Trail of Dead’s Jason Reece: Tips for Surviving SXSW

After escaping unscathed from a Midwestern car crash, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead is back on the road (bus engine and trailer repaired), heading home to Austin to play SXSW (March 21 at Emo’s). As festival veterans and Austinites, Trail of Dead is in the position to give rookies and tourists advice on where to eat, what to do, and how to survive the orgy. While en route to the Echoplex in Los Angeles, Jason Reece took a few minutes to discuss which bands he plans to decapitate and the charm of a gun-crazed, pig-blood-covered, PCP-fueled last stand at SXSW.

I heard y’all were in an accident. Is everyone okay? Yeah, everyone is okay. We were stopped on the road in Wyoming, and there’s ice and snow everywhere. The truck behind us didn’t stop in time, and it slid and ran into our trailer and knocked it into the engine of the bus. It screwed the bus up. Nobody got hurt, but it was really annoying because we had to sit there at the truck stop and hang out with all these rednecks.

What are you planning on doing at SXSW? Probably waging war on other bands. Burning the place down. You know, normal stuff. I guess I’ll just decapitate every shitty band that I see.

Will there be a lot of them? I would say that there are a lot of really good bands, but there’s also a lot of horrible crap that comes with the festival. Everyone is trying to make it and whatever. It’s just an oversaturation of bands. The world doesn’t need another band. There’s too much noise pollution. But the cool thing about SXSW is that it’s great to have that sort of party, festive atmosphere.

Are you happy to be home? I get to sleep in my bed, but it’s still going to feel like we’re on tour. Our schedule is going to be crazy. There’s a bunch of shows, parties. The only way to deal with it is to buy a bunch of fucking guns and drugs and hole yourself up in a hotel and get high on PCP and crack.

Pretend you’re a tourist guide. Where should I eat? Where should I hang out? Go to Ruby’s BBQ. The meat is organic, and there aren’t any steroids and chemicals. The cows are free-range cows, and there’s more care involved. The BBQ sauce is incredible. I would get brisket there, the pickles and onions on the side. You’ve got your sauce and your bread. It’s very simple. For Mexican, I really like Vivo on Manor Road. The food is solid there. It’s kind of upscale, but still reasonable, and the salsa is incredible. I go to Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar too. I like the barbacoa there.

Where do you go on your down time? I go to my bar — Beauty Bar. I own it. It’s a place for local bands to get their start. It’s cheap, we don’t really charge cover, and the DJs are pretty amazing. I like to see shows at Emo’s too.

Is that your favorite venue in town? We got our start there, and we know a lot of people that work there. It’s been our home. It’s a shithole. There are no frills about it, but it’s got character. I’ve seen a lot of amazing shows there.

Give me some tips on surviving SXSW. You should only drink hard liquor like whiskey — Powers or Jameson. You should not drink water at all. Don’t get any sleep. Stay up every day, all day, all night. Take off all your clothes, cover yourself in pig’s blood, and talk to yourself like a raving lunatic. Do this and you will go far.

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