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One Saturday night in January at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, J. Tillman, who records and tours under the moniker Father John Misty, opened his concert with "Funtimes in Babylon," a haunting ballad that also opens his splendid 2012 ...

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Displaying 1–16 of 16 comments

Will Conner

June 18, 2013  11:40am

What was any self-professing Christian doing there? Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings is about having sex on a gravestone; I'm Writing A Novel is a drug-induced (and IMO an hilarious) poking fun of the Hollywood culture, which could not have been written sans the mushrooms to which Josh is privy; Funtimes in Bablyon discusses the desire (satirically) for the high life of celebrity complete with drug use and promiscuity ("Smoke everything in sigh with every girl I've ever loved"). The list continues. As a non-believer, I have no problem with those themes, but tell me how the heck a Christian could enjoy that music without feeling supremely hypcortical? Is that in itself not an expression of desire for the same lifestyle that Josh Tillman was actually brave enough to abandon his faith for? To live? You can entertain those thoughts but the bible is unambiguous in claiming there's no difference between enjoying the those ideas and acting them out. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23.

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Will Conner

June 18, 2013  11:28am

You all completely missed the point of Father John Misty's music: Every little thing he has done as Father John Misty is meant to be ironic and satirical of everything. Think of the lyrics to "Funtimes in Babylon": "Ride around the wreckage on a horse knee deep in blood. Look out Hollywood, here I come!" The point being that he's making fun of Hollywood and the celebrity culture, mocking fame, having fun, and just dissing people who take things too seriously, as you all are. It's all meant to be over the top, and the dancing supplements the lyrics. The record is meant to be a swirly goop of irony, and if the lyrics aren't enough, he adds the over-the-top dancing just to make it all too much to handle. The dancing isn't supposed to be good or earnest or authentic or taken seriously; it's intended to make fun of fame and star culture and rock stars and the Mick Jagger types by being way, way, way over the top. It appears that you listeners failed to catch ALL of the oozing irony.

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Deborah culmer

February 20, 2013  12:59pm

We had the same treatment from him in Santa Cruz, but instead of mocking religion, he mocked the perceived "hippie culture" of Santa Cruz. He was rude and offensive, thanked the crowd in a very impersonal and cursory manner once or twice, but played a fantastic set. I definitely have mixed feelings about him, but must admit: Fear Fun is no longer on frequent rotation, whereas I couldn't get enough of it before seeing him. We had seen the band Other Lives in the area about a month before, and their graciousness and true humility and pleasure in playing for us stands in start contrast to the cynical and egotistical Josh Tillman. I lost all respect for the man that night. Thanks for this excellent review.

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audrey ruth

January 23, 2013  10:32pm

"Wondering if they will feel weird and shivery in the New Jerusalem." Good point, Linda!

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Loring Wirbel

January 22, 2013  9:48pm

I saw Misty's Jan. 21 show in Denver with The Walkmen, and even though religion was scarcely mentioned, he managed to mock the audience through an excess of irony alone. And there's his real problem, not an abuse of Christianity per se, but trying for a persona that mixes Gram Parsons and Jim Morrison with such fervor, the irony gets pushed to 11. He was chiding everyone for texting during the show and "looking all scary and weird" - a legit complaint, to be sure, but not one to win over an audience. And his exaggerated moves seemed to say, "Aren't my Jagger aerobics extreme?" None of this soured his wonderful album for me, and I think Dodd expects too much from musicians. Misty/Tillman wasn't mocking religion, as much as mocking audiences and the rock-show aesthetic in general. That's all right to a point, but he needs to practice being irony-free.

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Jim Ricker

January 19, 2013  12:50pm

Was the guy disrespectful? absolutely. How often are those that claim Jesus' name disrespectful of others they don't agree with? More often than can be counted without the aid of a computer and some serious software to track the mocking and disrespect. We should not be surprised when people mock Jesus, or followers of Jesus (of any political and/or cultural subset). We should expect better from those who claim to be indwelt by the Spirit - myself included.

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Linda Higginbotham

January 19, 2013  12:34pm

Nonbelievers mocking and deriding believers is nothing new. I thougt it interesting that the author/believer Patton Dodd described an evangelical environment as "weird" and respondant/believer Andy Jackson "shivered during the Dobson era". Wondering if they will feel weird and shivery in the New Jerusalem.

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Jeffrey Romack

January 19, 2013  9:42am

Irony of ironies; you've made me want to go out and buy his new cd.

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jon swift

January 18, 2013  10:46am

I say just "shut up and sing". People go to concerts to hear music and be entertained not lectured.

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Andy Jackson

January 18, 2013  10:36am

Colorado Springs is a mere shadow of what it used to be in terms of conservative Christianity. It's a more politically diverse city and far less weird than it used to be. Yeah, it's still a haven for churches and heads bowed at Starbucks, but those of us believers who shivered during the Dobson era know it's a different time. This indie rocker is out of touch.

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Charles McGuire

January 18, 2013  10:25am

People who rebel like this fellow, have usually been brought up in an environment with a lot of talking about, but very little "living" the Truth as an example. Hypocrisy is the major factor, in my experience, of people turning against the Christian faith. We need to be teaching people who are "young" in Christianity that living a Christian life is a GOAL and not an instantaneous transformation. It HAS happened that quickly, but is quite the exception and not the norm.

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J Thomas

January 17, 2013  11:13pm

I was not privy to any sort of evangelical upbringing and suffered the consequences. While this fellow Tillman was being lovingly protected by parents who probably viewed his salvation as their primary goal in his upbringing, I was out doing the things that this young man now glorifies. He'll meet the same destructive ends, and he'll bemoan the world for not meeting his deepest needs. Tillman, the only one who will see the art in you in the way you need is the God you are rebelling about sad irony.

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January 17, 2013  6:54pm

I thank God for my fundamental pentecostal heritage. Although I rebelled against it and no longer cling to many of its appendages, I am firmly anchored to these truths: It is trust in what Jesus has done in my behalf in his death, resurrection and ascension that provides eternal life; the power of the Holy Spirit is available to all believers for growth in Christian character and to provide divine 'manifestations of the imminent presence of God'. Chaplain Glenn Brown

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Patrick Carlson

January 17, 2013  4:15pm

After seeing the album cover... and reading the lyrics to one of the "popular" songs (Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings)... I guess the joke is on any "christian" that would support such an artist by attending his concert. I don't think you have to be a fundamentally conservative christian person to be at least slightly disturbed by those two things. BTW I fully agree with Jerry and Michael... always good to see people who can look back at life and find things to rejoice over rather than regret or reject. Too bad for Father John Misty... hope he grows up someday and can thank God for whatever his life has been.

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Michael Crites

January 17, 2013  2:21pm

Hear, hear, to Jerry's comment below. I enjoy thoughtful satire and good-natured teasing, even when aimed at my own fundamentalist up-bringing. I am tired of (and quite board with) the need to mock the people and practices which brought me to where I am. I may no longer have the same point of view in some areas as the people who influenced me as a child, but I have to assume that their motivation was for my personal benefit, and the continuation and expansion of the church as they understood it. Our culture's preoccupation with such destruction (not even deconstruction) of our historical roots suggests a regression to adolescence. "...Oooh, look, I can mock people who are either no longer here or too gracious to defend themselves. How hip can I be?" I thank God for the well-intentioned pastors, teachers and youth-workers who cared enough to prepare my for my life's journey (which isn't over yet).

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January 17, 2013  12:57pm

This is one great piece of writing and reportage. And yeah, isn't it sad an artist had to endure Adventures in Odyssey and a lyric that compares spiritual transformation with a miracle of nature? No wonder he became a drunken narcissist. So tired of condescension from recovering fundamentalists who can't be grateful for what they could glean from perhaps overzealous but well-intentioned pastors, teachers, parents. You grow up, you sift out (and laugh at) some of the silliness, but you don't throw the truth out with the bathwater. Jerry B. Jenkins Colorado Springs CO

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