Watch Mark Kozelek Enlist Low’s Alan Sparhawk On “The War On Drugs: Suck My Cock”

This week almost went by with no news about Mark Kozelek. Almost! Last week at this time, Koz was making friends with El-P when Sun Kil Moon was booked opposite Run The Jewels at Fun Fun Fun. At the fest, Kozelek played his infamous, unprovoked diss track “The War On Drugs: Suck My Cock” live for the second time. It is now part of his repertoire. If you see Kozelek on this tour and don’t get a War On Drugs diss, ask for your money back. That’s like seeing Gallagher and not getting splashed with watermelon juice. Anyway, at last night’s show at Duluth’s Karpele’s Museum, when it was time for “Suck My Cock” Koz enlisted his old friend Alan Sparhawk from openers and hometown heroes Low on beer commercial lead guitar.

The Current sets the scene:

As the night went on, Kozelek asked his friends Al (Sparhawk) and Mimi (Parker, also of Low) to join him for a couple of songs. Sparhawk took the stage and mentioned that he thought Mimi had already left, giving the crowd a good laugh as they called out for her from the stage. Sparhawk accompanied Kozelek for renditions of “Little Drummer Boy” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” before being taken by surprise when Kozelek began playing Sonny and Cher’s loving duet, “I Got You Babe.” It was a genuinely fun moment between the two and the audience definitely felt the connection and appreciated the silliness from two guys who don’t often get characterized as such.

After Sparhawk took his leave, Kozelek was about to start performing when he noted that “I wish I had someone who could play a one-note guitar part” and then slyly bellowed, “Alan, get out here!” Sparhawk sheepishly emerged from backstage in order to play the droning guitar part and a couple of “beer commercial rock” solos during Kozelek’s song “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock.” As the song’s chanting ending came to a close, Sparhawk attempted to join in on the singing, but noticeably not wanting to sing the titular line, he instead just added the word “drugs” to the chorus, which amused the audience to no end.

I am sure Sparhawk was thrilled to be involved. I am also sure Mimi Parker “had already left.” A likely story, Mimi Parker! Watch a video of their performance, shot by Grooveroo, below.

Earlier in the show Kozelek seemed to call Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves, who wrote a much-discussed essay on the language of abuse in Kozelek’s song, a “loser.” The Current reports:

Yes, between songs Kozelek did acknowledge his haters. He mocked those who have complained that they like the old Kozelek better. He still hates the War On Drugs. He compared his career to that of his friend Sparhawk’s noting, “He got his songs covered by Robert Plant, and I’ve sold songs to Walmart.” He doesn’t care for Pitchfork (“Modern journalism is bringing me down”), and doesn’t have time for people who write essays about song titles (“If you write an essay because of a song title, you are a loser”). He also mentioned how much he appreciated the Duluth audience and noted that we should “be grateful you live here.” Kozelek’s banter was pretty much what everyone I talked to expected, but nothing anyone who attended felt the need to walk away from. I got the feeling that the audience felt that they were in on the joke. As Kozelek himself declared, “I’m funny. I’ve always been funny.”

The a cappella “Micheline” he opened with sounds special, though.

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols is out now on Caldo Verde.