Faithful flock to Father John Misty

|
Photo - INDIO, CA - APRIL 14:  Musician J Tillman of Father John Misty performs onstage during day 3 of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2013 in Indio, California.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 14: Musician J Tillman of Father John Misty performs onstage during day 3 of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella)
Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Father John Misty's mysterious ways are what make his music so much fun.

He's been likened to Gram Parsons and Jack Kerouac. One might add Willie Nelson and even some form of Beck into the mix. And let's not forget Hunter S. Thompson, too.

"It's funny, like 12 hours ago I was eating pizza, smoking weed and watching the Beatles anthology -- just hanging around in bed," he told a crowd at the most recent Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival in Indio, Calif., according to a reviewer for the Los Angeles Times.

Onstage
Father John Misty with Jessica Pratt
» Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW
» When: 7 p.m. Thursday
» Info: Sold out, but tickets may be available through resellers; 877-987-6487; 930.com

The former drummer for Fleet Foxes not only changed his name from Josh Tillman a few yeas ago, but he also changed his public persona at the same time. His 2012 debut, "Fear Fun," put him right back in the spotlight. He fuels the excitement around his new music, which includes tales of lost souls and sexual deviation, with the Hunter S. Thompson-type talk mentioned above and even half-naked photos of himself made public.

In describing his new persona, he has discussed how musicians who seem to create from "personal" places are often putting forth alter egos.

"I see a lot of rampant, sexless, male-fantasy everywhere in the music around me. I didn't want any alter-egos, any vagaries, fantasy, escapism, any over-wrought sentimentality," he said in his biography. "I like humor and sex and mischief. So when you think about it, it's kind of mischievous to write about yourself in a plainspoken, kind of explicitly obvious way and call it something like 'Misty.' I mean, I may as well have called it 'Steve.' "

But it's important not to get so caught up in Father John Misty's antics and outspoken tales that the music is forgotten. His music draws from Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell and more.

"I was honest with myself about what music actually excites my joy-glands when I was considering the arrangements and instrumentation," says Tillman. "As opposed to what's been enjoyable to me in the past -- namely, alienating people or making choices based on what I think people won't like or understand. Pretty narcissistic stuff."

View article comments Leave a comment