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To All the Young Dudes

Kasey Anderson  |  March 14, 2010

As young artists throughout the country (myself included) prepare for next week's SXSW Festival in Austin, TX, i offer a few modest proposals.

Tune Your Guitar: Sounds simple, right? That's because it is. It takes maybe 45 seconds, tops. And yet, on any given night in most American cities, you can see countless low-slung hipster guitarists who can't be bothered to tune their instrument. Fellas and ladies, it's not charming, it's not "alt.anything," and it's not indicative of your place in the annals of Rock 'N' Roll. It's just lazy and it sounds awful. Tune up.

Enough With the Condescension: I get it. Believe me, I get it. There's something to be said for "acting like you've been there before" but, guess what? The guys in Spoon get to act aloof and standoffish because they paid their dues for 10 years before anyone knew who they were, and they haven't put out a bad record in... ever. I understand that in the never-ending quest to create an aura of mystique, turning your back on your audience or glaring at your shoes for an entire set seems like a great idea but trust me when I tell you that it is not. The group of artists who can get away with that kind of stage demeanor is incredibly small and exclusive and, I'm sorry, but you're not in it.

Buy A Watch: Or learn how to read the sun. If you're slotted for 20 minutes, play 20 minutes. If you're slotted for 40, play 40. We all understand that you've fully prepared yourself to bring the entire industry to its knees with your sprawling, 38-minute version of "Cortez the Killer," but, unless you are Neil Young or Doug Martsch, SXSW is neither the time nor place to "stretch out." There are hundreds upon hundreds of bands who are just as eager as you are to get on stage and play, so go ahead and give them a chance to do so, okay? Okay.

Thanks, and best of luck out there.

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