Bradford Cox

At an Atlas Sound show in Minneapolis earlier this week, some heckler requested a cover of the Knack’s new wave nugget “My Sharona.” Frontman (and, for this tour, sole member) Bradford Cox responded by playing an hour-long cover of the song as a sort of absurdist joke. Reports of the show circulated quickly. And yesterday, Cox called Pitchfork to explain the unhinged set — or, really, to explain how the cover was no big deal and how it was also awesome. Cox’s interview with Pitchfork is as much of an insane performance as the cover itself was, and it’s the sort of thing that makes me glad I don’t work at Pitchfork anymore. Below, some choice quotes:

“It was one of the best performances I’ve done since Deerhunter started. No one else fucking allows themselves to become unhinged. If it’s frightening to people, then those people seriously need to look at the mediocrity they subscribe to…

I am just a little, tiny punk person. It’s not like fucking Lana Del Rey carved an upside down cross on her cheek and defecated all over herself on stage at fucking Bonnaroo…

I am a terrorist. As a homosexual, my job is simply to sodomize mediocrity. I am terrified and horrified and shocked that anyone would mention Phish in any article related to me…

People had a fantastic, great time at this concert. At the end of the night, the majority of the audience was on stage dancing and having a great time. 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. They got the full fucking set of emotional fucking sincere whiny white people music. And then they got fucking ’My Sharona’ as interpreted by Faust. It was like a death trance…

Have these people never seen Deerhunter? I mean, Jesus Christ, there’s never been a Deerhunter or Atlas Sound show where there’s not some form of improvisation. This just happened to be more in a humorous vein. It’s unfortunate the narc that videotaped everything didn’t get all the best parts. There was this really great chord with harmonic undertones.

The saddest thing is that nothing can happen for an audience of 400 people anymore. Now it has to be on the internet and it has to be broadcast so widely. That intimidates people. Maybe that’s the issue that makes people want to be more inhibited onstage. It makes people more self-censoring. That’s the reason people think I’m a nutjob, because I don’t give a fuck who reposts or how I sound. I don’t Twitter, I just randomly urinate out of my mouth. And then people sift through the feces looking for seeds.”

There’s a whole lot more of this at Pitchfork.

Comments (29)
  1. The show was in Minneapolis last Friday. Glad Bradford made a statement. As someone who had been there I thought the whole portrayal of the event on the internet was unduly negative. I would not qualify this anywhere close to a meltdown! It was a great time. Bradford said it best:

    “People had a fantastic, great time at this concert. At the end of the night, the majority of the audience was on stage dancing and having a great time. 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. They got the full fucking set of emotional fucking sincere whiny white people music. And then they got fucking ‘My Sharona’ as interpreted by Faust. It was like a death trance…”

    Almost the exact quote I made to my girlfriend after the show (she may dispute this).

  2. Atlas Sound – “My Sharona (Extended Meltdown version)” b / w “Sodomized Mediocrity (Sifting Through the Feces Looking for Seeds)” – EXCLUSIVE RECORD STORE RELEASE COMING APRIL 21, 2011 VIA 4AD!

  3. If those last 2 sentences don’t secure his legendary status, I don’t know what will.

  4. “I am on a drug. It’s called Bradford Cox. It’s not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”

  5. Good thing no one asked for Freebird.

  6. Have these people never seen Seinfeld? I mean, Jesus Christ, there’s never been a Seinfeld show or Michael Richards show where there’s not some form of improvisation. This just happened to be more in a humorous vein. It’s unfortunate the narc that videotaped everything didn’t get all the best parts. There was this really great not at all racist joke.

  7. “it’s the sort of thing that makes me glad I don’t work at Pitchfork anymore.”

    Oh please. If Bradford had contacted you to talk about the incident, you would have turned the opportunity down?

    • No, I would’ve just had to listen to him forever! He likes to talk. He probably would’ve called during lunch, too; that’s usually how these things work out.

    • I think that’s an understandable feeling, given the fact that quite a few (for a lack of better words) “erratic” artists also carry a heavy load of emotional baggage and drama along with them (which at least results in some great art.) Some journalists get off on that sort of mania while others would rather just watch it unfold from the sidelines and not get mixed up in the scuffle. I can only imagine that if you had to deal with a bunch of Bradford Coxes on daily basis under these conditions, it’d be kind of overwhelming and your world would start feeling unpleasantly wacky.

  8. I have no problem with this, as I noted earlier, especially in light of the fact that he had already played a full set. However, as a concert goer, I kinda hate these long, extended jams (for lack of a better word) because I’m always torn between wanting to leave and being afraid that I’ll miss something, like another song that I wanted to hear. For a Friday night show, assuming there were two openers like in Chicago, I’m guessing it had to be about 1:00 am by the time he launched into that. At that point, anything goes.

    Moreover, as a solo side project, and one that’s already kind of out there to begin with, I’m not sure what people expect at this type of show. There are certain acts where you know what you’re going to get, and certain acts where I have no idea what will happen. A Fiery Furnaces show could be an hour of three minute pop songs, or an hour of them playing the recorder and singing in foreign languages. There are acts where you just don’t know what you’re going to get, and I’d put Atlas Sound in that category. It can be really annoying, but it can also be part of the fun. If you want to see Bradford Cox do something straightforward, go to a Deerhunter show.

    • One more thing: I think there’s a certain element in the crowd at Atlas Sound shows that have heard Shelia, Walkabout, and Mona Lisa and think that Atlas Sound is a pretty straightforward indie pop act. Those are all great songs, but they’re also pretty poor representations of the rest of his catalog. I could see why those people may be upset, but I also don’t have much sympathy for them.

  9. RE “the sort of thing that makes me glad I don’t work at Pitchfork anymore.”

    “I’m glad I don’t work for that website because of this blog post. Now, having stated that, allow me to write a blog post about that blog post (?).”

    I’m genuinely curious how this quote is indicative of Pitchfork being a bad place to work at/for. What am I missing?

    • No, it’s a great place to work! But one of the drawbacks of working there is having to talk to Bradford Cox on the phone for a really, really long time every so often. One nice thing about working at Stereogum is no endless phone calls from lunatics (yet). (Though endless phone calls from lunatics can be fun, too. Ari Up once called me every day for like a week after I interviewed her for a 5-10-15-20.)

  10. Why does everybody hate “My Sharona” ?

  11. I think it was an apt response to another moron hiding behind the anonymity of the audience. Hasn’t yelling out joke requests for covers been a meme since Nirvana unplugged? Or since live music began? I think people need to realize that irony is DEAD and we all need to stop trying so hard. We all know most things in this world are pretty fucked up. It’s time to start doing something about instead of just adding a snide comment to the din.

    And to bring it back to Bradford, his response was perfect. He responded with the same earnestness he (or any artist) would expect from someone going to their show. If you don’t really want to hear music, and just want to crack bad jokes, then stay home.

  12. “That’s the reason people think I’m a nutjob, because I don’t give a fuck who reposts or how I sound. ”

    I don’t think that’s the reason, dude.

  13. I hope this means that the next Deerhunter album will be more in line with ummm…. Deerhunter.

  14. I love this guy, he just says whatever the eff he wants.

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