2015 marked the third time that Jam in the Van has trekked down to Austin, Texas in mid-March for the annual SXSW Music Conference. It’s appropriately named a conference because it’s not really a festival. Calling it a conference implies that it’s not really as free spirited an event as your standard festival, and it’s not, not at all. Festivals are predominantly about saying farewell to the real world for a few days and letting your responsibilities fall to the back of the line. South By Southwest on the other hand is full of responsibilities. If you’re a band you have an itinerary to keep to and generally, if you’re doing it right, it’s a packed itinerary. If you’re a brand or a company, like us, you’ve got a schedule too, and in our case, we’ve got a lot of folks to keep happy, and thereby a lot of responsibilities.

This will be the third time I’ve blogged about Jam in the Van’s experiences at SXSW. The first year we went I broke my journal entries up into days because we rode out in the original Jam Van and each day was a crazy adventure. That was one of the least enjoyable festival experiences of my life and it culminated in us selling the Jam Van on the side of the road in Ft. Stockton, Texas and driving a U-Hual home, uncertain of Jam in the Van and our own personal futures.

The second go around for us at South By Southwest was last year. Whereby we went into our first South By as unknown newbies, the second time we were an entity in demand. We had choices as to where we were going to park and who we were going to film and instead of sleeping ten people deep in a basement at my friend’s house we rented a house of our own and even filmed there for a couple of days. Those couple of days happened to be our most stress free and enjoyable days of the entire trip. No cops bothered us, no zoning violations or noise violations or need to jump start The Van and relocate. So we took a hint and this past SXSW we decided we were going to film solely at the house that we rented. This meant we were going to need a serious house upgrade, 2014’s version didn’t have hot showers. Enter GQ Magazine.

11082266_1005992716078344_4385814343664376320_oI’m not sure how it happened, I didn’t question it, because I didn’t want to jinx it, but somehow GQ Magazine got wind of what we do, and how good we are at doing it and they signed on to be our parteners for SXSW. They helped us connect with brands like Swatch, Tito’s Vodka, Priv, Bixby Combs, Chameleon Coffee, Dharma Co. Eyewear, Still House Moonshine, Dark Horse Wines, Skull Candy, HISY and we brought our usual pals, Lagunitas, Orange Amps, MXL Microphones, AQUAHydrate, and Toshiba along for the ride. That type of brand representation required a proper location. So we scoured Austin for the perfect crash pad for a week of musical mayhem. We found a gem named “The Loft House” nestled in the Sunset Valley community just outside of Downtown Austin. The house can be described in short as what a millionaire would build if they were building a house on an island like Bali. It was awesome.

It had a pool, a huge yard with a creek at the base of it, giant spacious rooms with plenty of areas to sleep, a loft above the first floor, wooden swings hanging from the ceiling in the large screened in porch, fantastic bathrooms with jacuzzis and granite shower rooms, a large bar surrounding the kitchen, it was the tits, and in general, we had no business being there. Unfortunately it also had a lot of breakable stuff in it, so upon arrival we had to “stupid-proof” the interior, because when you throw a party there are always going to be people doing stupid things, so always be prepared.

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9b84bfc7-7df7-4885-9a22-6e69762dbe1b.1.6Our first night in Austin we actually spent reliving past memories at the house where we stayed the first time we ventured to SXSW. We slept in the same basement, but this time there were just three of us. The three dudes who started it all. We awoke, with a skip in our step anxious to progress from there to our new digs which would be ready by 3PM. So we fed ourselves and headed towards Sunset Valley. There 3 became 5 as Spud and sound engineer Ethan arrived from their road trip. Both looked Motel 8 fresh and ready to attack the week.

11037511_1005989822745300_1866903626296969831_o11077784_1005992046078411_127500205801767890_oDay one was set-up day. It involved countless trips in our rental cars to back and forth to a P.O. box that we had reserved for the occassion. We quickly learned that when working with 16 sponsors you must be prepared for dealing with a lot of stuff. That meaning stuff in the physical form, not the abstract. We basically filled up the entire P.O. box storage room with our crap. A large part of the volume of which came from Swatch’s giant stuffed animal display. Because giant stuffed animals and watches go hand in hand. So we had to stuff about fifteen or so of these things, ranging from eight foot long snakes that looked like big poops to giant gorillas, and a monster husky dog. There was also a lot of other stuff that needed picking up in order to build out our house, but the animals were by far the most memorable. Unfortunately the one live animal who generally comes on our trips, RZA the dog, was banned from this fancy house due to a no pets policy. At any rate, when we brought the animals back to LA and they took up temporary residence in my guest room, RZA got a chance to meet them. He was not a fan.

11080493_1005992199411729_3697973693421555114_oBy the end of day one things were beginning to take shape. Ethan built a bar that would go in the Dark Horse Wine activation, we’d all worked together to move the hundreds of cases of wine, vodka, coffee, beer, moonshine, and water around to the back of the house for storage. The house had been semi-stupid-proofed, and we were all ready for the chaos to begin. The calm before the storm is always the slowest part of the week. Tired from moving boxes and building shit and anxious to see the sun rise we ordered some pizza and hopped into bed early.

When the morning came, I wiped the crust from my eyes and looked down from the top of the loft section of the house. People were buzzing about below, readying the house and the various sponsor activations that would be present. We actually hired a staff for this shindig, on top of the Jam Van Crew. So we had bar tenders, production assistants, we even had someone manning the BBQ grill all day long. Turned out that our grill man was the bassist for Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears. That was kind of trippy, I mean, I have a poster of his band framed hanging in my house, and here he was flippng burgers for us. It was kind of cool and kind of depressing at the same time. Great dude though.

Our first scheduled band, The Black and the White had to reschedule due to their lead singer being in the hospital back in LA. That seemed like a legitimate excuse. One of our camera-gurus, Joel, also got held up back in LA with heat stroke. Thankfully he made it in on a later flight. So our actual first band was Great Peacock, and they showed up on time. At any rate, I can’t really recant every single band here in paragraph form, because for starters, I’m writing this journal entry late as it is, and second of all we filmed forty one bands, and I don’t think anyone wants to hear me ramble through all of them. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So we’re going to do it in list form and give a little tid bit of informative love to each band and throw in a bit more behind the scenes action from the week that was…

Great Peacock – Dude wore a mexican poncho type thing and he wore it well. They were a great band to kick things off with, and their session has been on steady repeat ever since we published it.

Great PeacockHorse Thief – They came in a van, no horses were involved.

Horse ThiefWild Ones – Girl can sing. Or, as Spud would say, “baby girl can blow!”

Wild_OnesFuturebirds – Love these dudes. Payton showed up wearing a Budweiser shirt and hat, so we had to give him some classier gear that read Guild Guitar and Jam in the Van on it. We’re a Lagunitas show and strictly a Lagunitas show. So if you want some free gear and your band is playing in The Van, do like Payton did and show up in some Bud gear. They sat for a Cuz’s Corner and we all reminisced about the first time we partied together at Bonnaroo. This time was a lot more fun and I even got to make up for the shirt I took from their merch table when they played LA a few years back. So now we’re square.

Plain White T’s – Talk about your throwback. They didn’t play “Hey There Delilah,” but their new stuff is pretty catchy too. They sat down in Cuz’s Corner for an evening edition of our favorite music journalist’s show.

Plain White TsWhite Mystery – They rocked our faces off and gave us some rad t-shirts to boot.

WHITE MYSTERYThat was one hell of a way to kick things off. We were all pretty beat up tired, so we ordered some sub-par Thai food and packed it in early. We had five more days like that set to come.

I awoke on day two much in the much the same manner as the day before. Rub eyes, hit the jon, throw on some sweatpants, and look over the loft balcony at what was going on down below. Once again, it was bustling with movement. The staff we’d hired, now already familiar with their tasks were hard at work prepping for the day ahead. It was kind of a trip watching something that we’d orchestrated play out from above.

On my way downstairs to check the weather I bumped into Kelsey Kopecky, from Kopecky. They were the only band this year that we’d filmed at our first SXSW, albeit they were named Kopecky Family Band back then. That year was a horrible memory yes, but the music was all great. She was impressed by the upgrades, we actually had a place where she could set her makeup and get ready, imagine such grandure?

Suffice to say, much like Jam in the Van, in the years that have passed, Kopecky has grown tighter as a musical unit, and their session reflected that maturation and progress.

KopeckyAmerican Aquarium visited us second that day. We’re big fans of this band and they always put on a great show, be it in a Van or on a stage. However, something about the Van in particular really draws it out of them. This attempt was no different.

American Aquarium 2Hollis Brown came next and if you play a Velvet Underground cover for me, and if you play it well, I will have zero complaints about the rest of the show. If you play “Sweet Jane,” even better. I have no complaints to report.

Hollis BrownThe Sheepdogs provided the fast paced straight on Southern rock and roll that they’ve been known for ever since they burst on the scene when they won that Rolling Stone cover way back when. Only thing to report other than Spud actually bringing a stuffed sheep dog into Cuz’s Corner when he interviewed them was that I almost knocked the keyboardist’s instrument over when I slipped into The Van to grab something from the back. My bad.

The SheepdogsSons of Bill dedicated one of their songs to a fallen friend, and that always throws an extra emotional notch into the performance, but in this case it felt like a whole lot of notches.

Sons of BillAndrew Combs sent chills down many a spine with his performance of “Suwanee County.”

Andrew CombsMatthew E. White told us “Rock and Roll is Cold” and we had no reason to disbelieve him.

Mathew E. WhiteLast of the Day was Joseph, and shame on us for booking an all girl band for the last act of the day. By that point our crew had a few too many Lagunitas in them and I think several of the boys fell in love. Hard to blame them.

JosephAs each day rolled on I got a bit more comfortable with what was going on around me. The growth of what we were creating, the effect it was starting to have on people coming to and from the house. As I got more comfortable with my surroundings I did as I do at home, and progressively remained in my sweatpants for longer and longer each day. So by day three when I joined Lee Baines, our first guest of the day, outside for a smoke, I was in full don’t give a shit attire. I would shed it before his session began, but point is, I was starting to get the hang of it.

Lee Baines is a force of rock and roll. That’s not an exageration. He’s also a very amicable dude who can hold a good conversation. That’s sometimes tough in these passing settings that we create with our sessions. Because how much can you really get to know a person in about an hour or so? It’s tough, and I’m not saying I know Lee now, I’m just saying we had a conversation and it didn’t simply concern “where are you off to next?”

Lee BainsWater Liars were where we were off to next that day, and I’ll just say listen to “I Want Blood,” and there’s good odds that you’ll immediately listen to it again.

Water LiarsDiarrhea Planet was in the day three third slot. I was very familiar with this band, having caught their many guitared act on several occassions in different settings. I knew cramming all of their thrash and sound into that little space was going to be epic, I was right. They’re also very good at partying, which their name kind of gives away. Any good party ends the next morning, if you get my drift.

FullSizeRenderThe party did not end. Jukebox the Ghost made sure of that, and all it took them was two dudes, a set of drums and some keys.

Jukebox the GhostKnox Hamilton gave the type of performance that really makes you regret when a session ends. Every time we have a band play, when they hop out, we play back the tracks for them. So you get three songs, then you get the three songs again, and if all things align just right, you wish you got three more.

Knox HamiltonAfter the sessions we had a little BBQ with the folks from Fools Gold Records. It was cool, everyone was very nice, thank god I don’t live in Brooklyn. A-Track did not spin.

11080576_1005992326078383_7239988743016642216_oFriday I awoke and looked out over the loft balcony, there was considerably more chaos about this morning. It was the day of our “Showcase” aka SXSwatch (Sellout X South West, that’s how we do son!), and there was the ever looming threat of a massive storm front brooding on the very near horizon. So everyone downstairs was in a bit of a fuss about where the hell we were going to have a stage for bands to perform at outside of The Van? Because we’d planned out this day to have 6 bands perform inside of The Van and an equal number outside on a makeshift stage of sorts. I mean, we had a big ass yard and a pool and we’d planned it out earlier in the week and it was going to be fucking spectacular, but it was going to be outside, and it was pretty clear that if that was the case, nobody was going to be watching and the musicians might get electrocuted. So we had to think fast. Our first thought was to move every canopy and tarp that we had up to thet front of the house by the van, drape tarps from trees, and create some dry space. Aside from looking like a refugee camp, that idea also failed to take into account that, well, it forgot to take a lot into account, just visualize it… yup.

So after a brief bout of shouting we decided to stage it in the screened in porch room. We could flip the swings that hung down from the ceiling up around a rafter and create our stage in the corner with our Orange Amp backline. So we did that, and it was still pretty spectacular.

11046690_1005991196078496_2559363907281003733_oWe also had sessions going in The Van that day, and those sessions started before the live ones. We needed to give some time for the crowd to amass. The first band in The Van was Fort Lean, which sounds by the name like it should have been rappers from Texas, but it was actually very pleasant indie rock and roll. Not that rappers from Texas aren’t pleasant (Paul Wall). This was just pleasant enough to make note of it’s pleasantness.

Fort LeanDorothy rocked everyone’s faces off next, and again, a few of the crew inside The Van got a bit too attached. I’m looking at you “Kings of Leon” Yeaman, or rather Mr. “As if that girl could ever look unattractive.”

DorothyThe screen-porch sets started to happen right about this time. Maybe like 2PM. First band was American Aquarium. We figured start it off slower, build up to an explosion. It was a good plan, BJ Barham and crew played the role of tone-setter to perfection, an effort bolstered by the rain that had begun thundering down in huge globs.

11063771_1005991286078487_2373137069700586087_oOut front Son Little ripped his fingers across his guitar in The Van, just a few inches of siding and insulation separating his blues from the rain. It’s a shame nobody got to hear it live at the house. It was too damn wet. Where’s a refugee tent camp wen you need one?

Son LittleInside was where it was at. We stayed in the south for our second Showcase act. The Black Cadillacs out of Nashville were another band that stuck with us after SXSW 2014. We ran into them a couple of times on the road throughout the year and in general kept up with their doings. They finished their showcase set with a bang, their new song “The Sea,” and things were getting towards warm in that house. The rain was killing no vibes. Just destroying every inch of that place with mud and water, but whatever, it’s not a party if you don’t trash the joint. Right Diarrhea Planet?

11046784_1005991216078494_4508078026784392789_oOutside at The Van we had a little hiatus in the entertainment as Alberta Cross was running a bit late. That didn’t mean there was no action going on out there. Stanley’s Famous BBQ had pulled up with their big hatchet-handled BBQ rig and were cooking up a storm of their own. These guys had seen us either at a SXSW past or just on the internet and they reached out about wanting to cook for us. So we said come on, and they did just that. Brisket, pulled pork, these little stuffed Jalepenos that were so good you kind of forgot you were eating a jalepeno, until of course you remembered, am I right Diarrhea Planet (ok, I’ll stop). The food would get shuttled into the house and disappear from the trays almost instantly. The Stanley’s were truthfully in it for the love of the music, because we still have yet to receive a bill, which we would happily pay. So in lieu of that, I’ll just say many thanks and hope to see you again next year.

10264101_1005992166078399_763173183332525774_o1053195_1005992019411747_4718201306268005176_o-1When you’ve got plates of free BBQ swinging around the party, and a live band on stage, you know you’re doing something right. The next band on the stage, Stoplight Observations, is a band that I’m personally very partial to, mostly because I’ve spent some time with them and find them all to be of the kind and genuine variety, deserving of any success that they stumble upon throughout their musical journey. I was stoked when they told me that they’d be at SXSW 2015 and locked them into both a Van slot and a Showcase slot. They played third at the showcase, and to see how far they’ve come since we first met in the dirt at Bonnaroo 2013, camping beside one another, it was awesome. They brought the energy level in the building way up, and the phrase “I’ve never heard anything like that,” came up in a complementary way several times in conversations that I was either a part of or overheard.

The band hung out for the rest of the day, as did a bunch of the bands performing both on stage and in The Van. It was a good scene, everyone taking advantage of the amenities, which included a masseus and manicure stations. That was a first for me. I’ve thrown parties before, we’ve had amenities, like bongs, and kegs, but never this.

Stoplight would later have a seat in a Cuz’s Corner filled with giant stuffed animals that had sought refuge from the rain. Spud asked them the difficult questions, like, “what’s your go to breakfast cereal?” As a thanks for the good journalism as well as the many parables of wisdom that Spud has bestowed upon them over the years, the Stoplight boys pulled Spud into The Van for one of their songs and gave him a mic to yell stuff into. By that point the rain had calmed and we were able to stand outside and enjoy that spontaneous moment of joy. It was definitely a special session. Gave ya’ the warm chills…

Stoplight_Observations 2Alberta Cross eventually found the rest of their bandmates and managed to slide into The Van minutes before we were going to strike the session. I’m glad they made it, because they hit us with a performance of “Old Man Chicago,” which truth be told, was kind of something I really was hoping would happen. We tried for Alberta Cross when they were living on the West Coast around 2011/2012, but we were a little too green at that point and it never happened. We finally got that “Old Man Chicago,” and it was as cool as I always thought it would be.

Albertacross 3Alberta Cross would close out the indoor stage later in the evening, but before them Ivory Deville and T. Hardy Morris and the Hard Knocks would have a crack at the now very well lubricated crowd.

Ivory Deville’s “honkey-tonk rock and roll went over very well with the Texas audience. When you take good movin’ music out of Los Angeles, people actually get to movin’. It was good to see the fellas and ladies get in front of an audience that could feed off of their energy. In return they fed it right back to the band, so much so that Wolf, the bassist, concluded the set by jumping into the pool with his clothes on in the rain. I was definitely yelling for him to do just that earlier in the set and he had called back “don’t tempt me, I’ll do it.” Sure enough, the Wolf is not one to be tempted.

11079491_1005991192745163_4676936291888028520_oT. Hardy Morris and the Hard Knocks gave us the gritty southern rock that we knew we could count on them for. An extra bonus came when Hardy’s brother and manager Dawson tapped me on the shoulder and suggested that I look at their drummer’s snare drum. “That’s blood,” he informed me, pointing out the completely blood-splattered drum head. It looked like one of those paint spirograph toys from back in the day. It was pretty gnarly/cool, but definitely more on the gnarly side for our film crew who got to be right up close to his blood spraying knuckles when they followed up their showcase performance with a Van session. From now on we keep gauze on hand.

T. Hardy Morris & The Hard KnocksAlberta Cross closed out our first ever JITV showcase. We got an “Old Man Chicago” in there, and why the hell not? I feel like we earned that reward pretty well that day.

As the last stragglers at the party cleared out, we started to take inventory of the damage done, and overall it wasn’t terrible, but we did have one minor problem, we lost the keys to a rental car. I guess in the scheme of things, given all the random people and rock and roll at the fancy house, losing the keys wasn’t the worst that could happen. Further more, as far as getting that rental out of the driveway etc., somebody else dealt with it, out of my hands, and that was fine by me…

It felt like we just ran a marathon and hit the tape at the finish line. Only, we had two more days to go. Needless to say, I went to sleep early that evening.

Day five began and we were heading back down the hill, the end was in sight. Admittedly, a bit of the luster and shine of the GQ X JITV House had been dulled by the previous days rain and mayhem. If this were a sports team mid-season, we’d have already clinched a playoff spot and now we’d need to have a little team pep-talk to make sure we finished the season strong. This however was not a sports team, and instead of a pep-talk we had music. So regardless if the big to-do had happened the day before, all of the bands showing up Saturday had no knowledge of what went down there the day before, so they didn’t give a damn, and we had to make it seem like we didn’t either.

So when Colony House struck up that first session of the day, sure we were a bit hung over, but we wiped the crust from our eyes and their tunes started slowly bringing us back to life.

Colony HouseZella Day brought her voice that seems uncannily large for coming in such a petite package, and that roused the masses even further. The sun had finally rejoined us in Austin, and things outside were beginning to dry up. I myself still remained in sweat pants by the time our old pals The Mowglis showed up to play their third session in The Van.

Zella DayI had pretty much resigned to the fact that I was going to stay in sweatpants. When the Mowglis told me that I looked phenomenal and had to stay that way, well, that was a deal sealer. They looked about as fresh as The Mowglis should on day six of SXSW. Clearly they’d spread “love rock” all over the damn place that week and they were a little stinky on account of spreading love takes a lot of work. Nevertheless, they jumped around in what they fondly refer to as their favorite live recording venue. Then they had a nice little sit down with Spud in Cuz’s Corner. It was like a big old group hug with a selfie stick.

The Mowglis 3While The Mowglis were livening up The Corner K. Flay slid into The Van, dropped some beats and some knowledge and some raps, and then slid on out. She was like a ghost, just felt a whisp of her. Then you see the videos and you’re like “hot damn, how’d all that happen so covertly?” It was impressive.

K FlayIvory Deville made their, I think third, appearance in The Van, finally getting their full and long term line-up together in their. They dropped a new one for us and tooka seat in the corner where Spud proceeded to hit on Tia and Wolf made some grunty noises.

Ivory Deville 2To finish Saturday off we went with maybe our strongest final three line-up of the week. At least in terms of Facebook “likes.” Jamestown Revival into Surfer Blood into Cody Simpson, and that shit was all good. Cody brought his super model girlfriend, GiGi Hadid, with him to the house. I didn’t realize how big of a deal that was until my own super model girlfriend told me “you don’t know who GiGi Hadid is? Ha.” Anyways, she was pretty hot. She mostly sat inside and played with a toddler. I have no idea how a toddler got in there. That might have been the weirdest thing that happened all week.

Cody Simpson
Jamestown Revival
SurferbloodThen it was all of a sudden Sunday. The place looked like deuce and we looked even worse than that, and felt just about the same. At this point I’m not really sure what I was subsisting off of, but it was mostly hamburgers and candy, because that was what was around the house and I pretty much hadn’t left in seven days. I figured if I ate another hamburger I would get some kind of disease that you get from eating too many hamburgers, Scurvy or some shit. So I ordered an ass load of different types of fancy tacos from Taco Deli and for lunch we played Taco Roulette. To play you dump a large sack of different flavored tacos wrapped in aluminum-foil on a table and everyone takes a taco. Whatever you get you get. Salsa optional. We also recorded some bands.

Sunday was designated as our contest winners and runners up day. The contest had been kind of a big mess this go around. We made the final round an online vote but we neglected to put any type of security filter on the vote, so cheating was rampant. While we couldn’t convict anyone, we certainly had our suspicions, as did the contestants and they voiced them non-stop throughout the week leading up to the first prize announcement. I guess if you’re going to cheat at least do it for something worth it, and this certainly was a worthy prize. The eventual winner, Toxic Boy got to Jam in the Van and one a prize from pretty much all of our sponsors. So he got a computer, a guitar, an amp, headphones, a mic kit, beer, cold brewed coffee, fancy combs, selfie sticks, sunglasses, I mean, there was a pile of really cool stuff waiting for this guy when he showed up in at the house and he was pretty stoked. We had been running a pretty funny gag on our Production Manager, Jack, because he was the one who had to deal with a lot of the voting fiasco, and he kind of had a sore spot for Toxic Boy. So we told Jack that he had to give Toxic Boy all of his prizes, it was pretty great.

Toxic BoySince the voting was such a mess and we had a lot of awesome entries we decided to let a couple of the runners up jump in and record. So we invited Def Perception, a hip hop collective from Houston whose sounds seem to stem from predecessors like the Roots and BlackStar. However, these guys were from Texas, so they were all like Quest Love sized except for the DJ, who was this diminuitive I believe Latin American guy named Ruben who cut it up on these little turn tables, it was an ecclecticly entertaining set up and the beats and rhymes are pretty fire.

Def PerceptionWe also invited out our favorite group from the contest, Love and the Zealous. Think The Weeknd with The Allman Brothers backing him. That’s what we saw when we brought these dudes out from bumb-fuck-Texas to play The Van. We were so pleased with what they sounded like in person that we’ve invited them out on a Jam in the Van Presents Tour this summer. We’re pretty stoked to help showcase one of the best voices we’ve heard in a while to the world.

Love and the ZelousThen there were three.

The Black Cadillacs came back to hit us with more Tennessee rock and roll. This time dropping what might be my favorite song of theirs that they have played in The Van to date, “The Sea.” They hung out for a long time, sitting in for the first ever poolside Cuz’s Corner, and then watching bball with us in the NCAA Tourney loft. They had to get back on the road and head out after they left our pad so they were relaxing for a little while before they did that. That was pretty much where most of our heads were at too, but we still had two bands to get on tape and a whole bunch of crap to clean up. When the Black Cadillacs did finally split they took with them the stuffed cat that had been part of the Swatch display, whom I had named Mr. Bigglesworth. The drummer had been eyeing him all day and so I said he could adopt him if he promised to take good care of him. I’ve seen him on Instagram since, and although they’ve changed his name, Mr. Bigglesworth seems to be eating well and leading a happy life on the road with a rock band. They also gave us a couple of Black Cadillac shirts. One large and one medium. The medium went to the Perfect Hippie because he’s petite like that, and although the band asked that the other one go to Spud, I have to admit guys, that shirt was just too bad-ass to give to Spud, so I kept it, I wear it all of the time.

The Black Cadillacs 210257401_1005991762745106_1115426511293392449_oThen there were two.

The Bros. Landreth, I don’t know if they are brothers, I didn’t then either, and I don’t think I was able to really focus on it enough to even wonder about it at the time. I was busy trying to find the two lost sets of rental van keys that had gone missing. They never turned up. That’s not cheap. The best part about it is we lost the second pair while looking for the first pair. Real tight ship we run, right? Anyways, The Bros. Landreth session is in fact phenomenal and made proper key searching background music.

Bros Landreth 2Then there was one.

We’d originally invited Bloods out to the house to just sit in Cuz’s Corner because we thought, “haha, Spud’s a Crip and their name is Bloods, haha!” However, we checked out their music and it was some pretty cool uppity Australian punk rock, and so we saw no harm in giving them both and interview and a session. They did their interview poolside as well with plenty of bubbles going, and so Spud the Crip, sat poolside next to a bubble machine while pooring the Bloods glasses of wine. If only the homies could see him now…

BloodsAt some point in here the Swatch break-down team had instructed some PA’s to take all of their jumbo-stuffed-animal display animals back to the Swatch store to be disposed of. When I got wind of that I ran to the rescue, because the day before I had been given clearance by the Swatch powers at be that I could keep the animals and give them to charity. So we told those PA’s to turn the hell around and bring those jumbo animals back to the house. They did just that and their return coincided with Bloods load-in to The Van so we decided, hey why not, let’s put all the animals in The Van for Bloods session, and we did, and it was awesome, and one hell of a way to cap off one hell of a week.

I guess there was a lot of clean-up afterwards, and then we crashed and got the hell out of their just in time to escape the homeowner seeing us. It felt like we were cleaning up at a friends house in high school after a party and had to sneak out of there right before their parents returned. We had a bit of time to kill before our flights so we went and got a meal that wasn’t hamburgers or tacos and hopped into Barton Springs to wash off the exhaustion and filth of SXSW… it kind of worked. Then we all said goodbye to one another like it was the end of a season of “The Real World,” and we headed off in different directions, all which would eventually lead us back to Los Angeles.

So what did I learn at SXSW and why did it take me a couple months therafter to put it down on paper? Well, the answer to the second question is easy. I really like watching television. As for the first, just a reaffirmation. This has never been an easy creation. It’s probably the hardest thing work or schoolwise Dave and I have ever done. I guess I can’t speak for him, but for me, disregarding things I couldn’t give two shits about like calculus, this is the hardest thing I’ve worked on in life. To briefly justify that statement, because clearly one could rebut, “but dude, you probably just didn’t ever do anything, how could driving around to festivals and watching music in a van be hard? I plowed through things like law school, a masters degree, and living in LA, before I stumbled upon this lucky thought. Just to place this, because people complain a lot about how hard stuff like law school is, but that’s good. Because if you want to be a lawyer, you should work hard, you should want to work hard. We want to make this Jam in the Van situation something bigger than it is right now. People get an incredible joy out of listening to music, it’s pretty essential to our lives if you think on it. Well we get an incredible joy out of finding more and more music to make people happy with. We want this to work, and so we’ve worked really, really hard to make it do so.

What SXSW 2015 taught me, was not that we’re there yet, but that we’re getting there. One of my friends said we “sold out” now that we have all these brands at our events. To that I said great, that’s what we always wanted to do. Because we knew we weren’t going to get to where we wanted to get to without selling out a little bit. Luckily, our partners are pretty sweet. Nobody is going to accuse the heads over at Lagunitas of ever being corporate stiffs. So every morning when I stood out on that loft balcony and watched the starts of each days events at SXSW, I kind of said to myself, “give us a few years,” give us a few more years and this is going to be a much bigger balcony.

Keep it heady.

 

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