Written by Gentlemen Hall vocalist, Gavin Merlot
My entire existence growing up in Cleveland was centered around listening to music. Music was my purpose. I had long hair, wore flannel, had ripped jeans. I idolized Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan, and various other alternative rock gods. All of the music I had was purchased from “C D Game Exchange” in Shaker Heights, Ohio. After school I would make a B line to the store and wait for people to bring in stacks of used CD’s to exchange, which would give me first dibs. Me and a few friends would wait hours to scoop up the newly exchanged cds. One of my favorite memories was paying $5 for “Tiny Music from the Vatican Gift Shop” by Stone Temple Pilots. The jewel case was all smashed but the cover art was so intriguing that it felt brand new. I skateboarded home as fast as I could, popped the CD in, and became obsessed with what I to this day consider one of the most underrated rock albums of all time.
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The Ballad of SXSW
Kevin of Fritz Montana
The 1700 miles between Fritz Montana and Austin, TX didn’t start to intimidate us until after our first hour on the road. The plan was to drive 15 hours to Tucson, then continue the next day for an additional 16 hours- it would be everyone’s longest drive to date. As soon as we arrived in Austin however, we instantly knew it was worth the two-day trek.
Graced with perfect weather and our very dedicated roadie/drum tech (Sean Leary), we hit the ground running on 6th street in downtown to play our first of seven shows during our week there. Completely surrounded by awesome music at all times, we played at bars, in tents, and on huge outdoor stages to crowds that were just as happy to be there as we were. Most venues during SXSW were backlined with their own drums and amps that helped minimize the ridiculous amount of gear we were afraid to haul around all week.
Since we were busy through pretty much our entire visit, we failed at dining at a true Texas barbeque joint (unless you count Whataburger, which was fantastic). Other regrets include missing a rodeo and having to pay $25 for parking on Thursday. Even with our busy schedule, the band was able to indulge in Austin’s fine nightlife with a visit to the Coyote Ugly Bar (which was really just a bar where beautiful women bullied you into buying alcohol), and then almost completely killed our voices when we sang along at the Dueling Piano Bar.
SXSW was an educating, ruthless, and extremely fun trip that really got us excited for things to come. With a new EP coming out soon, we hope to keep making great music for our fans so that we can make the trip back to Austin next year.
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