an open letter from efrim.
godspeed you black emperor!
we made a mistake,
we did an interview with a liar,
and now this whole explosion of righteous opinion, like the cat's out
of the bag= godspeed's not a band of earnest
monk-like politicos making music, we're actually self-righteous
ideologues, latent fascists, loudmouths, assholes...
we never claimed we were anything we weren't,
never promoted ourselves as an answer to anything,
did our best always to be straight about our own lostness and
confusion in the face of this whole ridiculous industry
which does not bend or compromise, but swallows, appropriates, destroys...
easier to dismiss us as hypocrites than to actually engage us in a
debate or a conversation... hell, we like talking, we
LOVE talking; problem is that most interviews don't involve any
talking at all, more like some sort of standardized
test, fill in the blanks, blahblahblah...
anyone wants to punch holes in our politics, go ahead; you wanna say
that we don't properly address the paradox of
a "political" band making money off of compulsive shoppers or victims
of fetish capitalism- guess what, YOU'RE
RIGHT! we haven't properly addressed that paradox at all, and we know
it and we kinda know why too- if you want
to talk to us about that, then go ahead, give us a call, we'd love to
talk about it (as long as you can hold up your end
of the conversation, as long as you're willing to talk to us about
you're own failings, confusions, or epiphanies in the
face of this cruel cruel world...)
mostly the reaction to this silly little interview has been way more
disheartening and angering than the interview
itself... all these half-assed opinions and reactions, all
highlighting the same old tired chestnut, that politics get in
the way of music, that any band with any sort of political awareness,
however fuzzy, is either completely naive and
clueless or completely full of shit...
we've done our best to articulate ourselves plainly, honestly and
politely, we've never lectured or insisted that
everyone should believe the same things that we do; instead we've
pleaded and pleaded and pleaded, we've thrown
these records into the ocean like so many hopeless transmissions,
praying and hoping that some people would get
the point, the simple simple simple point; that the world we live in
is lost, violent, and obscene, that the relations we
have with each other and ourselves are mostly alienated, that
together we need to begin figuring out how to fix
ourselves, our communities, our world... hardly groundbreaking stuff,
hey? but still, you start talking like that to
most rock journalists and they don't know how to respond... and when
you start criticizing the way that most bands,
record labels, rock venues, rock magazines function than not only are
you naive, but you're also arrogant,
hypocritical and WRONG...
which brings us to radiohead;
we don't know radiohead,
we've never met them or communicated with them in any way,
some people in godspeed like their music others don't...
the fact remains, radiohead are owned, part and parcel, by a gigantic
multinational corporation, and their critique of
global corporatism is tainted by that one harsh reality..
we're interested in debate,
we're interested in CONVERSATIONS,
but instead of anyone actually talking about the merits or
shortcomings of our argument, what you get is a whole
lot of feigned shock and indignation, like somehow criticizing
radiohead is symptomatic of our own arrogance or
it's all so silly, it just makes you tired and sleepy even thinking about it...
maybe from now on we keep our mouths shut some more, yeah?
leave the talking to the talkers,
keep our heads down and lips buttoned, yeah?
for the record,
when we did the interview with the guy from OOR,
we were mostly very polite...
we didn't insist that the microphone be hidden in a napkin holder...(???)
when i said "we are a collective and we speak as a collective and we
will not answer these types of questions.", i was
making a joke about people's conception of us... it was clear to the
interviewer that i was joking, but he chose to
present it as an earnest statement...
we didn't order a non-vegetarian dish...
we aren't "a canadian post-rock squatter's collective"...
and i'm not "without a doubt the leader of the group"...
to the guy who did the interview,
when the interview was done, you were so nervous that your hands were
shaking like a little boy's hands and you
wouldn't look us in the eye... you gave me a small box of chocolates
with those trembling hands and you said
something like "i hope you don't think these are too corporate.."
for three days after that i was stricken with
irrational guilt about your nervousness, i felt bad that we had
flustered you so much, and i was upset that we were
unable to find a way to communicate anything of value to you... you
struck me as a lost, weak, lonely man and i felt
a fair amount of misguided empathy towards you... i now regret
feeling anything at all, and i wish you nothing but
continued misery, loneliness and despair...
this message is only my own opinion,
i don't, and i will not, speak for the other eight members of godspeed...
p.s. anyone who wants to talk some more about this stuff should feel
free to e-mail me
(firstname.lastname@example.org). i'm on tour with a silver mt. zion
right now but i will do my best to respond as
quickly as i can...
february 3, 2001
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