SXSW 2013: What the hell just happened?!?

Michael Des Barres SXSW 2013

Austin, Texas… I can see why Michael considers it to be his home away from home. A magical place filled with friendliest people you will ever meet, springtime sun and and music lovers and creators everywhere, the annual SXSW Festival is nothing short of a musical Mecca… and we feel very good about saying SXSW 2013 was the best one yet.

Michael Des Barre’s performance at the Conqueroo  / Guitartown Music Showcase at the Molotov embodied the true spirit of the festival — a bar packed with with hot, sweaty people experiencing the pure joy of rock ‘n roll with their heads, hearts and hips. Owning the stage with his top-notch band of musicians — guitar legend Stevie Salas, Ken Stringfellow on keys, Matt Harris on bass and Branden Harper on drums — Michael brought the power of The Electric Church to Austin. Hot n’ Sticky down south, indeed.

Michael Des Barres and Fred Armisen

Check out the rave reviews for yourself: Meanwhile Back in Mobtown crowed, “Simply put, Michael Des Barres is a motherfucking rock star, and this is why he was the highlight of SXSW 2013 Day Two.” Popdose was equally impressed. “Rolling in to “Carnaby Street,” his rock manifesto and title track for his latest album, the Marquis blew our hair back with a short but intense (and loud!) set.” And from The Austin Chronicle, “Michael Des Barres provided an appropriate climax with a set of cocky, crunchy rock & roll that celebrated decadence past and the future with a wink and a power chord.”

Not all of the action was onstage, though — Michael caused a ruckus just being his rock star self on the patio of the Four Seasons. On one day he was spotted by the producer of Young Hollywood and tapped right on the spot to interview the one-and-only Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia fame. As it turns out, Fred is a big fan of Michael’s, and they had a great chat about some of Fred’s upcoming projects. The next tap on Michael’s shoulder was from Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, in town to gig with Dave Grohl’s supergroup Sound City Players. Hugs were exchanged, abs were compared and shhhh… Michael and Taylor have started writing a song together!

Taylor Hawkins and Michael Des Barres

Work and play are one and the same at SXSW, with the next day bringing a stroll down 6th Street, heads turning as Michael shopped for a Handsome Dick Manitoba bobble head doll and an Edgar Allen Poe button. MDB’s final destination on the block was an in-depth interview and photo session with the incredibly knowledgeable and friendly writers at UK e-zine Live4Ever — we’ll be sure to keep you posted on when that comes out.

Michael Des Barres and Clem Burke

The last day of our epic SXSW journey was filled with boundless joy and love thanks to the hospitality of the beloved and beautiful Quill family, who hosted their annual St. Patrick’s Day bash at their storybook ranch and state-of-the-art recording studio. Troughs of beer, gallons of tequila and even a tapas food truck filled the bellies of friends and family, and warm handshakes and conversation were shared with too many music legends to name. The doors of Red Horse Studio were thrown wide open and the barn was turned into an intimate outdoor stage. An all-day and into-the-night jam session ensued with the likes of guitar hero Stevie Salas and Stooges drummer Scott Asheton jumping in with gusto. BP Fallon and the Bandits performed a full set with Aaron Lee Tasjan — truly one of the most astounding guitar players I’ve ever heard — and pals Clem Burke of Blondie and a zillion other bands on drums and Nigel Harrison of Silverhead, Chequered Past and Blondie and more on bass. Even the beautiful groupie guru Miss Pamela Des Barres jetted in for the festivities!

I could go on and on —there were enough memories made to last us well until SXSW 2014 — but pictures are worth a thousand words, so check out the photo gallery below. Austin, you can bet your boots we’ll be back for more!

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