The Austin Indie Alliance was a music-based organization that existed within Austin, Texas for several years before fizzling out around 2008.
As with many great ideas developed by committee, it grew in too many directions and attempted to reconcile several disparate ideas into a unified whole. And as with many great ideas, in the end it failed to maintain it's momentum despite an ongoing string of successes.
To the members, it was our club, one that inspired us and filled us with passion and was something that we fought for fervently. At times, it felt like nothing would stop us from achieving our goals. We inspired similar groups to spring up in other cities. We put on great showcases, the pinnacle of which were our annual spring-break showcases, put on at the same time as the behemoth known as SXSW.
Many of us involved in the AIA walked away with valuable lessons learned and experiences that will never be forgotten. We never asked for money, there were no dues. Members were expected to pay in sweat equity; the whole endeavor was a noble attempt at volunteerism. What little money we made came in from the shows we put on and fueled the next big show. The leadership maintained countless hours working out the details necessary to make the organization run smoothly, with no promise of reward other than the sense of accomplishment when we made great things happen. We put on some awesome showcases, made some great compilation CDs, provided our services to other non-profit organizations and did whatever we could think of just to excel and be awesome.
In the years since the organization fell apart, I kept hoping that someone would take up the torch and inspire others to get things moving again. I couldn't bring myself to take down this site or let its registration lapse; to be banished to the nether realms of spam-littered, expired website holding companies. I kept thinking that maybe someday I'd think of something more pertinent to say here; to offer up a fitting tribute to this little group that valiantly fought against corporatism and homogenization that threatens our musical landscape. But greater words than what you see before you never came. And it's not enough to express my deep and profound feelings about what the Austin Indie Alliance means to me this day but it will have to do.
Maybe someday another similar group will spring up, inspired by what we did, or even blind to us but filled with the same promise that we once had and maybe they can get things right and sustain it past the initial spark so that the flame doesn't sputter out.
Although I've taken the rest of the site down, I do maintain backups and I would only think it fitting to provide in this space a memoriam from other members if there is interest. I hope to keep the website up as long as I can and I've paid out of my own pocket the last few years so that it survives. In lieu of providing financial donations to cover the annual registration/hosting expenses, I would instead suggest that you have a drink with me when you see me and continue to support good, quality, independent music – particularly of the local variety. I know some visitors to the site will not be native to Austin and to those of you that never had the opportunity to get acquainted with this org in it's heyday – you missed out on a hell of a run.
Also in keeping with the spirit of the org, I would suggest that people check out some of the great bands that were a part of this and made it happen. I can only put a small part of them here, many have broken up or disappeared to parts unknown so I am focusing on the projects of those I know were part of the core leadership of the group or that I remember with such fondness that I was sad to see them go. Some of these don't maintain a definitive web presence so my apologies if a Google search turns up nothin'.
First, I have to mention Motionside. Scott Swanson, frontman of Motionside, is whom I consider to be the founder and heart of the AIA. Although the AIA has always been committee driven since it's inception, Scott put things into motion and got it started. As for Motionside, they are a great funk group and put on a killer show.
Then there is Freebleeder – dirty, musty, beer-laden drunk rock and still one of my favorite bands to see live. Their singer, Jon, was president of the AIA during some of its most trying times and is a great friend but a terrible drinking buddy. ;)
There's Bright Shadow – whose bassist, Steve Arthur, has probably sat in at least once with every other band that came through the ranks of the AIA. He's awesome. His band has nothing to do with me, however.
Righteous Brisket contains no less than three bandmembers that were heavily involved in making the AIA work and, true to their name, they make great music for hot, Texas-summer Saturday afternoons with meat cooking on the grill.
Ben Mills, who was probably one of the hardest working members of the AIA during its course and still is a superb drummer, has several projects going, none of which existed during his time in the AIA. But two of his current projects are his bands Waiting For August and Static Kill. He is also heavily involved in a local Austin promotions company aptly named Rock Show Promotions.
There's also several other great bands out there, surviving in the indie frontier: The Nematoads, She Craves, Full Service, Trash Rockets, to name a few.
And for the bands that no longer exist or are on indefinite hiatus, let's spill a drop for: Halix, Stealing Silence, Phoenix Saga, Bent Eye Bolt, Jasmine Reign and the others.
Last, but definitely not least, there is my own band, Spitting Angels. We're certainly not everyone's cup of tea but we are awesome in our own happy-go-lucky yet nihilistic fashion.
Certainly there were many other great groups and individuals that came and went within the AIA and my omission of any particular names isn't intended as a slight against those not mentioned by name here. I simply listed those bands and people that I know made a lasting impression on me.
If you were personally involved in the AIA at any point and would like to share your experiences, get in touch with me via Facebook, my band's website or even Twitter (@shadowzen). If I get more than a few, I'll work on getting them posted here as time permits. Additionally, correspondence can be made using this Sitemailer.
If anyone formerly involved with the AIA wants to take up the torch as curator and assume responsibility for this website – maybe turn it into a fitting tribute for our little org – get ahold of me via the same channels and we'll discuss. Until Spitting Angels blows up and becomes the next Beatles/Nirvana/Foo Fighters, I can probably handle keeping this site alive but not indefinitely.
Anthony "Shadow" Elmore
Former Technology Officer
Austin Indie Alliance
"Our little group has always been, And always will until the end"
— Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit