Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Get To Know Father John Misty, Whoever He Is

Posted By on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 7:12 AM

  • Press Photo

Josh Tillman's somewhere in Lawrence, Kansas, explaining to me over the phone how Jesus, God and Satan are just symbols. "But they're not symbols for me," he says, emphasizing for me. "They're symbols for mankind, and as such, I can make them do and say whatever I want. I can take these huge, heavy, cumbersome concepts and throw them around just for fun. It's like juggling elephants -- it's such a morbid thrill!"

"That's great," I think to myself, distracted for a second by trying to imagine a man juggling elephants. But all I really wanna know is...who the fuck is Father John Misty?

He's the product of Tillman's identity crisis. After making seven albums of gently plucked acoustic guitar music with hushed, depressed, tortured vocals, Tillman got sick of his own creative persona. But he still liked his other self -- this other Tillman had a dark, twisted, fantastic sense of humor and a playful confidence. These qualities, for some reason, never made their way into the music. That had to change.

After touring his last album, Singing Ax (2010), Tillman set a new goal: to align these two disparate creatures, his real self and his creative self. So, like any person stuck in a similar crux might do, Tillman hopped in his van with a bunch of mushrooms, hit the road, wrote a novel and ended up in Los Angeles. Once the dust settled, he made an album. Out last April on Sub Pop, Fear Fun is the first record released under the name Father John Misty.

Unlike J. Tillman (the depressive folk singer), Father John Misty's a badass. The world's ending, and all Misty can think about is abusing his lungs by smoking everything in sight with every girl he's ever loved and riding around the wreckage on a horse knee-deep in mud. When he drinks way too much, he expects to be punched in the face. He tries to wake up corpses just so they'll party with him. Aubrey Plaza tries to make out with him. He takes ayahuasca and convinces himself he's the first person to ever write a novel. He meets Neil Young and forgets his name. He drinks poppy tea with Heidegger and Sartre. Many women want to hold his gun -- he lets them.

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation