Father John Misty Calls Ryan Adams’ ‘1989’ a ‘Grotesque Stunt,’ Taylor Swift’s Tour ‘Disturbing’
Father John Misty is trying very hard to be our mirror. That much was true when he responded to the hubbub surrounding Ryan Adams’ full-album cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 last year with his own covers of Adams’ covers of Swift’s songs in the style of the Velvet Underground. Josh Tillman’s spoof didn’t last long though; not 24 hours after he uploaded his versions, he pulled the songs because Lou Reed came to him in a "dream." Several months later, Tillman has opened up about the whole experience, calling Adams’ covers album “a grotesque stunt” and the subsequent fallout a “comedy of errors.”
“I was taking this dude to task for what I saw as a grotesque stunt and matching it with another grotesque stunt,” Tillman said in the latest print edition of Rolling Stone (via Stereogum). “It ironically became the biggest publicity that I’ve ever received, and that grossed me out. I had to take them down. Which then, of course, made it even bigger. It was such a comedy of errors.”
That hasn’t stopped Tillman from taking digs at Swift, her marketing machine and its monopoly on the teen girl consciousness. After starring in Lana Del Rey’s video for “Freak,” Tillman said his performance was inspired by taking acid at the 1989 pop star’s concert. But that wasn’t tongue-in-cheek at all:
The last time I took a hero’s dose of LSD was at a Taylor Swift concert in Australia. She was playing in Melbourne, and I met a bunch of people from her crew at a bar, and they invited me to the show. I got my tour manager to get me some acid: “This is written in the stars. I’m supposed to go take acid at this Taylor Swift concert…"
Tillman said he was at once completely immersed in the BFF-slumber-party effect of Swift’s massive 1989 world tour and simultaneously recognized a depravity to it all:
I experienced the show like an eight-year-old girl — as much as that’s possible for a 35-year-old man. It was holy. It was psychedelic. She fully impregnated my dilated soul with her ideology. I remember laughing uncontrollably. I remember going outside for a smoke and thinking, “I need to get back in there.”
But there was a disturbing aspect — this insistence on telling girls, “I’m normal, don’t let anyone tell you what you should be.” Meanwhile, there are 60-foot-high images of her on screens. If you wanted to curate an evening with the Grand Leader, this is what you would do. It’s a very, very false normal. And that’s dangerous.