Father John Misty is the nom de soft rock of one Joshua Tillman, a.k.a. J. Tillman, ex-drummer for Fleet Foxes and author of eight largely ignored and invariably joyless solo albums of pious folk rectitude. Those LPs remain a well-kept secret. And then one day in 2010, he blew up his life. Killed off J. Tillman, quit the Fleet Foxes, let his raging id off the short leash it had been kept on since his tormented childhood trapped in a fundamentalist Christian house of pain. Instead of muting his wicked sense of humor and bottomless appetite for the absurd, he turned it up to 11. He changed his stage name to Father John Misty. Threw his guitar and a family-size sack of magic mushrooms into the van, and set the controls for the heart of Babylon. Fear Fun (Sub Pop), Father John Misty’s debut, came out a year ago, and after 12 months of trippin’-balls touring, inclusion on innumerable year-end best-of lists and a lot of swooning word of mouth on social media, the album has become the sleeper hit of the year. Tillman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our recent print cover story on him.
Tillman: The past few years, like a lot of people, I have developed a profound appreciation and affection for the music of someone Allen Ginsberg casually dated for a brief time in 1973. I wonder what kind of boyfriend Allen Ginsberg was. I imagine him being sort of a handful at parties. “First Thought/Best Thought” is typically what I put on around the house, but it’s always changing. I know that these days, here on the internet, claiming to listen to a lot of him is a bit obvious and maybe even pretentious, but what’s being an experimental musician in New York City circa 1973 and casually dating Allen Ginsberg for a brief time if not a bit obvious and maybe even pretentious?
Video after the jump.