I read too much Nietzsche in high school—nobody should read that shit before the age of 24—and you have kids and suddenly it’s the sobering reality of this immense responsibility that you have to try to let them hold on to positivity and innocence as long as possible. Earlier this year, I wrote an article called “A Brief Appreciation of Sturgill Simpson’s Instagram Account” which was exactly what the headline said it was. If I say something it’s because I want to. All of a sudden you’re the “insert major car company brand name here” guy, you know? Your name gets used to push other things, something you said might get used to frame or to reinforce or put another spin on a narrative someone needs to create. For instance, we’re talking because I said the wrong thing. I feel like everyone keeps telling me, “Oh how successful things have gone." This last album, especially the reception that it got, makes me feel bolder about pushing myself artistically and creatively to go even further out. That’s definitely something people don’t want to speak out about as much lately because they’re afraid of getting in trouble, saying the wrong thing, alienating people.It’s so easy to say the wrong thing. You meet enough people that tell you how much the music has affected their life or gotten them through hard things, or you meet a lady after the show by the bus who says the last concert she came to was with her husband who died of cancer and she just wanted to come see a show to feel that connection to a person. I don’t want to say a modern punk rock movement because punk was about something entirely different. “Just because when you say things in print it's so easy for context to get twisted.”. [Producer] Dave [Cobb] and I, we both listened to the same records as kids. It’s a conversation between artists, essentially, with Shiflett — who joined the Foo Fighters in 1999, adding another bullet point to a resume that also includes a country-influenced solo project, Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants, as well as a 20-year run with the punk-rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes — asking questions that go beyond the standard Q&A fare. You have to go through 20 years of canon fodder and eventually something regurgitates up as a throwback. He's not one to say it, but this is the kind of sensibility that’s made Simpson such a compelling star. “I think it’s psychosomatic. Like Buddha and the gateways in our minds. I moved to Nashville specifically with the intention to affect change and to put something out there that people would have to respond to because it was so real, and to maybe push things in a different direction and allow some other people [in]. I remember looking at pictures when I was a kid of Stevie Ray Vaughn standing in front of Radio City the first time he played it and now that’s our reality. “You wouldn’t believe how many guys are watching radars and tripping on acid.”. [_pauses_] Man… I’m playing Radio City Music Hall. It was a stressful job, and Simpson — who struggled with his own drug problems as a teenager — says many seamen found illegal ways to cope. Whether it was exploring bluegrass music or reading every book Charles Bukowski wrote when you're 16 because you think, "Oh, wow, there's a guy that understands me." And Drake has felt a certain way about music journalists since he lost his Rolling Stone cover a couple years ago. He signed up during high school, left town several days after graduation and spent a handful of years in various ports across the world. How many people have heard it?Only the people that need to. Actually, he wouldn’t mind if people stopped likening him to Waylon. You told me earlier today that you wrote Metamodern as you recorded it. Just raw expression. I realized a lot of that sometimes can be a disservice to the art. Because you're not looking for polish.No. Whether Simpson’s motivation was to take a public stab at Dave Cobb and others, was to piss of his record label to the point where they drop him or let him out of his obligations (from my understanding, it was a 2-record deal, but maybe there were options afterwards), either way, it was Sturgill Simpson who controlled the agenda of the interview, not Steven Hyden. If I was going to do this I had to know I did it on my own, without anybody's help other than maybe three or four or five various people in my direct team. I was in rock 'n' roll bands and punk bands, and I loved bluegrass and country music, too. “I shouldn’t have said turtle,” he says, interrupting himself, referring to the press coverage he got for his psychedelic country song “Turtles All The Way Down,” the first song on Metamodern that caused such a ruckus he told one Guardian reporter that “people think I wake up in the morning and pour LSD on my Cheerios.”. I just don’t want do anything that isn’t for the right reasons. Tension. We're in 2017, what the fuck is going on? Annalise Domenighini will also no longer be doing interviews. It’s all just coming to this head and it’s going to get so fucking ugly and exposed that it all just fizzles away and dissolves into itself and out of all of that, both parties will have to step up and take a real hard look in the mirror and do a much better job for us than they’ve been doing. Ask The Dixie Chicks. Arguably you're turning away—well, not turning away—but you're not asking for any help getting your stuff out there.That's a part of my personality disorder. I think people really want somebody right now to sound like Waylon Jennings. I just want to push. It’s a very powerful word. That’s why I went to concerts when I was a kid. Sturgill Simpson does not like to talk. I used to think I was doing this for me or for my family, but now I know that nothing could be further from the truth. You can go crazy if you let yourself think, "How do I remain relevant?" But the earth even then, Earth would be OK. Same goes for Taylor Swift. I'm just trying to constantly improve and become a better artist and then hopefully make records that people—I mean it's great if they buy them today—but I’m more interested in making records that maybe people will still talk about in 30 years. And part of it means that half the album should be written in the moment, so I don't put as much stress on waking up every day and thinking, "Well, I gotta consider myself a serious writer, so…" Listening to Jason [Isbell] talk earlier today made me realize how many different ways there are to go about songwriting. That has to be spontaneous. Yeah. So what's next?What's next is already finished. There are limitations that are placed around major commercial success, because you have to live up to that to maintain that relevance, and then a lot of those big entities, once you become one of their leaders you have to follow their rules or you go away. For some reason foul language just becomes a side effect of intense pressure and stress. © 2020 Condé Nast. They’re sharing it. I wrote an article called “A Brief Appreciation of Sturgill Simpson’s Instagram Account”. I don't have any ambition but anything I do and throw myself into, I'm gonna give it everything I got and go until I kill myself, probably. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-ready videos to electric live events, GQ meets millions of modern men where they live, creating the moments that create conversations. And not letting distractions and bullshit and ego and all these other things that we all have to deal with make you do things for the wrong reasons. Trump Official Planned to Give Santa Claus Performers Early Access to Covid-19 Vaccine, I Was Prescribed Trump’s Steroid. What kind of relevance are you trying to keep?As cliché as it sounds I just want to push myself and I want to push everyone around me, artistically and sonically. I know the business. Is that the worst that could really happen?That’s pretty much the worst that could happen, yeah, if the whole earth is on fire. The record had this cohesive sonic unity. It's been really interesting. I realized, "This is the only way I want to do this." The guy is a family man. So it's a slippery slope. I'll just keep fucking going. [Then] you have kids and all of a sudden it’s the sobering reality of this immense responsibility that you have to try to let them hold on to positivity and innocence as long as you possibly can.” All Simpson wants to do is a good job. With a newborn son at home and a wife who can rarely join the band on the road, Simpson — who’s toured consistently since Metamodern‘s release, playing more than two dozen festivals and late-night TV programs along the way — has been longing for some serious downtime in Nashville. It’s like, you make a record, I make a record, and the way I work is not for everybody and the guys that have stuck it out in my band, they’ve learned to understand that’s how it works. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. The Final Interview with Sturgill Simpson, According to Sturgill Simpson. Or if an intergalactic empire built a space station that could blow your planet up.
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