In the early Two-Thousands, there was a curious pattern that began to emerge in the rap music industry and it was one that nobody else seemed to be taking notice of. The formula consisted of one “artist” releasing two seemingly paradoxical singles back-to-back. The first would generally be all about cheating/infidelity (aka: creepin’) and the follow-up would be focused around their un-relenting respect and appreciation for a significant other, complete with implications of monogamy, or vice-versa. The latest single by Bonnie “Prince” Billy, “There Is No God“, is backed with the equally contradictory title, “God is Love“. According to mathematical definition, if God = Love and There Is No God, then, based on the property of Transitive Relation, there is no love… I think. Right? Well, whatever the case, there is definitely still a solid amount of compassion involved with this project. All profits from the sale of the single will be donated directly to charity. Read the rest of this entry →
Right off the bat, I’m going to openly and officially claim the proceeding interview as a “success“. I’m sure that you will all draw your own conclusions and, most likely, many of them will be different than mine. Many of you will even leave your own comments contradicting my assessment. I probably didn’t ask the “right” questions as you “would have” and I may not have even gotten the answers that you would have wanted to hear but, if this was a Myspace page, I would be posting a goofy ass little emoticon with some bullshit smiley face next to this article that read “Mood: accomplished“. To me it is successful. This interview almost didn’t happen or, more accurately, it ALMOST did happen more times than I could count.
When David Berman formed the group Silver Jews 20 years ago, he did so with cohorts like Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. The production of the early EPs and recordings were extremely low-fi, with the use of such unorthadox recording equipment as a walkmen and answering machines. By the time the full-lenghth Starlite Walker (1994 Drag City) was released, Malkmus and Nastanovich had already made a name for them selves in the band Pavement and the Silver Jews were wrongly classified by many as a Pavement side-project. Regardless of the facts that the two bands were very separate entities and that Berman was the primary driving force behind the group, David lived with that tag stapled to his forehead for the better part of the following decade. Although Malkmus was again featured on the 1998 release, American Water, “The Joos” were comprised of a revolving door of musicians over their 20 year stint. Throughout that time, Berman overcame struggles with crack addiction and even a suicide attempt. Eventually, he would even make a conversion to Judaism. In many ways, these became just more incidents that overshadowed the work of the prolific songwriter and poet. Read the rest of this entry →
Some of you may have noticed the announcement in our “coming soon ” section that I would be posting an interview with Silver Jews frontman David Berman. Some of you may have even been eagerly awaiting to read it. Berman prefers to stick exclusively to email interviews because he feels that they give him more time to answer any questions in depth and prevent him from repeating himself. I met with Berman in October after an amazing performance in Seattle and spoke with him about how I had been in contact with Drag City records and would be sending him my questions via email. He expressed interest and told me that he loves to receive interview questions while touring because it is one of his only creative outlets while on the road. Berman is one of my favorite songwriters and I put a lot of care and thought into my interview before sending it out to the contact from Drag City. From there, I waited.
I never got my interview questions back but I’ve received a lot of emails responses that simply state that they, “Haven’t heard back from David, yet“ I was concerned that my questions were too intense and that I had been too personal with the angle that I had taken so I sent the following email,
“I was wondering if there has been any headway as far as the David Berman interview questions that I sent out a while back. I’m beginning to worry that my questions have offended him in some way, or that there is an issue with the interview.
Please let me know if you have any information because I was raised by a Jewish mother and I am neurotic.
I got the following response,
“I don’t believe it has anything to do with you. David has been EXTREMELY slow to respond since he’s gotten back from tour. He’s not responded to others as well. I think he is taking a mental break, but I will continue to follow up. ”
That was on October 30th, 2008. David and Silver Jews have a show scheduled for the 31st in which they will be performing in a cave in Tennessee. I felt that it would still be a great time to post the interview and that I should try and follow up with the status at least one more time. To my surprise, before sending my email, I found out that Berman officially dissolved the group today via a message in the Silver Jews forum section of Dragcity.com. He further posted an extremely personal message to his fans about his personal life and his father. I will continue to try and contact David, hopefully with better results. I know that some of my questioning referred to the future status of the group. I guess that we all know the answer to that question now. It is clear that he has been busy with introspection and Drag City is still an amazing label. They have been extremely accommodating and helpful in other ways and continue to represent many other terrific groups. This is clearly a turning point is Berman’s life and, whether the interview ever gets posted or otherwise, I wish him and his wife/bassist, Cassie, the best possible success in their lives and their future endeavors. We also thank him for the tremendous contributions that he has provided to the world of music, literature, and as an individual as a whole. Simply based on the brief interraction that I have with Berman, he was very generous with his time and energy.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Dec. 6th @ Neumos
Do you like Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks?
Will you be in Seattle on December 6th?
Do you want to see Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks in Seattle on December 6th?
All right then, here’s the deal…
MonsterFresh.com, in cooperation with the Seattle Theatre Group, is giving away 2 Free tickets to the show and it’s pretty damn easy to enter. Read the rest of this entry →