Bon Iver @ Bushmills Event 2/2/12

After last year’s Grammys, when Arcade Fire performed dodging Mat Hoffman bike-tricks and then immediately won the Album Of The Year award, the award show has a high standard to live up to when it comes to ridiculous and implausible but kind of awesome indie-rock performances. But even though Bon Iver got nominated for a boatload of Grammys and showed up in a Grammy ad, we won’t get a chance to see Justin Vernon singing “Holocene” from the bottom of Tony Hawk’s halfpipe. As it turns out, Bon Iver isn’t performing at this year’s ceremony.

Talking to Billboard
, Justin Vernon explains that he turned down a performance slot because the conditions weren’t to his liking: “We wanted to play our music, but were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else. And we just felt like it was such a large stage, we’re getting nominated for this record that we made. Me and Brian [Joseph] and a bunch of our fucking friends and we were given accolades for it, and all of a sudden we were being asked to play music that had nothing to do with that. We kind of said ’fuck you’ a little bit and they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don’t think they wanted us to play.”

When asked who the Grammy people wanted him to play with, Vernon responded thus: “Awesome people. People that I would love to play a song with. But you know what? Fuckin’ rock n’ roll should not be decided by people that have that job. Rock n’ roll should be the fucking people with guitars around their backs. And their friends. And their managers.” Justin Vernon: Real rawk warrior!

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone points out that Vernon has been writing songs with someone who knows a few things about the Grammys: Alicia Keys. Vernon tells USA Today, “I have a big idea to do an American songbook of the greatest women singers. There are so many: Casey [Dienel] from White Hinterland, Bonnie Raitt, Alicia.”

[Photo via the Bon Iver-hosted Bushmills "Since Way Back" Event last night in Brooklyn.]

Comments (29)
  1. I like when he said, “Fucking”

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  3. I don’t think he’s a Scumbag, but I read the headline and this is all I could think of:

  4. This guy is a fool, even Radiohead performed at the Grammy’s. So over his “Fuck the Man” nonsense. This is the same guy that licensed a song to Grey’s Anatomy.

  5. we get j.v.: being successful blows…

  6. Additional quote via pfork: Vernon said, “There’s a big misunderstanding– I don’t want to sell music. But if people are going to be selling music, and they want to sell our music without disturbing the medium of what it actually is, we want to fucking do that. I want people to hear the music that we make. I don’t want to do it in any shitty way.”

    How did we go from “using music to sell other commercial products is uncool” to “selling the actual music itself is uncool”?

    Am I misreading the quote above? To me, he seems to be saying that he doesn’t want to sell music as a general principle, but if it’s going to be sold, he’d like some say in the process.

    I really don’t get that.

    • In a day and age where people can download albums, no one needs to defend themselves for trying to make money off their music in other ways like letting companies use their songs in commercials. Justin Vernon is a talented dude, and he can do whatever the fuck he wants. If someone asks him why he let one of his songs be used in a commercial all he needs to say is “b/c they paid me” and if someone asks him why he didn’t want to perform at the grammys all he needs to say is, “I didn’t feel like it”. He shouldn’t owe anyone any more than that. I don’t really know what he is talking about above, but he kind of sounds like an ass.

      Don’t overthink it Justin, you are allowed to not perform if you don’t want to.

    • The point is that he wants to make music. And if people like that music, that’s awesome. But it’s never ABOUT selling the music. And in regards to the article, the point is that JV loves collaborating with people – but it has to be because the two musicians have something drawn them together, not because some corporate exec thinks they should. That being said, I think it may have bene prudent for JV to roll with the punches and make an interesting collaboration out of a dumb situation.

  7. Definitely funny but probably more like this

  8. The Iver doth protest too much

  9. I don’t really think this is all that unreasonable. Justin didn’t reject the opportunity because it tangos with big money (at least not ostensibly, not according to him), he rejected the opportunity because he is not willing to re-appropriated for the purposes of the Grammys. He didn’t like the conditions. Simple decision. Really doesn’t need to be picked apart. At least according to me.

  10. I’m totally fine with him rejecting the Grammys, but the way he says things makes him seem like kind’ve a douche to me. Sorry…

    • Agree. “We kind of said ‘fuck you’” – no, no I’m sure you said nothing remotely resembling “fuck you” to anyone. Which is fine. I’d like you more if you quit trying so hard and were honest about the fact that you politely declined.

  11. Bon Iver killed it on SNL tonight. the Grammy’s made a bad decision and should have let them play “their” music. Way to go SNL, loved it!

  12. He has the right to accept or decline whichever gigs he wants, but I’m definitely over his attitude about it.

    You didn’t want to do what the Grammy people wanted you to do, so you didn’t do it. Cool. Leave it at that, man. We don’t need a lecture on what a total rebel that makes you.

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