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SXSW Music Conference
I was asked to be on a panel about Rock Photography at the SXSW festival so I went to Austin for the first time this year. More than 2000 bands play there over 5 days, most of them more than once, so it's a circus of music overload. If you see 10 shows a day you still miss 490! I managed to have a great time seeing mostly old friends and some new ones too.

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Famed photographer and DJ, BP Fallon did an unusual set of spoken work with backup from Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison (of Blondie) and a great guitarist, Aaron Lee Tasjan

Michael Monroe, Steve Conte & Sammy Yaffa backstage after their set at the Austin Music Hall.

The scene on 6th street reminded me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans on a good night. There are dozens of bars, all filled with music.

Suzanne Vega played a beautiful show at St Andrews Church.

Dave Marsh led a very interesting interview with Smokey Robinson for the Keynote address.

Cheetah Chrome & Syl Sylvain showed their new band "Batusis" at the Prague club. It was so crowded with friends that it reminded some of CBGB in the old days.

Over at La Zona Rosa Ray Davies sang and told stories to the audience and we all had a good time.

After Ray's show I got to see Roky Erickson of 13th Floor Elevators for the first time. It was cool to finally see him on home turf in Austin. 'I walked with the Zombies' for days as the song stuck in my head.

DJ Spooky had a band including strings and piano playing versions of music from classical to Led Zeppelin.

The music never stops at SXSW.....Late at night a musician serenaded a young lady near my hotel.

During a brief stop at the Levi's Fort I saw Cherie Currie showing off her chain saw sculpting skills. The new Runaways film is based on Cherie's book, which has a photo of mine on the cover.

Don Letts was in Austin to premier his new film about the Strummerville charity and he was joined at the screening by Joe Strummer's daughter Lola.

Smokey Robinson was the best show I saw at SXSW. He played at the Austin Music Hall and while there were a lot of new young groups playing in Austin, none was better than this master performer.

Wayne Kramer and Billy Bragg played with some local musicians to celebrate their visit to the nearby jail in connection with their charity "Jail Guitar Doors", which brings guitars to prisoners.

Jakob Dylan sang at the Rachel Ray picnic at Stubbs where the food was as good as the music.

Alejandro Escovedo & Lenny Kaye get close after playing at Maria's Taco Express, and again the food was as good as the music.

I finished my visit to Austin by catching wild woman Courtney Love rocking out at 3am!

Then I went to Los Angeles for a benefit for the Anaheim University Film Institute. They are starting an education program named after my friend the late Carrie Hamilton and invited me to say a few words at the dinner, after which I got to say hello to Carrie's mom Carol Burnett.

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