Rock musician/do-gooder/actor Bob Geldof has been announced as the keynote speaker for the 25th SXSW Music Conference. Appropriately, the Irishman will give his keynote speech on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. From the announcement:
Geldof began his life in music writing for Canada’s premier underground newspaper The Georgia Straight and the British New Musical Express and Melody Maker. Tiring of what music had become he began his own band the legendary Boomtown Rats, whose first record appeared alongside other classics on their first outing including The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, The Damned etc.
With their contemporaries the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Elvis Costello, etc, The Rats set about re-defining what pop music was and scored the first New Wave and Irish rock number one in the UK charts and subsequently around the world through such timeless classics as “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Geldof always used music as he says “to talk about things. To articulate change and its desirability.”
In the 80’s sickened by the sights of the great African famine of 1984-6 he gathered the greatest artists of the rock era on two record shattering singles “Do They Know its Christmas” which he co-wrote with Midge Ure of Ultravox and which today remains one of the biggest selling records of all time and was the driving inspiration behind USA For Africa’s “We Are the World”. He joined all these together six months later in the greatest global concert ever seen in Live Aid – as era defining and iconic in the rock cannon as Woodstock was for its time.
For the next 20 years moving from what he called “charity to justice” he lobbied world leaders on behalf of the poor and persuaded Bono his younger pal from Dublin to eventually join him when they co-founded the ONE campaign.
He will also perform at the SXSW Music Festival, as he preps an upcoming studio album for release.