Bon Iver Declines Grammy Performance, Collaborates With Alicia Keys

Tom Breihan | February 3, 2012 - 2:14 pm

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.]