Musicians Off the Record: Andy Langer

Andy Langer is one of the most recognizable and respected media personalities in Texas music. From his base in Austin, Langer works as a triple-threat in print, radio and television where his commentary defines music issues and events. Through his KROX radio segment, “The Next Big Thing,” News 8 profiles and ubiquitous journalistic pieces, Langer makes the goings-on of the music scene intelligible to the masses and displays an uncanny knack for getting to the heart of a story.

While still an undergraduate at the University of Texas, he made his break into the industry as a campus newspaper reporter. “I knew that I wanted to write and I knew that I wanted to write in newspapers. I did that in high school and I chose a college where I knew I could do that. At (UT), you can start immediately at the Daily Texan before you’ve taken your first class. The thing about the Texan is that people learn more there than in any of their jobs or classes. The Texan was incredibly valuable and still is.”

Langer eventually moved into the mainstream media via an association with the first lady of Texas music journalism, Margaret Moser, who introduced him to the pages of the Austin Chronicle.  From that first stint, Langer’s developed an excellent reputation with artists, managers and publicists and over the last fifteen years his byline has appeared in publications ranging from Esquire magazine (where he is music columnist/contributing editor) to Revolver to the Dallas Morning News.

“The key to doing the job right, of writing, whether it’s criticism or features, is to be the guy that’s out seven nights a week. Because, A, that’s how you meet people and B, it’s how--no matter what your opinion is--people take it at least at face value, if not seriously, because they know it’s an informed opinion from being out seven nights a week.”

From his perspective, Langer’s commitment to substantive and fair news reporting mirrors the musical integrity of the artists he covers.  He is particularly impressed by the social awareness of Texas musicians in times of need, such as those who came together for a Tsunami relief fund concert with Willie Nelson, all planned within three days. “I don’t know that it has to do with politics, but there are events that happen that could only happen in Austin.”