Category Archives: authors

Getting backstage at Austin City Limits with R.E.M. and AMD

Scott Carroll at AMD has an awesome job. He works with geeks in the entertainment industry to make sure they are using AMD processors. One of the places you’ll see his work is in the audio booth at the famous PBS show Austin City Lights (been going for more than 30 years and has filmed many of the world’s most famous music stars — a piece of the original stage was even turned into guitars by Gibson).

So, when Scott says “I have some people you should meet” you drop everything and go along. What did he take us to on Thursday night? The Austin City Limits studio where R.E.M. filmed a concert and then did a radio show (we made it for the radio show, and then did an interview with David Hough who has been an audio engineer on the show since the very beginning (that will be up on FastCompany.tv in a couple of weeks). Here’s Scott welcoming us in the entryway to the studio.

We filmed a bunch of stuff with our professional HD cameras, but of course I filmed with my cell phone too.

Sound checks (they were doing a live radio show).
Sound board during radio broadcast.
R.E.M during the radio show, where the lead singer talks about the importance of the Internet to their business. The interview starts at about 3 minutes in (it’s only a piece of the interview that was played on the radio) and they talk about the Internet at about 5 minutes into the interview.
An interview with John Rosenfelder of EarBender.com talks with me about promoting music (he is a professional music promoter).

Thanks to AMD and Scott for getting us access and introducing us to David. It’s a real pleasure meeting innovators like him.

By the way, the audio that David recorded sounded way better than the concert did outside. I totally understand why he loves his job and doesn’t like to leave his booth, which we’ll take you into after Rocky edits our show.

After the R.E.M. deal we went back into downtown Austin where we found Jo Hell and the Red Roosters ripping it up. We were so impressed that we stayed for something like two hours listening to him. Wow, what a great performer. After that we went to the Playboy party where Moby was entertaining about 1,000 people but we felt that Jo was just a much better performer. It’s amazing sometimes who gets popular and who doesn’t in music.

It was the first time I had a chance to see some music at SXSW and, boy, I wish I had been able to stay the whole week. They closed down sixth street and you could just walk from bar to bar, each with a different act.

Remember, you can download all the music from SXSW legally and free too. It’s just like walking down Sixth Street, albeit without the crowds or waiting in line for crappy pizza.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, but the band will stream its new album for free on March 24th on iLike. Here’s iLike’s CEO, Ali Partovi, talking about the deal.