"Free music for the People :: free People for the Music"

[est'd 2004 A.D. :: New Jersey]

Sunday, January 18, 2009

open letter from efrim of Godspeed! 2001

godspeed you black emperor!

an open letter from efrim.


hello,

so,
we made a mistake,
we did an interview with a liar,
and now this whole explosion of righteous opinion, like the cat's out of the bag= godspeed's not a band of earnest monk-like politicos making music, we're actually self-righteous ideologues, latent fascists, loudmouths, assholes...
point is,
we never claimed we were anything we weren't,
never promoted ourselves as an answer to anything,
did our best always to be straight about our own lostness and confusion in the face of this whole ridiculous industry which does not bend or compromise, but swallows, appropriates, destroys...
easier to dismiss us as hypocrites than to actually engage us in a debate or a conversation... hell, we like talking, we LOVE talking; problem is that most interviews don't involve any talking at all, more like some sort of standardized test, fill in the blanks, blahblahblah...

anyone wants to punch holes in our politics, go ahead; you wanna say that we don't properly address the paradox of a "political" band making money off of compulsive shoppers or victims of fetish capitalism- guess what, YOU'RE RIGHT! we haven't properly addressed that paradox at all, and we know it and we kinda know why too- if you want to talk to us about that, then go ahead, give us a call, we'd love to talk about it (as long as you can hold up your end of the conversation, as long as you're willing to talk to us about you're own failings, confusions, or epiphanies in the face of this cruel cruel world...)

mostly the reaction to this silly little interview has been way more disheartening and angering than the interview itself... all these half-assed opinions and reactions, all highlighting the same old tired chestnut, that politics get in the way of music, that any band with any sort of political awareness, however fuzzy, is either completely naive and clueless or completely full of shit...

we've done our best to articulate ourselves plainly, honestly and politely, we've never lectured or insisted that everyone should believe the same things that we do; instead we've pleaded and pleaded and pleaded, we've thrown these records into the ocean like so many hopeless transmissions, praying and hoping that some people would get the point, the simple simple simple point; that the world we live in is lost, violent, and obscene, that the relations we have with each other and ourselves are mostly alienated, that together we need to begin figuring out how to fix ourselves, our communities, our world... hardly groundbreaking stuff, hey? but still, you start talking like that to most rock journalists and they don't know how to respond... and when you start criticizing the way that most bands, record labels, rock venues, rock magazines function than not only are you naive, but you're also arrogant, hypocritical and WRONG...

which brings us to radiohead;
we don't know radiohead,
we've never met them or communicated with them in any way,
some people in godspeed like their music others don't...
the fact remains, radiohead are owned, part and parcel, by a gigantic multinational corporation, and their critique of global corporatism is tainted by that one harsh reality..

again,
we're interested in debate,
we're interested in CONVERSATIONS,
but instead of anyone actually talking about the merits or shortcomings of our argument, what you get is a whole lot of feigned shock and indignation, like somehow criticizing radiohead is symptomatic of our own arrogance or hypocrisy...
it's all so silly, it just makes you tired and sleepy even thinking about it...

so,
maybe from now on we keep our mouths shut some more, yeah?
leave the talking to the talkers,
keep our heads down and lips buttoned, yeah?
ok.

for the record,
when we did the interview with the guy from OOR,
we were mostly very polite...
we didn't insist that the microphone be hidden in a napkin holder...(???)
when i said "we are a collective and we speak as a collective and we will not answer these types of questions.", i was making a joke about people's conception of us... it was clear to the interviewer that i was joking, but he chose to present it as an earnest statement...
we didn't order a non-vegetarian dish...
we aren't "a canadian post-rock squatter's collective"...
and i'm not "without a doubt the leader of the group"...

to the guy who did the interview,
when the interview was done, you were so nervous that your hands were shaking like a little boy's hands and you wouldn't look us in the eye... you gave me a small box of chocolates with those trembling hands and you said something like "i hope you don't think these are too corporate.." for three days after that i was stricken with irrational guilt about your nervousness, i felt bad that we had flustered you so much, and i was upset that we were unable to find a way to communicate anything of value to you... you struck me as a lost, weak, lonely man and i felt a fair amount of misguided empathy towards you... i now regret feeling anything at all, and i wish you nothing but continued misery, loneliness and despair...

finally,
this message is only my own opinion,
i don't, and i will not, speak for the other eight members of godspeed...

love,
efrim


p.s. anyone who wants to talk some more about this stuff should feel free to e-mail me (hotelzion333@hotmail.com). i'm on tour with a silver mt. zion right now but i will do my best to respond as quickly as i can...

february 3, 2001

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