Speaker Connections: Liberty Lunch Alumni

Written by Rory Burbeck | December 9, 2013

This is Speaker Connections - a weekly themed post that will introduce you to some of our SXSW 2014 Music Speakers as we approach the event in March. This week’s theme: SXSW Music Speakers who are (or were) in bands that performed at the legendary Austin music venue, Liberty Lunch.

If you were part of the Austin music scene in the 1980s and 1990s, whether as a musician or a music fan, then you know about Liberty Lunch. The club, which opened as a live music venue in 1976, was considered a landmark to Austin’s live music fans - Liberty Lunch was voted the “Best Place to Hear Live Music” multiple years in a row in the Austin Chronicle’s Reader’s Poll ballots. The venue closed in 1999.

John Stohm is back as a speaker for SXSW 2014

JOHN STROHM
SXSW 2014 Panel: It Takes Money To Make Money: Alternative Funding

John Strohm is one of two speakers highlighted in today’s post that played Liberty Lunch with two different bands. The guitarist and singer co-founded indie rock band Blake Babies in 1986 and he’s also had two stints as drummer for The Lemonheads. Strohm is currently working as Senior Counsel in the music industry practice of Loeb & Loeb LLP, a law-firm based in Nashville. See him discuss ways for artists and labels to find alternative sources of revenue at SXSW 2014.

SXSW 2014 Music Speaker Mac McCaughan

MAC MCCAUGHAN
SXSW 2014 Panel: New Punk Strategies: Your Values = Your Biz

Mac McCaughan is the singer and guitarist of indie band Superchunk. The band formed in 1989, played Liberty Lunch in 1994, and made it to SXSW in 2006. McCaughan is also co-founder of successful indie label Merge Records. He’s been a SXSW Music Speaker before and you can see him again in March discussing the need for new business strategies for artists.

SXSW 2014 Music Speaker David Lowery

DAVID LOWERY
SXSW 2014 Panels: New Adventures in Copyright Enforcement & Love the Art, Fuck the Artist: The re-emerging artist rights movement?

David Lowery is another SXSW 2014 Music Speaker who played Liberty Lunch with two different bands - with Camper Van Beethoven in 1985 and with Cracker in the 1990s. The guitarist and singer-songwriter released his first solo album, entitled The Palace Guards, in 2011. In addition to appearing on multiple SXSW panels throughout the years, both of Lowery’s bands have performed at many SXSW Music Festivals. You can see him on two panels at SXSW 2014.

SXSW 2014 Speaker Joe Gittleman

JOE GITTLEMAN
SXSW 2014 Panel: Life Beyond Music: Musical Hobby to Musical Career

You might recognize Joe Gittleman as one of the founding members of Boston-based ska band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who played Liberty Lunch in 1994. Gittleman has worked for Los Angeles indie label Side One Dummy Records and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Business and Industry at Lyndon State College in Vermont. Listen to him talk about what it takes to turn a musical hobby into a career at SXSW 2014.

Keep up with the list of Music Conference Sessions here.

Photo credits:
John Strohm photo by Chris Saucedo
Mac McCaughan photo from the SXSW 2013 Archives
David Lowery photo by Brian Birzer
Joe Gittleman photo by Joelle Andres