As previously reported, Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek hit some drastic new low onstage in London earlier this week, improvising a song about a specific female journalist who’d interviewed him via email. He named the woman from the stage, singing that she “totally wants to fuck me” and adding “get in line, bitch.” The journalist in question was Laura Snapes, a very good writer whose work has appeared in NME, Pitchfork, and The Guardian. (She’s also friendly with some of us here at Stereogum, so if you’re looking for objectivity, look elsewhere. Also, if you’re looking for objectivity in a story like this, take a long look at yourself in the mirror and try to figure out when your soul curdled.) Snapes has now written a piece for The Guardian about Kozelek. It’s the piece she was writing when she interviewed him, but its focus has understandably changed.
Snapes is actually remarkably restrained and evenhanded in her piece, which mostly revolves around the recent artistic renaissance Kozelek has enjoyed thanks to the way he’s switched to a conversational storytelling songwriting style. But she does reveal that he was pulling that same shit during their email exchange, writing stuff like this: “You think you’re the only person who wants to get a face-to-face interview with me? Get in line. I’m the best person you never met and one day, if you ever meet me, you’ll probably want to have my baby.” Kozelek also apparently objected to Snapes asking his peers for quotes about him, which is pretty weird, considering that those quotes (from Low’s Alan Sparhawk and El-P) are entirely laudatory. But Snapes doesn’t flinch from the fact that Kozelek’s onstage comments about her were a straight-up inexcusable violation, and here’s how she ends her piece:
But in this life, Kozelek trades in sucker-punches. He impugns online “bitching and whining”, but hides behind one-way email exchanges, balks at the idea of his peers speaking about him and issues tirades (and sometimes, sexual advances) from the cowardly remove of the stage, with the get-out clause that it’s a performance. He can use sexually violent language to reduce female critics to the status of groupies, knowing that while male musicians’ misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of “difficult” artists, women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art. “The world don’t owe us shit, I learned that real fuckin’ young,” he sings on Universal Themes’ Little Rascals. If anything remains to separate Kozelek from his work, it’s that his music preaches that the least we owe one another is decency.
You should really read the whole piece here.