Can we talk about wizened punk Neil Young? He may not be as erudite as Robert Plant, last year's big-name speaker, but Neil has little use for ten-dollar adjectives and cultural context. Here are some of the salient points from his keynote address -- actually a conversation with filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who directed the just-released performance film "Heart of Gold," and journalist Jaan Uhelszki.
1. Don't ever try to remake your great album. Going backwards is death.
2. The longer you can go on giving people what they don't like, the better. The palatable albums seem more special when everyone hated the last three.
3.He was surprised when his oddball musical theater road show "Greendale" was criticized for looking like an amateur high school production. That's exactly the look he was going for.
4. Stay scared. It's artistically rewarding and good for the soul.
5. Check out Superwolf, Will Oldham and Matt Sweeney's new project. According to Neil they make devastating metal-folk.
Demme talked about manifest destiny and taking bong hits in Malibu, and plugged two bands he digs: Bravo Silva and the M's.
Best Cover Song at SXSW So Far: the Flaming Lips, in an unannounced appearance in a little tent, opening their set with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Most Fortuitous Placement for a Boston Act So Far: our own Mr. Lif, who scored a spot on a bill with Blackalicious, Spoon, and Echo & the Bunnymen.
Most Ingenious Branding Concept: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys tells me the band is going to open a restaurant chain to compete with Hooters. It's called Nuts, he says, and men in Speedos will serve jello shots on their six-pack abs. He doesn't even crack a smile.
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.