Bradford Cox Covers "My Sharona" For An Hour In Concert

All hell broke loose during last night’s Atlas Sound show in Minneapolis when an audience member jokingly yelled “My Sharona,” referencing the Knack’s classic track, and Bradford Cox took him up on his suggestion. From the video description:

A drunk heckler jokingly shouted “MY SHARONA!” at the Cedar Cultural Center. Bradford responded, “Fuck you. You want to do this motherfucker?” and proceeded to go on a nearly hour-long epic jam/cover of it out of spite.

But, it was clear Bradford was channeling some weird vibes even before that could happen. From Minneapolis’s City Pages scribe Sally Hedberg:

To be fair, things felt a little awkward the moment he initially stepped onstage, his face utterly concealed by a menacing, black, ski mask. But, as he purposefully prepared an intricate guitar-looping framework and launched into “Parallax,” all was temporarily forgotten.

Didn’t last long.

But then, per request of an obnoxious audience member to hear “My Sharona,” things got strange. The transition was stark and instant, as if Cox suddenly felt mocked or distrusting of the audience he had gradually opened dialogue with throughout the course of the night. He obliged to play the song, which at first was generally entertaining. He employed his looping skills again, picking up different instruments along the way and inviting the openers to join him onstage. But it morphed into something bizarre, a unending cover that rivaled the length of a Phish concert and let’s get real: “My Sharona” isn’t exactly a “jam track.”

It was interesting to observe the reactions of the openers. Initially the vibes were positive. The musicians, all fairly young, were clearly honored to be sharing a moment of spontaneity with someone they idolized. 35 minutes later that enthusiasm began to fade. They were visibly uncomfortable and beginning to question the sanity of their esteemed proctor, unwillingly locked in some twisted, Doomsday clock performance of a ’70s hit. Yet, “My Sharona” endured still, as did Cox’s increasingly awkward interactions with the audience. He asked people to take their clothes off. He shouted seemingly intoxicated defenses about his art. He simulated fallatio. He, to the horror of the Cedar employees, told everyone to pick up their chairs and shake them above their heads. While this behavior in another context could have been viewed as “rock’n'roll” it was unsettling and some people began filtering out of the venue. Eventually, after inviting the audience onstage (which visibly gave the Cedar staff an anxiety attack) he seemed to get the picture that the show was over and bid his adieu, dedicating the show to “the death of folk music and the birth of punk.”

(via City Pages)

Watch some footage from this bender below. The photo up top is courtesy of City Pages.

Be thankful nobody yelled “Free Bird.”

Comments (78)
  1. He should have yelled out for “Friday”

  2. Legendary, this will be the greatest musical moment of 2012!

  3. This is actually pretty funny, because he told us this story the next night in Chicago, and I didn’t think he was being completely serious. Though he made a good point, explaining that this came after his initial set, and at that point he’d “punched the clock”, and whatever he did from then on was up to him. He said it jokingly, though, not really in a “fuck you” sort of way. Though I would say we were fortunate that he did not do the same in Chicago.

    Quite frankly, some of the really extended versions of different songs can get pretty close to irritating, though he did a pretty good job of consistently switching gears before that point, unlike, for example, Anton Newcombe circa 2006. I mean, Te Amo is probably my favorite song from that album, but 20 minutes of it is pushing it. Here’s the Consequence of Sound review, which covered the Chicago show.

    • Really? He said this malarkey didn’t start until after his initial set? He played maybe 6 songs all night.

      I don’t get how people can get excited about a guy looping an “ironic” riff and then yelling whatever comes to his mind for an hour. Big waste of time.

      • Well, he only played eight songs in the first hour of his Chicago set. But it was still an hour, which is pretty much the norm for a sub 500 person venue.

        • That’s true. The whole thing just left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. Hearing that riff for an hour was insanely nauseating. I wanted Lightworks darndit!

          • When looking at the Chicago set list (assuming it would have been the same) we only missed 3 songs in Minneapolis: Angel is Broken and Terra Incognita/Attic Lights as the encore. I think the Sharona spectacle was worth it. I really don’t think it was done out of spite, but was something artistic that Bradford decided to do that night. The whole thing really was a bonus and I viewed it as a performance art piece added on to the end of the concert. The whole thing actually seemed pretty positive and most people seemed to be smiling at the end. Think the news stories make it sound more negative than it really was.

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          • @why cant it just be about the music

            Thanks for the psychoanalysis buddy! I guess you were there too? Experienced the entire hour? Or just read the news reports? Maybe I would let someone piss in my ear (probably depends on who it is, and the circumstances), but I’d rather be open to different forms of expression than get bent out of shape when I go to a concert and a “performing artist” performs a completely original piece that will never happen again. I call that art and it was a fantastic Friday night.

          • @Purplerap
            The people smiling at the end were the people that stayed until the end. It looked like nearly half the crowd had left. I see what your saying and maybe Bradford thought it was fun, but it doesn’t take originality or “artsiness” to repeat the same riff (someone else’s riff, mind you) and yell at people for an hour. The Cedar could have had Bradford Cox open for “slightly drunk & severely insane homeless man”. We would have had a very similar show.

          • @Iwalrus
            I can see what you mean. To each his own I suppose. I personally didn’t see that many people leaving (I was seated on on the side opposite the main exits). But I do think it did have artistic quality and originality. I know it was hyperbole, but I don’t think an insane homeless man could have done it, or most musicians for that matter. In the end I felt Bradford actually did a pretty good job of getting crazy, but also controlling the crowd. Nothing got broken, no one got hurt. And I left the concert feeling pretty satisfied, and certainly feeling it was the most unique concert I’ve seen.

          • @Purplerap
            I suggest we agree to disagree at this point. I’m glad you left satisfied. I left feeling like I was either going to pass out or loose my lunch. For real.

            I was sitting just in front of the main exit bytheway.

    • I read that he made the heckler come on stage and then proceeded to tell him to strip to his underwear which sounds crazy fucked up.

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        • Ah, interesting point. I am a dim twunt (got me there!).

          But, seriously, I didn’t think he was being spiteful and apparently Bradford didn’t think he was being spiteful either. From the p4k article today: “I’m a good time kind of guy. I’m like Sly from the Family Stone. I’m all about smiling and good times and white teeth. It was a very natural show and the people that didn’t like it can suck my dick.” Obviously some sarcasm there, but the point stands. Your analysis of Bradford, like the one you made of me earlier, is off the mark (your pretty good at those, eh?).

          And, no, I was not the one who requested “My Sharona” (that dude is probably in hiding somewhere in the Northwoods w/o the internet). If I openly admitted on this board a mere three comments ago that I may be open to somebody peeing in my ear, how could you expect that I would be the SAME person afraid to strip to my underwear at a concert?

          In conclusion, I enjoyed my Friday night and certainly will value that experience the rest of my life. No reason to be negative about it. Besides, my friends are totally jealous that I saw it. And that, really, is what concerts are all about.

          • Not for nothing but Sly Stone is notorious for cutting off songs and storming off the stage in the middle or shortly after the beginning of his sets. So being like Sly would kinda mean Bradford Cox meant to ruin the set.

  4. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks “My Sharona” was 56 minutes too short.

  5. What the FAAAAAAAAACK???? Anybody get a chance to listen to his interview on Sirius XMU last year? Craziest thing I ever heard, I think it might be up on youtube if you’re interested. Feels like our generation’s Syd Barret

  6. One of the most uncomfortable things I have ever seen! Well played Mr. Cox…

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  8. I remember seeing Deerhunter a few years back in Glasgow and he was irritated at the low temperature up on stage which resulted in him extending songs to include repeated references to Christmas. Definitely the best Christmas jams I’ve heard in June.

  9. I bet his backing band just loves him.
    But really this isn’t that bad, I, for one, would love to have seen an hour long version of My Sharona.

  10. In Minneapolis we’re used to Mark Mallman, who will play a song for days, so this is actually quite normal.

  11. This > Baron von Bullshit Rides Again “Freebird” rant/joke

    At least in terms of shaming A-holes who ironically call out songs at shows

  12. I think this is really funny and more in line with how I might have responded as a performer, but it also makes me realize what an impossibly nice dude Doug Martsch is. He’s a great guitar player, so predictably, there were always people yelling “FREEBIRD!!” at Built to Spill shows. How did Doug respond? Well, he and the rest of the band actually went to the trouble to learn the song and began playing it whenever there was a rash of these “requests.”

  13. ha awesome, reminds me of metallic ko

  14. Love the guy’s music, but I’ll be sure to steer clear of his shows if he pulls stuff like this on a regular basis.

  15. He had a little meltdown 2 days before this in Vancouver. He claimed he played the worst show of his life there in ’09 and it looked like he was reliving the nightmare. I don’t care how the chatty the audience is, or weather one guy starts heckling, it doesn’t give the performer license to insult the audience and ruin the show for all the other fans that paid to go.
    The ’09 show:
    And last weeks show:
    Bradford Cox is a bit too much of a prima donna rock-star from where I’m standing.

    • doesn’t look like you actually read the article about the vancouver show two nights before minneapolis. apparently “it was most certainly a triumphant return for atlas sound” means “a little meltdown”.

      having seen him three times with deerhunter and twice touring as atlas sound – including earlier this week in cleveland – he’s one of the most engaging performers i’ve ever seen.

      • It WAS a triumphant return compared to his show in ’09 because he managed to fall short of calling the audience “cunts”. And yes it was a “little meltdown” in comparison to the complete debacle in Minneapolis. Ask anyone there if they thought he was “engaging” while they were walking out of his ridiculous show.

  16. whelp, i believe this was the sirius interview that was references earlier

    disclaimer: don’t listen to this before eating, srsly

  17. One does not simply piss off Bradford Cox. u_u

  18. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  19. Jonathan Espeche  |   Posted on Mar 7th, 2012 -8

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    • yeah I bet he planted that guy in the crowd too

    • HA! I have a very hard time believing that Bradford Cox did this as a publicity stunt. He did it because he felt like doing it. In fact, judging from his interview with Pitchfork, he seems fairly pissed off that the incident was deemed noteworthy.

  20. A good friend of mine saw Faith No More perform way back in the early ’90s. He claimed–and I have no confirmation of this–that they played one song (I can’t remember which one) over and over and over again, each time concluding by asking the crowd if they wanted to hear it again. As the crowd got more irritated, the band only continued to play. The gag sounded kind of funny, kind of like this “My Sharona” thing does. *However*, I say that as someone who was not at either show, so I really don’t know how I’d feel if I had to stand through this kind of thing.

    Downvotes aside, I can’t help but earnestly wish that Cox would just settle down, get disciplined, and do one thing really well. He’s not a convincing shapeshifter–and his endless contortions just make me long for the days where he sounds like he does on “Cryptograms” or “Heatherwood.” Or, like, all of _Weird Era Cont._.

    • cept faith no more are at least a BAND, and a good band, so at least it would’ve sounded good haha, vs one douche dicking around with tape loops.

    • honest question: aside from this incident, does he really come off as trying to be a shapeshifter to you? for me, his whole deerhunter/atlas sound career arc has been marked by the same set of ambient/kraut/punk/pop set of aesthetics, filtered by a an increasingly sharp melodic sensibility. nothing really comes off as erratic or anything–it all fits into this arc in a pretty coherent way. not trying to put you down or anything, just wanna know what you think.

  21. Bros don’t let bros go to indie shows.

  22. But when Kanye & Jay-Z perform “Niggas In Paris” 12 times in a row, we just laugh and have a good time with it and say “Oh How Fun!”

    I think this “stunt” ranks up there when Bradford said “Fuck it. They’re gonna leak Microcastle early? I’ll write a whole new album!” And then we got Weird Era, Cont.

  23. The same joke for an hour.

    Dane Cook?

  24. How dare him defile George W. Bush’s favorite song.

  25. Evert now and then the “indie” world needs a kick in the ass after being so nice and polite and “chillwave-y”. I salute you Bradford.

    Oh read this too people:

  26. um…who the fuck is bradford cox?

    i sure don’t know (i guess i’m not indie enough), but if he ever writes ONE song as good as “my sharona”, please let me know.

  27. we all need to let bradford cox be great.

  28. Definitely going to try and find more opportunities to use the line “Who’s your Sharona now, bitch?” in my everyday life from now on.

  29. tsk tsk Sgum where’s the newest update on ‘your BOY?’ AV club and Vulture reports B Cox has invited all of us who didn’t like his My Sharona-athon 2012 to ‘suck his dick.’ not SG newsworthy enough? damnit support your genius.

    • god–you are the worst, dude.

      • i take that as high compliment with ‘you lot’ …it’s called having musical standards, look into it ;) but don’t worry, those thumbs down votes will teach me.

        • I want to punch you

          • you want to punch different opinions…free speech is a bitch innit? (wah wahh) btw could your name be more angry irish? jaysus mary n joosuff:P

          • I want to punch the sarcasm out of every one of your comments.

            …I guess I’m just perplexed as to why you’d come on here just to call Bradford Cox a “douche dicking around with tape loops”, and then refer to his proponents as “fucking whiney ass ‘fanboys’”.
            I’m all for free speech and differing opinions, but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! you just make yourself sound so dumb and piss so many people off while exercising those rights.

          • oh donny donny donny…trar lar lar, lar layyy… welcome to the new world order…of comments. well actually, since you bring it up, if you really look, you’ll see i start my madness with only one comment, BUT because the attacking drones of the indierock beehive feel the need to sting me with 20+ down votes, they egg me on MORE. that’s kinda how it works, now if you really don’t want a whiney brat to be a whiney brat, ignore him! ‘like duh’ i deal with the pissing on all the music I like, and usually the haters are hoisted up as heroes for fighting the power, but apparently with rising music geniuses, it’s more frowned upon. oh well, w/e, i call it as i see it. and at the end of the day donny, oim just takin’ the piss, ya ken what i’m sayin? fur fook sakes.

  30. I don’t really know dudes music very well and I wouldn’t care what anybody else thought of it regardless. But I do find this interesting from an artistic standpoint.

    Whether you like it or not (the art that is), it IS art. In fact, it’s art in it’s purest form; as an instant reaction to a present situation. No long, drawn-out, pretentious, preconceived plan or ideas. Just, BLAM! Here’s an hour long improve on “My Sharona”, “how ya like me now?”

    The fact that this behavior and his response to the backlash seems to be out of the norm for this “artist” only serves to make it that much MORE interesting, for me.

  31. Nope, this isn’t cool, isn’t art–just annoying. People who paid money to see Atlas Sound songs should be upset.

    • He played the entire set first. Read the stories man. He punched the clock.

      • so therefore by your standards he coulda pulled out his tallywacker (AFTER the set) and jerked off on stage and you’d be satisfied? actually don’t answer that…(yikes)

    • According to who? And I don’t mean that to sound as aggressive as it reads. But who defines art? The audience, or the performer? Millions of people around the world pay to go see a live show of one kind or another every single day. They are not all great, or even good. Many of them, to be sure, are probably incredibly bad. Personally, I find what happened at this one to be very interesting. This artist was willing to throw caution to the wind and deal with the fallout later. That’s enough for me. That’s art, for me.

      • ahhhhh, i think one persons ‘art’ is another persons…’letting 5 yr olds finger paint and letting it blow them away.’ obviously everything is art technically, well if done on a stage, or jammed into an art gallery or major city street corner etc etc etc. but there has to be a LINE. a line between true substance, vs someone just dicking around to just dick around, right? do you give a lil more kudos to the person who actually puts hours into a project, or do you give equal kudos to the guy who walks on a stage and poops on the american flag? haha, it’s endless. now i understand your pov, ‘interesting’ vs boring basically, and i get that. but the bottom line from my perspective and most peoples is A) it just didn’t sound good at all, and was a waste of time, and B) to dork around for an hour based on ONE person in a crowd’s sarcastic TWO WORDS, probably for sheer boredom, is pretty, as someone below put it, asinine. also C) i think most people would love this guy 1000x more today if he just did a spot on version of the song for like 30 seconds, then said ‘THERE, happy?’ haha. woulda been a wee bit more classic punk rock. oh and lasty, D) …why the fuck are we still talking about this??

  32. This guy sounds like a touch hole. Abusing the whole audience because one idiot in the audience yells something asinine? Ridiculous.

  33. I’m finding more humor in the fact that some of you are upset (and in some cases infuriated) about this.

    If you’re taking things this seriously, I’d hate to see how miserable your friends and family are around you during your one hour rants about Atlas Sound and art.


    But, seriously..

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