Austin has always been a special place for music. Of course, secrets can’t stay secrets forever, and Austin’s is definitely out (thanks tourism board). With that comes all the big players, each of whom want a piece of the Austin pie. And in taking a share, they each take away a small piece of what made Austin, Austin in the first place.
That’s why Austin now needs defenders. People who will stand up for up and coming artists, locally owned venues, and keeping the city weird. That’s where guys like Austin native Anthony Stevenson comes in.
Anthony Stevenson is the owner of Come and Take It Productions, who balances bringing national attention and tours to the central Texas area with using those opportunities to promote up-and-coming local talent on the same bills. In addition to booking around the area, they also operate Come and Take It Live, their own venue in South Austin (in the former Grizzly Hall), and putting on the Texas Revolution Festival and the Texas Independence Festival.
I got a chance to speak with Anthony about his mission, his love for the Austin area, and his goals for the future.
What was your first job in the music industry? How did that lead you to what you do today?
I started as a small-time promoter here in Austin, and got my start by booking local/regional shows at venues like Red 7, Encore, and then the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street. I was playing in a local band at the time, and it was difficult to get our foot in the door with other promoters. I basically tried to create my own door.
How did you come up with the name “Come and Take It”?
I LOOOVE Texas and Texas history, and with the music industry being as cut-throat as it is I figured Come and Take It Productions was an appropriate fit. The big fish (i.e. national talent buyers) are always trying to cut out us little guys. I’m standing my ground by supporting our local scene, as well as the abundance of talented artists we have throughout our great state.
I’ve heard that you are fighting to bring more exposure to homegrown Austin artists. What ways do you use to accomplish that?
I feel that the bigger production companies and talent buyers don’t give our local and regional artists much of a chance. The national touring bands had to start somewhere, so how are we supposed to fuel the future of our industry without giving the up-and-coming artists the exposure they deserve?
I try to add at least one local or regional band to each of my road shows. This is with the goal to help them build their fan base and develop their resumes. I firmly believe that the promoters, venues, national artists, and local artists are all facets to the same diamond. We all need each other in order for the industry to thrive.
Especially with the metal scene?
Everything previously mentioned goes especially for the metal scene. Metal doesn’t get the recognition that other commercial genres do, so I feel like we need to work even harder to keep its head above the surface.
When somebody visits Come and Take It Live, what do you hope they come out of the venue thinking?
I want them to think to themselves, “Man, that was a lot of fun. The bands were awesome, the production is solid, and the staff is amazing. More importantly, I now have an experience and memory that I can take and share for years to come.”
What are your favorite Austin late night spots (for anything, food, music, tattoos, etc.)?
Food: Austin has way too many amazing restaurants to offer! Anything with real BBQ, pizza, gourmet burgers, legit tacos, and/or ramen.
Tattoos: Andrew Matela at Art Realm Tattoo all the way! He is a true artist with passion and attention to detail like no other. Check him out!
Music: Other than my own venue (What can I say? I’m biased…), the Hole In the Wall on the drag will always be one of my favorites. It’s such an awesome spot.
I’ve heard that Sixth Street is an interesting place in Austin. What would you say your craziest experience there has been?
Oh wow. Well, I’ve probably had too many crazy experiences on 6th Street that I can’t mention here. One of the most recent involved lots of whiskey, a two-seater bicycle, and a basket full of fireworks…
How has the Austin music scene and Austin nightlife changed in the last 10 years?
Venues have come and gone, laws/regulations have changed a bit, and too many folks have purchased condos downtown and now complain about the volume of the live music throughout the week. I mean, why move to Austin knowing that we’re the “Live Music Capital of the World” and then cry about it?
Where do you hope to see the Austin music scene in the next 10 years? How do you hope for Come and Take It to be a part of that?
Onward and upward! I hope that we can all come together as venues, artists and fans to keep our city’s scene strong!
Lastly, and it’s not really a question, but congrats on your engagement and upcoming marriage!
Thank you so much!!!
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