW. I was most curious about who he felt I should keep my eyes on (of course the ones I remember are the ones that I already know, such as Freelance Whales).

Later in the evening he came up to me and said that the band that I absolutely needed to look in to was Fanfarlo, he had just come back from Bonnaroo and had the opportunity to interview and hang out with them a bit. He felt they were going to be huge but nobody knew who they were yet. Well I knew, and I must say I was/am hugely impressed with myself (I realize that this makes me a huge nerd).

I love to pump up music that I have an appreciation for, but also has a quality that could give it mass appeal. Sometimes it works out for me (I pushed Oasis huge in '94), other times it didn't (Kula Shaker in '95)... now that I've been validated I will definitely be increasing my PR efforts. I've had a couple of people tell me that they think the band is just 'ok' (IDIOTS!) so we'll see how it goes.

I apologize to any real life friends or acquaintances who will be annoyed with my pushing.


Gary Vaynerchuk

The two best speakers I saw at SXSW were Clay Shirkey and Gary Vaynerchuk.

I was just reminded how good the Vaynerchuk session was when a friend of mine posted a link to a video snippet from the event on his twitter feed. I've embedded the video here. It literally is only a snippet, however you can get a sense of Gary V's passion for what he does. He was interesting to listen to because of 2 things: (1) he was passionate & (2) he was genuine. When you distill his speech down to it's core, that's pretty much what he preaches as well.

This is a guy who will make time for anyone who approaches him and personally follows up on any request that floats by him. I haven't yet reached out to him (that time is coming I'm sure), however I've seen it in action. He personally responded to the aforementioned twitter feed within seconds, for example. I also heard about him, prior to giving his speech, stopping to shake a friend's hand at SXSW as they walked in to the conference room together. As I sat and listened to the horrible Evan Williams keynote interview in the same room, I witnessed Gary V spending a good hour with anyone that came up and talked to him. He patiently answered questions, shook hands, posed for photos and signed stuff. It wouldn't surprise me to see this guy run for office one day.

He's a guy that built what he has by working hard at what he loves. There's a lot you can learn from that, and you can read his book Crush It to get any insight directly from him. His web site is at

Some things that have stuck with me a couple of weeks after the event are:
  • If they are your customers, then YOU provide the customer service. Don't pass it off.
  • Be real/yourself.
  • Keep working hard and don't take shortcuts.
  • Don't quit your job until it makes sense, but stick with a vision of making a living off what you love and then quit when you can.

I'm going to post something about Clay Shirkey as well in the coming days.

Damn. Missed This at SXSW...

April 5 edit to add: HOLY FUCK! I was showing this video to someone over the weekend and realized that I JUST missed out on this. Possibly by mere minutes. Ol' beardy behind the bar served me a vodka + soda at the very time that GZA was finishing up his set just down the street. For shit's sake. Oh well, had a great time that night, so definitely no regrets. Thought it was worth the mention though.

Before I forget...

I have 4 SXSW tabs open in my browser, which I didn't want to close until I had a chance to write about my last few days at the festival. I'm not necessarily known for my memory so keeping tabs open helps me remember what's what. However, now that I'm back in Calgary, I have had trouble finding the time to blog, etc. I have a very compelling reason to be traveling again in mid-April so right now I'm working my ass off to make that happen.

I would like to come back later and review a band or two, but for now I'm just going to list out some of the bands that I was able to see on Friday & Saturday...

Japandroids, The Drums, The Very Best, An Horse, Suckers, The Antlers, She & Him, Chico Mann, Washed Out, Real Estate, Yelawolf, Sleigh Bells, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Junius, the Uglysuit, Athlete

The bolded acts were good to great. Sleigh Bells rocked their last song (Crown on the Ground, which was the only one I knew) but otherwise was pretty lame. Yelawolf was probably the most randomly entertaining (think 2010's bad-ass Vanilla Ice who throws out jeans, shoes that are in the shoebox, and full cans of Budweiser in to the audience) but were horrible musically. I had been listening to a lot of Uglysuit when I was in Brooklyn, so was really happy that they put on a great show... maybe my favorite set of SXSW. An Horse lived up to their name, Bone Thugs taught me a thing or two about different years in hip hop as well as dead rappers, and Athlete put on a really good acoustic show (which was probably good because the lead singer was drinking my water).

I saw a bunch of other music in bars, restaurants, taco/beer gardens, and on the street (including one of the better bands I saw, who are behind Cousin It in the above photo... I can't remember their name).

SXSW 2010 was a success. I will definitely be back next year with a few things in mind:

- pace yourself
- ABC's of SXSW are Always Be Charging
- bring business cards even if you're just hanging out
- don't expect to be able to do everything
- expect dumb questions from the audience
- expect dumb answers from the panel
- don't stick around if the session you're in is bombing
- you will meet important people just standing around
- get a hotel downtown
- breakfast tacos are a great cheap meal
- Fogo de Chao is a great expensive meal
- Sunday is free breakfast day
- rsvp to the parties
- rsvp with a +1
- don't rely on the SXSW web site for all of the event info around town
- don't rely on my.sxsw at all
- prepare for low urinals
- eat whenever you can and drink lots of water
- tequila to start the day, not to end it
- don't bring red wine in the hot tub room
- just because it's Texas doesn't mean it doesn't get damn cold
- suits are overkill and douchey, no need to pack even as a precaution
- packing extra socks couldn't hurt because the ones you packed might have giant holes in them
- Franks, Buffalo Billiards, Driskoll, Chupacabra, Stoney's Pizza, Iron Cactus, and Imperia
- spend more time in South Congress
- make time for Uncommon Objects
- even though giving the cab to the white supremacists might seem like a good idea, maybe just take it yourself as they may have left some friends behind.

Wicked Day

Yesterday, after a late start, I met up with my new friends from Wednesday's Fader Fort lineup. They wanted to see a separate band, but I was pleasantly surprised that Bowerbirds was about to start a set when I got there. After some initial sound problems, they had a great set. Then the group split apart a bit, a friend (Ashlea) and I went to go see the Delta Spirit at the IFC. They were filming something for the IFC channel to promote their new album, so we wanted to get in to see that. Ashlea doesn't have a pass, so she wasn't allowed in to the venue - however after a bit of fanangling we were able to get in and be part of a 30-person audience. Was very cool.

After high on our luck, we decided to celebrate with some rapid-fire margaritas and tequila shots. It was about 4pm at this point. I was convinced that it would get the party started right and also called a pussy for trying to pace myself. Telling me that I can't do something is pretty much the best way to convince me to do it. With a good buzz on we headed down to the Fader Fort to catch most of the day's lineup. The highlight was the Columbian band Bomba Estero. We hung out with some of the local crowd afterwards and saw GZA from the other side of his venue's fence. Apparently Bill Murray was there, which is odd (I guss GZA and Murray were in a film together).

With several more beverages in our bodies, we thought that for sure we'd be able to get Ashlea in to Stubbs to see Drive By Truckers, Band of Horses and Broken Social Scene. Everyone pretty much guaranteed that wouldn't happen as they were clamping down on wristbands and passes to the bigger shows. However, we got in no problem and was able to see all three bands perform great sets. Emily Haines and James Shaw from Metric came out for one song, which was awesome.

I'm now at the hotel getting ready to see the Japandroids and start my Friday.

Thank God for Locals

My SXSW buddy got sick and is heading back to Calgary. That was bad news as we'd been having a great time, but hope he's feeling better.

Luckily, James and I are both in to the same music and both have music passes. The Fader Fort party turned out to be a four day event that you needed to RSVP for. After standing in line for an hour to get wristbands we found out we were not on the list despite our expensive sxsw badges. Dejected, we headed to the Canadian BBQ and saw our first act (the entertaining Radio Radio) and at free food and drank free beer. It was there that we met our first local saviour of the day - Elisa. She told us 3 key things:

- our badges get us to skip the line for 2 venues per day
- check for local events & schedules
- Fader Fort RSVPs get a 'plus 1' so just work the line to get in.

James and I immediately got our skip the line passes for 2 venues so we could see an 11.00 show (One Time Only) and a 12.00 show (Spoon) back to back. That worked out well although I wasn't really happy with either performance. Spoon was a let down.

After getting our priority tickets we went back to the Fader line. I met a great group of people that had an extra plus-1 so spent the hour in line with them. They were a blast.

We stuck around Fader Fort to see a couple of acts. We Were Promised Jetpacks & Freelance Whales were quite good. Free Energy was also decent. They were giving out cassette tapes & many people were confused by them.

James and I then met up with Scott so he could say his farewells before heading back to Fader Fort to catch the 'surprise act'. Turned out to be Nas and Damien Marley and they were fantasic. I also met up with one of the girls we were in line with and ended up hanging out with her for a bit. She has a marketing background but now does a ton of travel so we had a lot to talk about. We will be hanging out more today but she doesn't have a pass so will only be able to get in to events that are open to the public. Next year I think I'll skip the music pass because there is enough music you can catch for free. Another local lesson learned.

Great news of the day is that Muse just got added to the lineup on the weekend and that MGMT is in town too - no event announced yet though.