SXSW 2011 Questionnaire: Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel
by Nicole Villeneuve
March 18, 2011
Who: Screeching Weasel
Plays: Tonight, March 19 at the Scoot Inn
Screeching Weasel released their first studio album in a decade this week. Tonight, they play SXSW. Ladies and gentlemen, Ben Weasel.
AUX: What is your SXSW survival plan?
Ben Weasel: I’m going to hole up in my temporary compound as soon as I hit town and stay as far away as possible from anyone remotely associated with the music industry.
Who or what are you most looking forward to seeing?
The sign pointing to the highway that leads out of town.
If you’ve been to SXSW before, tell us your most memorable moment. If you haven’t, what is the most intriguing thing about it to you?
I’ve never been. It intrigues me that bands allow themselves to be suckered into playing for peanuts in hopes that they’ll be crowned the next big thing even though that virtually never happens. I still can’t believe I’m part of this year’s lineup of chumps. I feel like I’m dreaming, or insane.
What do you dislike most about SXSW/what makes you want to just go home?
Everything. I’m embarrassed to be playing it. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this debacle. It’s a paid vacation for rock critics and industry hacks and we’re the suckers who provide the free entertainment. Our management and label talked us into it on the grounds that it will be good for our career. I can’t see how. Name one punk band that’s ever cracked the big time by playing SXSW, much less an ancient one. You can’t. I’m deeply ashamed of myself for agreeing to do it. It goes against everything I’ve ever stood for. The only upside is that when this carnival of schadenfreude implodes at 11 PM on Friday night, I’ll have years of I-told-you-so ammunition stored up for the next time 15 or 20 times management and the label come up with another bright idea that makes me sick to my stomach.
Out of the approximately one billion bands playing, why should people come see your show at SXSW?
I don’t give a damn whether they do or not. We’re not getting paid enough to even begin to cover our expenses either way so if you want to go see some other gang of gullible dopes, knock yourself out. San Antonio’s an hour up the road and we’re playing there Saturday night. I’d much rather people make the trek to one of our paying gigs. We put on a better show when cold, hard cash is exchanging hands.
Start a juicy SXSW rumour (i.e. a secret show, keynote speaker, band drama, etc.).
I think I’ve just given you pretty much all the band drama you could ask for.