Bonnie "Prince" Billy: "I don't regret working with R. Kelly - it made me judge my own actions" (2023)

Your work is often seen as bleak, dark, and mostly written for adults. What nursery rhymes do you sing with your young offspring in mind?hiker

One of the earliest Sesame Street characters was a guy named Grover, who was blond and blue-eyed with a big pink nose. Last week, in the children's section of a record store, I found a record called "Glover Sings the Blues." I haven't heard what I do when I'm alone? Or has anyone seen my dog? For 45 years, but my daughter keeps letting them go. Glad she likes the songs I loved as a kid in the 1970s. I still recognize every word and note.

What drew you to cover Mariah Carey's "Can't Take That Away" (Mariah's theme song)?singer V

Around the time of that record, she went through a very public meltdown that had to do with the demands of having a very public image. It nearly destroyed her and she cried out for help. We let terrible things happen to people we admire or to the planet, and we tend to turn a blind eye, but this is such a powerful song. A friend of mine was in jail with a rapper and he knew the Wu-Tang Clan producer Buddha Monk, so we went to his apartment and played the song on Buddha's wonderful production.


you regret andR KellyAfter the first allegations of abuse against him?Captain Sabie

When I was singing the Mariah Carey song on "Buddha," the news of the first scandal with R. Kelly came on the TV. These are serious allegations, but R Kelly's 2003 "Chocolate Factory" album topped the list. I bought it and thought it was great. I listened to more of his music, did a cover of one of his songs, and they took me to Texas to score a movie about the food industry called Fast Food Nation. In one of the scenes, a video of R Kelly is playing in the background. Turns out this lady was working with R. Kelly on the film and asked me if I would be in the Trapped in the Closet video. They flew me to Chicago, we rehearsed at his house, and I interviewed him for Interview magazine. I did a live cover of "Ignition Part 1" and recorded his song "The World's Greatest" for the movie "Ali". So I have more associations. I can't regret it because ideally, the closer I get to that man, his music, and his world - even the horrific and tragic complications that come to light at the same time - will make me a stronger person and better able to judge my life. behavior and the behavior of others. you know like a childbill cosbyHe lied to me because he presented his work from a moral point of view. R. Kelly never did that. But now I don't listen to R Kelly.

At the infamous 9/11 jam session, whoMost affected by the events of the day– Jlike molina,Alasdair Roberts or yourself?soda melon

We were filming at my brother's old farmhouse in Kentucky, and we were already going into uncharted territory, exploring ways to work with each other. My brother got a call and it was clear that something very important had happened. We could watch a live feed of the second plane crashing into the building, but we didn't know what to do. So we went back to work. I'd say Molina's reaction was the funniest because of his ability to spontaneously improvise lyrics. He wrote 9/11 songs on the spot.


How did you come up with the photo that became the cover of Slint's seminal album Spiderland?cue ball

We were very close friends and I was asked to join them when they formed the band. I've never been into music, but I'm so touched and honored that it feels like a fitting challenge. At their first show, Small Dirty Tight Tufts of Hair: BEADS, held at a Unitarian church, I just sat in front of Brett Wolford's drum kit to keep from slipping. I ended up dropping out, but on the cover of their first record, Tweez, they used a photo my dad took of me. Then they asked me to take one to Spiderland. A few years ago, we went back to the abandoned limestone quarry where we took a photo of ourselves swimming in the water, just like we did when we were teenagers.

Why did you decide to delete all your solo compositions from Spotify? phil2282

I'm outraged by Spotify's existence and people's passive acceptance of it as the dominant form of music consumption. Musicians are treated like garbage. When people say "it's as simple as that," I think "so you don't want musicians to keep trying to make the best music they can?" Because it's not sustainable. When I play a song, I want someone to remind me where I heard it or who recommended it, instead of my algorithm telling me.

What does a great movie remind you of?Matewan? How did you get this role? Are you angry that you didn't get to play villain Jason Bourne like your crew?Chris CooperIDavid Strathairnsea ​​gold 88

I loved those Jason Bourne movies, but when they were done, I realized that the film industry didn't suit my temperament and vice versa. I got this role because I worked a lot in regional theater. I was 16 and just wanted to follow actors like Ken Jenkins, Chris Cooper, and Mary Macdonald. The film was about the Matwan mining massacre in the Appalachian Mountains, and to this day college professors say, "I teach this film in a labor history class." Impossible to list creations to me All influences of the way the record is made. Director John Sayles is featured in the music video for a song from my new album, Crazy Blue Bells. It's not listed, but if you know what it looks like, you can't miss it. He was almost seven feet tall and very handsome.

The death of Sinéad O'Connor reminds me of you covering "All Babies" from her Universal Mother album. With the songs you cover, do you dig deep into the soul of the artist or do you just hear something and want to sing it? iceberg

Most of the time, you'll hear a song that you wish you had written yourself. For that song, it was a link to her voice, how I felt, some or all of the lyrics. Then you deepen your relationship with the song, understand how it came to be, and reinforce your own practice.

Do you really like bodyboarding?Coat hangers made from puff pastry

I actually love my bodysurf– Surfing without a surfboard. It just makes my brain and body feel good. My favorite waves are the dangerous and somewhat scary ones at Makapuu Beach on Oahu, Hawaii. There are similarly scary waves near the beach - there's a famous photo of Barack Obama surfing there.

Your latest album 'Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You' has images of volcanoes at the beginning of 'Like It or Not' and on the title trackPopocatepetl Dobro jutro("Smoking Mountain"). You also spent 2018 as a writer at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Are you interested in volcanoes?Verulamim Park Ranger

I appreciate such a good question. I think volcanoes are dramatic, harrowing, and the greatest example of the planet we live on as a living, breathing thing. They are beautiful and scary. In January 2018, my wife and I lived on an active volcano in Hawaii for a month, and you can walk to the point where lava is gushing from the ground. Three months later, the volcano erupted, destroying the beautiful place. They are a great model for the way we create and destroy as artists or as humans in general, they are microbes compared to the planet we live on.


Who is the guitarist Birdman on your 2022 albums High and High and Mighty Parts 1 and Mighty Parts 2?soda melon

I made this album for my friend Emmett Kelly's label which is mostly cassette tapes lol. This is my favorite work, but I can't say who the birdman is at will. He's an accomplished musician and a scholar of gun ownership. Although we only made 100 copies, he was concerned that his family could be in danger if he were identified. I'm bummed because I've been looking forward to working together for years, but we agree to use pseudonyms. Fortunately, he didn't say, "Don't turn it off."

Your tribute album Best Troubadour to Merle Haggard made me discover and fall in love with his music. How did that record come about?Graham627

I've been studying his music for decades, and I think he produced some of the greatest country music productions in the last 20 years of his life. Sometimes I even write songs for him - especially "I Called You Back" - and hope that one day he will hear them. His live performances are dominated by his early work, so I wanted to make a record to highlight his later brilliance. Then in 2016 he passed away. I don't know what to make of this album, but I read that he recorded two tracks of Roots, Volume 1 live for the indie label Anti-. I asked his engineers for advice and we made the best troubadour the same way. It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Unlike most artists, Merle Haggard is constantly evolving. His only secret is to keep challenging himself.


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