The Sun Kil Moon Beef is More Childish Than Drawing a Penis on Someone's Face
This is the story of a 47 year-old who really needs to grow the fuck up.
Ah, Sun Kil Moon and the War on Drugs. One band’s music is akin to sniffing a fifteen-year old sweater to see if it’s still scented with memories, the other sounds like every long-distance car journey with your parents. You wouldn’t normally hear them mentioned in the same sentence and you would never expect them to generate two month’s worth of leading news stories but, here we are.
In case you’ve somehow missed the story, here’s a quick re-cap.
- Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon played at a festival on September 14th. He was annoyed because the deafening sound from The War on Drugs' set bled over into his own. Sucks bro, but I guess sometimes unavoidable when you’re playing at a place with more than one stage.
- Kozelek then decided to “challenge” the War on Drugs. He asked if he could join them on stage at a later date. He also asked if they would play a “hilarious song I've written called ‘War On Drugs: Suck My Cock/Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself'.
- The War on Drugs did not respond. Sun Kil Moon released a song called “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock”.
The whole thing was pretty childish. Once everyone had got over the thrill of one boring guy telling more boring guys to “suck his cock”, it seemed like the story had been buried, existing forevermore as a footnote on a rarely visited Wikipedia page. But, roll around to yesterday evening and the story’s been given an unnecessary booster jab.
Adam Granduciel, frontman for The War on Drugs, was interviewed by Songs For Whoever. Predictably, he was questioned about Sun Kil Moon’s fellatio themed diss track.
“I didn’t really have a problem with any of it until I heard the song”, he said. “First of all, he never met us, and yet said all these things. He’s such a douche. I asked somebody if I could get his e-mail, because I wasn’t trying to start this stupid Twitter thing, I was just bummed”.
Adam continued talking, explaining that he’d tried to reach out to Sun Kil Moon.
“I got an e-mail through this friend that said “Mark wants to come to the Fillmore, he will write a song called ‘War On Drugs: Suck My Cock’… I was really excited and was gonna write him back in a couple of days, ‘cause I was busy at the time. Then two days later I get an e-mail back from him, saying ‘the offer has expired, maybe when I get home from tour I’ll go to Starbucks and buy your record.’”.
“I had already essentially agreed to it, and then the Starbucks comment…what the fuck, dude. Get over your fucking self”.
As you can probably tell, the story is already pretty laborious. The War on Drugs haven’t really done anything wrong other than respond, when prompted, to a song called “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock”, which seems fair enough. But Kozelek then decided it would be a great idea to write another song about them. He didn’t request so much mouth fun this time. Instead, he quoted Adam’s interview with Songs For Whoever - the one in which he said he’d never heard about Sun Kil Moon - whilst giggling like a sixth-former inhaling a nitrous oxide balloon and preaching to an empty room.
The song is called “Adam Granofsky Blues” and you can listen to it here.
OK. So, now you’re up to speed, we can all probably agree on one thing: Mark Kozelek is an asshat shouting at evaporating air. But why?
He’s conceited enough that you imagine he only looks inward, thinking about himself; the sort of guy who keeps telling jokes, despite the fact everyone is avoiding eye-contact and no one is laughing. The most immediate reasoning, behind the very clear knowledge Sun Kil Moon has, for whatever reason, got a chip on his shoulder, is that stories like this, and others posted around the internet, will increase the band’s reach. Sun Kil Moon used to be the sort of thing you only knew about if you’d exhausted the Saddle Creek discography with lonesome heart-panging thinking and excessive masturbation. These days, though, you’ll hear them played in Urban Outfitters.
You can understand how this started as a bit of a joke - a way to get some extra press and turn Kozelek from moth-ridden adult who can’t move beyond his childhood into a cool bro who tells it how it is. Problem is, it’s all a bit fucking boring and pathetic isn't it? The War on Drugs didn't do anything wrong. It’s just Sun Kil Moon yelling into a cloud and watching all the little raindrops of coverage fall down into the news-feed of every music website below. Whether this all points to a deep-rooted problem in how we'll all happily laugh about victimisation, a childish-grab for attention, or just a worryingly poor grasp of civility, we just don’t know.
Frequently there’s an almost unanimous yearning for music to return to the days of old; when bands would punch each other in the face, put baby sharks in each other’s girlfriends, and sometimes kill each other. So, maybe Kozelek wanted to relive some of the indie’s greatest beefs (Haim vs Los Campesinos, Brother vs Chapel Club, you know, all the big-hitters). I don’t understand why though - music isn’t supposed to be some sort of machismo soaked gossip column, it’s music. Everything else is secondary and irrelevant.
Whether it’s Jay Z taking pussy-shots at Drake over a piece of artwork he may or may not have purchased, Wayne Coyne spouting some irreverent word-poop, or Sun Kil Moon excessively striving for some sort of interaction, every internet-age beef is excessively mundane. They are monotonous, dry, middle-of-the-road slabs of old mince. Lacking in flavour, interest, sustenance, anything.
I understand that writing this piece reinforces the wrong idea: that if we really don’t care about what Sun Kil Moon has to say, we should sit-down, shut-up, and visit another corner of the internet. But this seems like a good time to highlight the plodding nature of the music news cycle; the way certain artists are able to cheat the system; and the way we’ve become so accustomed to seeing dreary click-bait news stories, with quotes lifted from another writer’s interview, that the Sun Kil Moon v The War on Drugs beef is somehow heralded as a legitimately exciting thing to happen at the moment, when it definitely isn’t.
Let’s move on from this now. No more reporting on Mark Kozelek’s shitty songs until he makes something that actually means anything again. Benji was an good album - if you’re really into hearing long songs about loving your parents - and it received a Best New Music on Pitchfork. So, when he releases another slow-burning epic, we should all start talking about him again. But until then is there any point in appeasing the whims of a 47 year-old who just needs to grow up?
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil