From all indications, Bon Iver might end up being to the Grammys what Kanye West was to the VMAs. If you’re not following the ongoing saga of sulk and shill, first Bon Iver said the Grammys were unimportant. Then he was nominated for some, and lo, there were promos on ice. Then the Grammys asked him to perform with somebody else–a group of people Justin Vernon called “awesome people” but who nevertheless weren’t good enough, and here it comes:
“We wanted to play our music, but we were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else. And we just felt like it was such a large stage. We’re getting nominated for this record that we made, me and Brian [Joseph] and a bunch of our fucking friends, and we were given accolades for it. And all of a sudden we were being asked to play music that had nothing to do with that. We kind of said ‘fuck you’ a little bit and they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don’t think they wanted us to play.”
This is a wonder of passive-aggression! At once, Justin manages to emphasize how much acclaim his album received, while simultaneously spinning that praise into being held down from achievement and friendly rapport by the fickle, suddenly gauche man. He also manages to spin the Grammy invite as insincere, and he gets the words “fuck you” in there too–all while maintaining the same boasting tone. If he wrote his lyrics like this instead of like a literary magazine hopeful, he’d be the best, most nuanced songwriter working.
The entire rest of the interview is essentially like this, and you should read it all, but we wanted to single out one more quote: “Rock ‘n’ roll should be the fucking people with guitars around their backs. And their friends. And their managers.”
What you hear below is rock ‘n’ roll.