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Loco the SpotDJ Cactus dances with Wayne Coyne

Here’s a clip with Loco dancing with The Flaming Lip’s Wayne Coyne on Thursday’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno-

Loco the SpotDJ Cactus summarizes SXSW

Part 1 - “Something to Say”

When I was approached by SpotDJ to be their representative at South by Southwest, I thought that it must be some sort of joke. Sure I’ve been in a few movies, mostly Westerns, but I’ve never had a speaking role. In fact, I’ve never even moved - that role almost always goes to the tumbleweed.

You can imagine my surprise then when Wednesday I found myself on stage preparing to introduce the first band of the night at Club De Ville in Austin, TX. The spines were standing up on the back of my neck; my throat was seriously parched (a year without water can do that to a guy).

I thought back to the advice my father had given me before I left - imagine everyone in their underwear… in the desert. Remarkably, it worked. I could feel my face subtly change from nauseous green to awesome green. The butterflies disappeared. I was ready to rock.
Much to my surprise, there came a powerful voice echoing from deep within my stem, “Are you READY… for MID… NITE… SNAKE!!??” I held up my limbs in a triumphant pose; the crowd went crazy! I could hardly believe my crooked eyes - I would’ve pinched myself if I weren’t so afraid of getting pricked.

Right on cue the lead guitarist blasted a monster chord; soon I was joining the band, convulsing in a head-banging sway.

The rest of the night, as I introduced band after band, I did my best to just soak it all in - for once, all eyes were on this guy, Loco the SpotDJ Cactus.

Part 2 - “A Music Community”

From now on, I’ll have to divide my life into before SpotDJ and after SpotDJ. There have been so many nights that I’ve spent alone in the desert, wondering to myself, “Is there anyone out there as passionate about music as I am?” Unfortunately, I was too shy and effectively immobile to ever find out on my own.

But then I was thrust into the middle of South by Southwest and everything changed. The badge I wore, the one that proudly said “SpotDJ” on it, was a symbol to anyone who saw it that I was a cactus who knew his music. And Holy Saguaro! Nearly everyone I met was as crazy about music as I am. Indie hipsters, punk rockers, crunchy hippies, old ladies in feather boas - you name it - the people I met basked in the fiery glow of all things music. Making my way down Sixth Street, all I could think to myself was “There’s no way this could get any better.”

Then I saw him - Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips. He was interviewing someone from the crowd. I was green with envy.

But what was this? He was waving in my direction! Was he really looking at me? Could this really be happening?

My loco eyes were not deceiving me. My roots hardly touched the ground as I floated over to where he stood.

“We’re shooting a segment for the Tonight Show. Would you mind being interviewed?”
This was it - I was going where no cactus had gone before. Hell, I was going where no tumbleweed had gone before!

Then it happened. With the cameras rolling, Wayne told the world that I was a pickle. I didn’t want to be a prick about it, but this was more than any cactus could take.

With as much poise as I could muster, I respectfully told him exactly who I was. He chuckled at his egregious mistake. I didn’t think it was so funny - how would he feel if I had called him a Talking Head?!

But this was no time for holding a grudge; as soon as the interview was over, Wayne asked if I would be willing to dance for the show. How did he know that all I ever wanted was to dance?

I tried to loosen my fibers, preparing for my big moment. When the cameras finally began to roll, I thought back to all those nights spent swaying in the desert wind. And then I danced. I danced for every note that I had ever dreamed of dancing. I danced for every cactus who will never get the same opportunity. I danced until I had practically replenished the global oxygen supply. I danced and I danced and I danced.

Part 3 - “Meeting the Bands”

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of people say that green guys can’t dance. Now I’m not going to get into any arguments here, but let’s just say that the Tonight Show wanted me back for a second shoot after they saw those untouchable moves.

Yours truly and the hottest indie bands of SXSW were brought to a secret studio in Austin to record a “slightly” altered version of the “We are the World” music video. The new version was called “We are the Alternative Rock World.” I know - we! Over night, I had gone from just another prickly green guy to the poster cactus of the alternative rock world. I had become a singing and dancing sensation - not since the Chili Peppers had vegetable matter been so hot!

By and large, the artists there were all very approachable and had lots of interesting things to say - in particular, I enjoyed hanging out with Harris Tweed from South Africa and 28 Costumes from Liverpool - I suppose neither of them have many cacti where they come from.
The guys from 28 Costumes and I became especially close over the next days - in fact, if it weren’t for the restrictions on taking produce through customs, I think they would have taken me back with them to England.

By the end of the week, I was more or less a de facto part of the band. They snuck me into shows, took me to bars, and less I forget, featured me in their performances.
The first night, the plan was simple. I was to hang out on stage, entirely motionless for the first five songs of their set. Being a cactus, this was pretty easy. Then on their final song, “Inside Outside,” just as the audience had forgotten that I was still there, I jumped up to the front of the stage and rocked out like the place was on fire. The audience went loco.
The next day, we tried the same routine, only this time the venue manager didn’t know that I was with the band. He tried to move me off stage, but I stay rooted. Then he got his biggest goon to tear me away.

Finishing up a song, the band noticed that I was being ushered out the door - luckily, they weren’t going to let this pass without a fight. Paul, the bassist, started a chant, “Keep-the-Cac-tus! Keep-the-Cac-tus!” Slowly at first, and then increasingly louder, the audience began to chant along. I felt the goon’s grip loosen from my limbs - they were going to let me stay!

Chris, the lead singer shouted “Who wants to see the Cactus dance?” The question was answered with a deafening roar.

The band started, “1, 2, 3, 4!” I nearly danced out of my skin. I danced so hard I became the first cactus to ever break a sweat. Tears of joy ran down my face. I wouldn’t have cared if I had lost a year’s worth of liquid!

All my dreams had come true. I looked out at the crowd, and I thought back to all that had transpired in just a few days time. In that moment, I could not have been more proud of who I had become - Loco the SpotDJ Cactus.

SXSW Update II - Loco on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

The second half of SXSW was even crazier than the first. Loco was a hit on Austin’s Sixth Street - many thanks to Sam, Matthew, and Jess, our awesome Austin-based street team.

SpotDJ Street Team Austin

Loco and the crew attracted attention from all walks of life on Sixth Street - to see photos from the revelry check out SpotDJ at SXSW on Flickr. One of the highlights was an interview with Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips, who was in Austin as a correspondent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Wayne interviewed Loco for the show, and we also participated in a piece for the segment’s finale - be sure to watch Thursday night!

Loco and Wayne Coyne on Sixth Street at SXSW

Loco on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

One of my favorite shows was the band Illinois (who are actually from Pennsylvania). They’re a SpotDJ band, and I saw them perform twice on Friday! Hear Illinois talk about their music here.

SXSW Update I - Loco Wins!

Howdy from Austin, Texas! SXSW is great this year. Candeelion, one of SpotDJ’s first DJ’s, picked me up at the airport late Tuesday night. It was really exciting to meet one of our prolific spotters in person. Thanks Candee!!!

Yesterday was a fun-filled day. The early part of afternoon was a run to 4 tasty bbq joints. Organized by David Katznelson of Birdman Records, the excursion has become somewhat of a SXSW tradition. Here’s the crew in front of the tastiest of the bunch - Davis Grocery and Bar-B-Q.

David BBQ

Next was the IODA showcase, where Loco the SpotDJ Cactus was victorious over the Podcast Pickle in a dance-off competition. Hopefully someone caught it on video, but some of the photos are below.

Dance off

Dance off2

Then last night Loco was busy at the Birdman showcase at Club de Ville, where he introduced bands like The Nice Boys, The Time Flies, Greg Ashley with Brian Glaze, and Apache. Here’s Loco introducing the Time Flys-

Loco with the Time Flys

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