In rapturous news just hand-delivered to my caravan, Father John Misty has accepted our invitation to play at Sunset, in The Sup’, for The 25th Meredith. Yes! The High Priest himself. This wildly exciting development needs no further explanation.
However I have seen fit to add about two thousand more words about it.
The Ticket Ballot is open – to enter go to www.mmf.com.au
…When you’re smiling and astride me I can hardly believe I’ve found you and I’m terrified by that
I’ve got nothing to hide from you Kissing my brother in my dreams or finding God knows in my jeans You see me as I am, it’s true Aimless, fake drifter, and the horny man child mama’s boy to boot That’s how you live free
Truly see and be seen
There will be a convergence of forces when Father John Misty takes the stage at The 25th Meredith around Sunset on Saturday Night, and I’m going to momentarily resist adjectives: There’s the man himself, there’s his music, and his band. Then there’s his popularity, and there will be anticipation, and excitement. And there’s Sunset, on the second night, in
the Supernatural Amphitheatre: the sweet spot.
“If anyone knows what to do with a sweet spot, it’s Father John Misty”.
Expectation, convention be damned. Father John Misty has ascended. He’s not working from a script, there’s no blueprint. His lucid looseness undoes custom’s blouse. He deals in true fun and freedom, flourishing almost perversely from a deep bedrock of brutal raw honesty and enlightened directness. He can also be filthy, and hilarious. His live shows are beyond everything. He’s wilfully out of bounds,
and you’re coming too.
“a rock star wired to a lie detector” “redefining ‘frontman’ ”
You’re bent over the altar
And the neighbors are complaining
That the misanthropes next door are probably conceiving a Daemon… …But everything is fine
Don’t give into despair
Cause I love you honeybear
FJM has been the revelation of recent cultural times. “I Love You, Honeybear” is the album of the year, his songs have become sleeper anthems, his interviews and TV appearances are merely opportunities to do something remarkable, and live performances are an experience beyond the sum of their parts, albeit that those parts are truly special (I’ve spent the morning trying to obsessively accrue them: superb spiritual singer; songwriter for the ages; soulful, hip-shaking no-rules showman, frontman for a cracking band; satirist, social commentator; banter king; romantic poet; novelist, philosopher, perfumer – Innocence, by Misty exists because “I believe very strongly in how young women smell, getting involved is a big cornerstone in our inactive democracy” – teller
of eternal truths, fibber of elaborate lies, film-scorer, chameleon, ideal husband, formerly-aspiring preacherman, and very human being).
Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity
It’s early days, but he’s drifting up into the pantheon of all-timers, and the joy of it is that he’s around, creating and sharing NOW.
Where does Father John Misty start and Joshua Tillman end? Who cares.
Josh Tillman was born May 3, 1981, and grew up in a deeply religious, “culturally oppressive” Evangelical Christian household in Rockville, USA. Until he was about 17, religious music was the only music he heard. His parents eventually permitted some that had a “spiritual theme”, like Bob Dylan, and a light was turned on.
He became a musician, worked odd jobs to fund it, was the drummer for Fleet Foxes and released solo albums under the name J Tillman, which were released by prestigious labels and well received. He was going ok.
But then came an epiphany.
“With the J Tillman touring I realised that I was more entertaining in my two minutes of between-song banter than I was in like five or six minutes of song, but I didn’t regard that banter as really being a moment of creativity, which ultimately it was…a very depressing realisation all of sudden became a very illuminating realisation, which was like ‘here’s where your gifts are, you don’t get to choose what you’re good at, use that’. Once I started doing that it reduced a lot of the dissidents that had previously been part of the creative process for me.”
What followed was a phase of highly imaginative output which supercharged his journey into the hearts and minds of modern lovers all over.
On the first day, he created Father John Misty. In the first song as the new Him he sings:
Fun times in Babylon, momma they’ve just begun, Look out Hollywood, here I come.
It was the word, and the word was good. Ha!
He’s been on a wildly entertaining trip ever since, intrepidly chronicling his encounters with modern life’s small moments and big questions.
How many people rise and think
Oh good the stranger’s body’s still here
Our arrangement hasn’t changed
Now I’ve got a lifetime to consider all the ways
I grow more disappointing to you as my beauty warps and fades I suspect you feel the same
He can really sing, he can be hilarious, there’s rollicking good times in his shows, and the myth and mystique of the man are magnetic, but for me his ultimate gifts are his love songs.
This one completely kills me. It’s about (I think) absurd fickle chance, the tiny tenuous link that turns nothing into everything, and the nebulous dimensions of that diabolical deal:
We met in a parking lot
I was buying coffee and cigarettes
Firewood and bad wine long since gone
But I’m still drunk and hot, wide awake, breathing hard Now, in just one year’s time
I’ve become jealous, rail-thin
Prone to paranoia when I’m stoned
If this isn’t true love, someone oughta put me in a home Say, do you wanna get married
And put an end to our endless progressive tendency to scorn Provincial concepts like your dowry and your daddy’s farm?
For love to find us of all people I never thought it’d be so simple
Let’s buy a plantation house and let the yard grow wild until we don’t need the signs that say, “Keep out”
I’ve got some money left and it’s cheaper in the South
I need someone I can trust to protect me from our seven daughters when my body says, “Enough!”
Don’t let me die in a hospital, I’ll save the big one for the last time we make love
Insert here a sentiment re: our golden years All cause I went to the store one day “Seen you around, what’s your name?”
“I Love You, Honeybear is a concept album about a guy named Josh Tillman who spends quite a bit of time banging his head against walls, cultivating weak ties with strangers and generally avoiding intimacy at all costs.
In a parking lot somewhere he meets Emma, who inspires in him a vision of a life wherein being truly seen is not synonymous with shame, but possibly true liberation and sublime, unfettered creativity.
The album progresses, sometimes chronologically, sometimes not, between two polarities: the first of which is the belief that the best love can be is finding someone who is miserable in the same way you are and the end point being that love isn’t for anyone who isn’t interested in finding a companion to undertake total transformation with. I won’t give away the ending, but sex, violence, profanity and excavations of the male psyche abound.
My ambition, aside from making an indulgent, soulful, and epic sound worthy of the subject matter, was to address the sensuality of fear, the terrifying force of love, the unutterable pleasures of true intimacy, and the destruction of emotional and intellectual prisons in my own voice.
The massive, deranged shmaltz I heard in my head, and knew had to be the sound of this record, originated a few years ago while Emma and I were hallucinating in Joshua Tree; the same week I wrote the title track. I chased that sound for the entire year and half we were recording. The means by which it was achieved bore a striking resemblance to the travails, abandon and transformation of learning how to love and be loved; see and be seen. There: I said it. Blammo.”
“Who knows what he’s up to, but God it’s good”
Father John Misty improves my life.
Sunset, Saturday, at the Silver Jubilee Meredith. Mass.