Talking music biz survival – pandemic style – with The Hickoids’ Jeff Smith

“If one word pops into my head about The Hickoids, it’s resilient.”

We’re halfway into 2020 and it seems like this year is doing its best to test One Man Brand’s Ray Seggern in his assessment of the beloved Austin band led by Jeff Smith. After all, the band was supposed to be traveling far and wide to Alaska in the spring and Spain later in the year to build on a generation of working hard to treat fans the right way.

But with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a stop to all live music, Smith said he’s had to get crafty and resourceful when it comes to both The Hickoids and his label Saustex Records.

“We’re making it up as we go along,” he deadpans. “I have the label and always have something to do. I have not been bored for one second.”

With small independent venues that The Hickoids have called home for years threatened by the ongoing health panic caused by Covid, Smith and his bandmates are doing what they can to help out. A live streamed performance in the early days of the pandemic raised money for the East Austin club The Lost Well. And Smith is helping the National Independent Venue Association in its push to land federal aid to keep small clubs from closing for good.

Smith isn’t bullish on the prospects of a quick return to business as usual for bands or venues either.

“People and bands need to feel safe going out to events again,” he said. “We’re in a situation where patience pays lots of dividends.”