Father John Misty stopped by Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie’s BBC 6 Music radio show today for what was supposed to be a leisurely interview. Things started off harmless enough with a question about whether FJM was old enough to have watched The Partridge Family and jokes about jeggings on his merch table. But the conversation devolved quickly, leading to a palpable tension about 8 minutes in. The lounge-folk rocker and Netflix fan took offense to what he felt were leading questions and turned defensive for the rest of the interview. Certainly it’s monotonous for Tillman to do press to promote every show — or maybe he was early-morning-cranky due to the time zone difference? — but the bouts of dead air makes for some excruciating secondhand awkwardness. We’ve transcribed an excerpt :
Radcliffe: [Father John Misty] in terms of the album seems to be a bit of a loverman, a bit of a lothario you know?
FJM: Okay, yeah, referring to him as a thing is weird for me, because it’s really just me up there looking through my eyeballs. I have no interest in playing some kind of character … Why would I callous my smooth, bourgeois hands for the sake of some character?
Radcliffe: Father John Misty sings a song about Josh Tillman, which is you, so in that song “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” –
FJM: I think we’re getting a little too hung up on something that’s just meant to be — there’s a social contract with the listener I think. To explain it kind of ruins the — it’s more my sensibility to call myself something ridiculous, and I get jollies from seeing this ridiculous name on a marquee. That’s a better indicator of who I am than putting my own name…
Radcliffe: I wondered if the Father John thing was in any way related to your Christian upbringing. You’ve been fairly vociferous about some of the ridiculousness you’ve seen in this fundamentalist Christian background. You know, whether it was some kind of ridicule of the preacher kind of role.
FJM: No. I actually have way more empathy for matters of faith. Certainly there are kind of ridiculous, vulgar, silly things in that world as there are in the world of radio. i don’t think that should serve as an indictment of faith. People ask me this question a lot, but they keep going and make the question boring, when it could be something I could talk about at great length, and actually reveal a lot more about who I am than just asking me where the name comes from –
Radcliffe: You’re saying it’s a reductive kind of question.
FJM: Can I just finish my thought please?
Radcliffe: By all means. Really.
FJM: I’m making you quite flustered.
Radcliffe: No, you’re not making me flustered in the slightest. You’re sort of exasperating me, and that’s two different things.
FJM: There’s nothing more flustering you can say to someone than “I’m making you flustered.”
Radcliffe: Oh my gosh. Well, I bow to your superior knowledge
FJM: Oh God, c’mon man.
Perhaps Radcliffe should have done some more research. But in any event the radio host is still reeling about the bickering:
— Mark Radcliffe (@themarkrad) May 13, 2016
And of course Father John Misty retweeted Radcliffe to let the awkwardness linger, before wishing he had been interviewed by Lauren Laverne instead.
I miss you @laurenlaverne
— FARMER JAH MISERY (@fatherjohnmisty) May 13, 2016
You can hear the interview below.
I’m so glad I don’t have to listen to it anymore. Yeesh.
If God's on your side nothing is impossible pic.twitter.com/zAZqRGe72b
— FARMER JAH MISERY (@fatherjohnmisty) May 14, 2016