Conor Oberst Opens Up About Rape Allegations + More
Conor Oberst visited Marc Maron’s WTF podcast today (Feb. 16), and talked with the host about the beginnings of Bright Eyes and his reunion with the Desaparecidos. He even performed “Common Knowledge” from his most recent solo album, Upside Down Mountain. The Omaha-born singer-songwriter also discussed the rape allegations posted anonymously by a North Carolina woman last year, who has since recanted her statements.
During their conversation, Oberst recalled the early stages of his career, which began when he was only 14. When asked which musicians inspired him, Oberst cited local Omaha musician, Simon Joyner, who then turned him on to Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and John Prine.
Oberst also said the many Bob Dylan comparisons he's received throughout his career are “music journalist shorthand" for "they have a lot of words in their songs.”
He also commented on the recent trend of over-producing songs to disguise lyrics.
“Most of the time now I think it’s because people are insecure about their lyrics,” he said. “Whatever modern, bloggy f---in’ music that’s annoying to me sometimes, where there’s just so much reverb drenched on the voice; the shoegazey, whatever, but to me, it’s the sign of a self-conscious singer that doesn’t want anyone to have a chance to critique what they’re saying.”
“I’ve always been attracted to songs that you can maybe walk away with and still latch on to the melody, but you can also walk away with ideas,” he added. “Like a Leonard Cohen song or a Paul Simon song.”
When asked about the rape allegations made against him last year, Oberst said the experience was very “surreal” and “painful” (Oberst dropped his lawsuit against his accuser last summer).
"I want to put it in perspective because I think about all the many African-American men who are in prisons right now for crimes they didn't commit, and for actual victims of sexual assault that it has done the greatest disservice to," he said. "They say one out of four women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. That's staggering and f---ing horrible."
You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here.
Oberst’s band, the Desaparecidos, put out Read Music/Speak Spanish more than a decade ago. The band signed with Epitaph Records last month, and will follow up with a sophomore album later this year. Currently, the band is on tour in support of the upcoming LP and will make stops at this year’s Coachella and Forecastle festivals.