This week, Brad and Barry jump into the show that has most people scratching their heads - Bon Iver. How their sound has changed over 3 albums and what will the 2 sets be like at Bonnaroo? Plus, they talk the schedule release, shorter set times and more!
The waiting for Bonnaroo 2018 might just be over soon, day after day passes when we get closer and closer to Bonnaroo 2018. Welcome to the What Podcast. That's Barry Courter from the Chattanooga Times 3 Press. I'm Brad Steiner from HITS96 WDOD in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I hate to start this episode out this way because I love Bon Iver so much, but guys, Kanye West's favorite artist is playing Bonnaroo this year. I always gotta bring up Kanye. Yeah, it all comes back to Kanye somehow. Bon Iver, the subject of this week's podcast. Now, I would love to have secured a conversation with Justin because there's nobody who's more fascinating in this industry than Justin, but I would have been a nervous wreck because he's far, far smarter and far, far better at talking about this than I, which I talk about Bon Iver a lot. Yeah, and we're gonna do that today and glad you pointed it out. We did not get him on the phone, so this is just us talking about him. This is going to irritate you, Barry. At the end of today, you're gonna be so irritated with me because you're going to hear this conversation probably 45 more times between now and the end of Bonnaroo. I was driving over here. I wondered, is Brad gonna say this is his favorite act of all time? Because I'm pretty sure you have said that every single week we've done this. I, that's definitely not true. You know exactly who I'm talking about. Yes. Look, Bon Iver is, you know, for an artist that started out as an artist that guys only liked so that they could, you know, take a girl home. For me, that's how they started, but they turned into, he might be one of the most unique artists that we have. The man invents his own language. He just doesn't speak the same words that we do. No, I've, I spent all morning listening to their music, his music, and it occurred to me last night as I was listening, I can't compare this to anything else. Right. You know, I don't like doing that anyway. Right. But you can't help it with some things. You know, you hear bits and pieces of something or somebody. I can't, which is probably fine. I shouldn't. And then there's also, as I was listening, there are things in there that make me stare at the speaker. Yeah. I wonder, like, did somebody just walk in? Is there somebody knocking on my window outside? Did a car drive by? What's that squeaking noise? Yeah. Yeah, sure. There is just all kinds of glasses tinkling. Right. Yeah, I was looking over my shoulder all the time. Were you a Bon Iver fan before, I guess you found my orbit because I love Bon Iver and I talk about Bon Iver a lot. Were you a big fan? No. Is it something that, no. No. Like, he seems like something, especially the first album for Emma, seems like something that had been right up your alley. Yeah, it is. There's stuff, you know, there's some things that, whether it's just time or whatever, I just haven't stumbled across it. It's not that I didn't like, I just didn't know, didn't know much about it, about the group. To be honest, didn't, you know, know how to say it properly. Right. I think the first few years everybody was saying Bon Iver. Bon Iver, yeah. Looking up today, researching about the name, I should say they were into winter is coming before anybody, right? Well, you know, there's something about atmosphere and music, right? There's something that takes you to a certain place. And I find it to be quite ironic that the show that I'm most excited about this year on the farm in what will probably be 95 degree Tennessee heat is a band that evokes so much coldness. Everything that you hear from Bon Iver, I find to be just snow covered, completely snow covered. Absolutely. I don't know what having mononucleosis is like. I don't know what winters in Wisconsin are like. I've never put myself into a cabin by myself in the winter in Wisconsin. But when I listen to that album, especially, I have to imagine that's what it's like. Right. Exactly. That's what's so fantastic about at least the first two albums. If you don't know much about the Bon Iver story, Justin, basically the heart and soul of it, I equate him a lot like James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem in that they are the entire creative force behind a project. So he goes through this crisis sometime in his mid-20s. He has a breakup. He gets mono. He's living in North Carolina. He's feeling like a total failure. Music's not going well for him. So he takes to his dad's cabin in Wisconsin, and he shuts himself off from the world and eventually writes for Emma forever ago. Wasn't intending to write anything. Did not go there as a musical sort of hiatus or working, I think, started writing. And as I understand it, eventually came up with what he thought were some demos that he might could shop around. And people convinced him that it was a record. And you say for Emma, this is the 10-year anniversary. We're going to talk about he's doing two shows on the farm. So what will he do? I know he did that entire album, but I think that was a one-off. So I don't know if we'll see some of that. I have some ideas. And you can thank some industry people. You can thank some people from InfoRu and Reddit. But I have some ideas about what the two shows will be. But that's been the biggest question of this year. What will Justin do? Because when it first came out, I said to you, when we did the live show, it could be anything. He literally could go in absolutely any direction. I even said if he really wanted to, he could do an EDM show. Well, you remember when we had Ashley Capps on third week. We asked him, and he didn't know. Right. If he did, he wasn't telling. But I believe him. I think his exact words is, I don't think Justin knows. Exactly. Exactly what he said. I'm sure he's thinking of it. So the thing that I love about the story of, and I hate the way that the story came about because it requires like heartbreak and life altering decisions that you have to make. So for him, it's heartbreaking and hard to live through. But for us, the story is so good. And I'll be honest with you, after listening to Forema, it sort of makes me want to be in a cabin in the snow covered woods. That sort of sounds romantic to me right now. It's just an amazingly written album. It's so pretty. It's so beautiful. It takes you straight to a time and a place where wherever he was in his life, I'll put it this way. There's not an album I love more than something that takes me, plucks me up from my space and my situation where I am, and then puts me right into theirs. And I feel like I'm living it. Yeah. And that's what an artist does. That's what a good artist does. I was thinking about that as we were listening. Sometimes, and especially a musician will write something that we can completely identify with. Heartbreak, breakup, whatever. Sometimes, I can't remember who we talked about earlier in an earlier podcast, probably Anderson Pat, talking about how that life, the life that he had coming up is not ours, but we could identify with it because it was presented. And you're exactly right. That album just transports you. It takes you to an entirely different place and you can't help but go. I like the way you say that. You can't help but go. Even when he writes things that are so head scratching, when he puts words together that don't really make any sense. I'm still right there with you. Look, this is bizarre. If you go from doing nothing in North Carolina and then going to some random place in Wisconsin, put together a demo tape and some songs and out of nowhere, you find blog culture. I can't really remember if it was the start, but it was right there when music blog culture started blowing up. Somewhere around 2006, 2007, he finds the attention of my old Kentucky blog. And my old Kentucky blog blows it up and he becomes a viral indie rock sensation. And it sounds pretty typical these days that, oh, yeah, internet star, got it. But in 2007, did we have that many internet stars? I mean, I think maybe Foster the People was one of them back then. But that was when it really started to blossom and blow up. It's interesting. Yeah, it was my old Kentucky blog and then Pitchfork. And I think they printed, what, 500 copies of that first record and sent 12 to media types, mostly blogs. I didn't get it, by the way. I didn't either. I wasn't blogging. We weren't on the list. But we can sort of tie that circle even a little tighter. Remember back in 2007 and 2002, as we've talked about, Bonnaroo helped change that whole music culture. Bonnaroo changed the festival culture and then the internet and blogs and all that. Sort of interesting talking to you sitting here in a radio station, of all things. Right. That's kind of when music changed. I think people became more, it became cooler to have a playlist that did not include radio hits. Right. Than the other. Right. And in my personal life, strangely enough, that is the exact year that our radio station went from cool indie rock to top 40. The same exact year. We went the opposite direction. Interesting. Yeah. My life and Justin's are exactly the same. Probably about that time that I saw one of my favorite t-shirts at Bonnaroo that said, I'm into bands that don't even exist yet. That's my dude. Yeah, exactly. I love that. He hits on the blog and then he hits Bonnaroo 2009. Right. 2009, if you go back and I've fancied myself in these podcasts now going back and looking at where an artist was in relation to the poster and how it's sort of moved up. Like look at 2009 when he first plays Bonnaroo. He's in between Girl Talk and Bella Fleck. One, two, three, four, six lines down. That was Bruce. That was the Bruce year. Okay. Bruce, Fish, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Wilco, Al Green, Snoop Dogg. There's your top two lines. Yeah. It is interesting to look back at that and like we talked about last week, those are sort of those do-over moments that I wish I could go back and see certain shows. Right. But you don't know. That's one of those that you missed probably in 2000. No question. This is a bit embarrassing but I got off stage once at Bonnaroo I think the first time we played. I'm not totally crying all the time. I'm somewhat sensitive but not a huge crier. Got off stage and it was a great show. Like we thrashed it. I think Sean broke a bunch of drums. And it was so good. Like it was such a good feeling and I just was so not there. I had to go so far in a weird direction to be there properly. It's a very sensitive thing to say but it's true. Yeah, I just think as we look forward we really want to just try to make every concert experience or if we're going to play music let's have it mean something. We put together a set of our gear that just like packs away into smaller cases. They become pretty large. Here's what I remember. One of my favorite moments from 2009. And then when Bon Iver came back a few years later. Both the same songs and I hate that it's the big hit. But Justin sitting in a chair and playing Skinny Love for what felt like a tent crowd that never ended. It's gorgeous and it's amazing live. The only problem I have with it is that it created a culture of everyone's a singer songwriter. It is played at every open mic that has ever existed since 2008 and it probably will always. It's like when cameras got really good on your phone everybody became a photographer. When Skinny Love came out everybody's a singer songwriter. Yeah, because you get to be so earnest. Oh yeah, right. You get to really give it back to that girl that broke your heart. Exactly. Get to prove how earnest you are. Right. I always use that word earnest. Ernest. Like church folk music. Right. Going back to that whole locking himself in the cabin kind of thing. It really transformed him. Not just musically but talk about finding yourself. Right, he seems like a guy who's always trying to find himself. That's what makes him so interesting to me is because if I had a little bit more intelligence and I was a little bit more neurotic and I was a little bit more how could I be. Yeah, right. I think that I would be doing the exact same thing as he would. Locking myself in a cabin and trying to disassociate from the world and refine myself. And probably go through that every few years. Yeah, I think we're going to hear a bit of an interview from him later where he talks about performing and it's interesting to hear and to think about sometimes artists like that who go so deep deeply introspective they don't always want to go out and share because it's so personal and all. Well, look at Neutral Milk Hotel. Yeah. I mean the man put his life and soul into two albums and it broke him. It's like I gotta get the hell out of here. That's what I mean. And then to go relive it for 90 minutes or two hours. For a year and a half. For a year and a half. That'd be hard to do. This is him talking and it sort of gets you to the heart and soul of what the show is going to be at Bonnaroo. So if you're looking for clues and trying to figure out what exactly they're going to do for two sets, I liked his description of the shows and what his thought on tours in general are. I think one thing is when you go on tour, every friend that I have that gets a record deal and gets to go out on tour, they just go and we went and almost all of them hit a wall of some kind or another. And it's not even a bad thing. Like people make runs and it's an amazing experience and it's not a bad thing necessarily. Like I don't regret anything that really we've done because I didn't know what I knew before that. But something we're going to do different now I think is just, I think how you schedule a tour and it's like well let's do that and we have to go to Pittsburgh and DC and Cleveland and it's really really hard to quantify it like that. You can't just go and be everywhere and to be in demand is a wonderful thing. But if you just go, it's a wonderful thing because it means you get to do what you love for a long time. Many times. But if you just go and you're not replenishing yourself with reasons to make music or you're not necessarily figuring out ways to change the music you have, like Bon Iver went on tour with like less than 10 songs for like a long time. And we did a good job, you know, and it was really fun and we had the best of times. You burn out on that. Curating a different show every time you get on stage. Trying to figure out specific ways that you can make this experience different each and every time. I love that. I love that part of the artistry of this. Yeah, it's, you know, you and I don't tour. We don't perform. Just wait. Just wait, buddy. Wait until I get my indie band that doesn't exist together yet. I think it's sometimes hard to understand that, what he's talking about. We, you know, years and years we've heard of the Neil Youngs and the Dylans and the Van Morrison's who have a reputation of being sort of hard to deal with or persnickety or whatever. And I think it comes down to kind of what he's just talking about is it's not just call it in every night, you know. It's not 200 nights of the same thing or it shouldn't be to guys like that. It has to mean something. So that would be tough to put yourself out there and rip yourself open every night and look out at, you know, blank faces staring back at you. Right. And then creating a level of expectation for yourself that you have to match every single day. That too, yeah. That's, you know, I don't know the reasons why he cancelled half of his tour as soon as 22 a million came out. I don't know why, but I can probably figure it out. I can probably figure out based on the kind of guy that he is. Yeah. He's trying to set a very high bar and match it every single time he goes on stage, which is why, did you see the story of how Bon Iver put together a dance show? Yes. So the other night in some sort of, was it a Wisconsin theater? I think it was Chicago. Okay. So they mash up a dance collaboration. They put a collaboration with the dance troupe and Bon Iver songs and it was highly regarded. The reviews of this show were just through the roof and how it was some about social and racial justice and some of it was just pretty dancing along with Bon Iver songs. He debuted new material. Right. I mean, if you start trying to ask yourself, what is this show going to be at Bon Iver? Right. Uh-oh, here's another wrinkle. I mean, it could be, he could bring out, you know, the dance troupe and have that as your late night witch show. And see, isn't that interesting? Because as a fan, I would like to see that show. I think I would too. But I understand why he can't do that every night. Do you know what I mean? Is that it's that thing. How? He's not necessarily Beyonce. It's pretty tough. Right. So, I mean, that's, it's an interesting, it's an interesting dilemma. There's certain artists I mentioned, Van Morrison, that is on my bucket list. But in the back of my head, I'm thinking if it's a good Van Morrison show, you know, he might do what he wants to do and it might not be what I wanted to see. So there, then that come, there's that question of, is it his responsibility to give me what I paid my money for or is it my responsibility to accept what he wants to present? That is a great question. And I think of it like I go to a restaurant, right? Some restaurants, like Hole in the Wall Mexican Joint, I wanted exactly the way that I want it. Right. But if I'm going to a five-star Michelin-starred restaurant, I'm taking whatever you're giving me, pal. Right. You're the artist here, not me. Just give me whatever you think my palate needs. That's a great point. And hopefully you knew that when you went into the restaurant. Right. And if you didn't, it's on you. It's on you. Yeah, I agree. I'm not one that has to hear the hits the exact same way they're on the radio from certain artists. As long as it's honest and well presented. You know, Paul McCartney went for a decade where I guess he was tired of doing them all the same way. And I didn't care for what he was doing. Right. But the show we saw four or five years ago, on the other hand, was great. So, you know, it's a tough call and I get it. I can't imagine, and you know, you've interviewed artists as well as I have that play the same thing over and over and over and over. I can't imagine what that's like, but I also, you know, they'll tell you that pays the bills. Yeah. So, I mean, it's an interesting question. Well, the question comes back to what is the show going to be? And if I look through info room, I look through Reddit and I talk to at least some people who may know what's going on. Here's what I'm putting my money on. You got a, like Ashley said, a regular Bon Iver show and then play 22 a million in its entirety. It would take you about 45 minutes with shortened set times at Bonnaroo. By the way, which I want to talk about here in a little bit because the schedule came out this week. Is he plays 22 a million completely. And then the second set is basically a super jam of artists that he wants to join. Yeah, I wondered about that too. That would be cool. I think that it would work. I mean, he's played with James Blake. Kanye loves him. He's adored by the industry. I don't see how that doesn't work. Yeah. Now, I'm not going to say no to the dance troupe showing up and doing that either. Yeah. You know, a question that I just thought of, I wish we had asked Ashley is whose idea was it for him to do, for them to do two sets? I wonder if they already had in mind they wanted to do two or if Ashley in that group of five that does the booking offered it. I don't know. So he writes this beautiful folksy indie, you know, acoustic guitar based album for Emma Forever Ago. Then he decides to plug in the guitars, add some horns, talks to Bruce Hornsby and writes Bon Iver Bon Iver. That was 2012, right? 2008, 2012. He had been around in touring and a massive star for what, five years? I mean, how many years? He did this for and then he gets nominated for a Grammy. Best New Artist. He wins a Best New Artist Grammy four years after his original album comes out. How does that happen? It happens all the time. I have no idea. Yeah, guys, a third record will get nominated for Best New. It makes no sense. I don't put much into it. Now, I remember that year because when Bon Iver won Best New Artist, there were two responses on Twitter. It was this guy's been around forever, forever, four years. And then two, who is Bon Iver? One or the other. There's nothing in between. Well, it wasn't a lot of top 40 hits, I don't think. Was there? No, not for Bon Iver. Not for Bon Iver, no. And was that the first time that you sort of engaged with that? Was that your first interaction with him? Yes, I think so. As I've said before, a lot of my listening, especially in that period, was based around my kids who were teenagers. So, discovering. Definitely Bon Iver fell into that mix. It wasn't something that I found. It was something that was probably played in the car or in the house. And you had a young daughter. I'm shocked that she wasn't playing you Skinny Love. She had to have been. She was. Yeah. Yeah, she was. And I mean, I was aware of it. It just wasn't on my playlist. I mean, I knew it and liked it. Now, when you listen back to it now and seeing how the career and the shape of his music has changed and shifted so much, what was your impression going from album one to album two? I just thought the sound. And I want to make another point. CDs and playlists and Spotify and all that. I don't know how you were. You're probably better at knowing names because you have to in your line of work. There was a lot of music I was listening to that I couldn't tell you who the artist was. Right. Just because it was on the shuffle or whatever. It was made for you. Made for me. And we're spoiled now where it shows up on a screen on your radio or whatever. But back then, it didn't really. So there was a lot of music that I probably listened to and knew and liked. I mean, as an aside, I hate to make this top 40, but it was remarkable in our industry, at least in my industry where Rihanna had what, four number one singles. And we couldn't as a radio station give those tickets away when she would come around town. You know why? Nobody knew who she was. Nobody knew who Rihanna was. She had top single, number one single after number one single. She was just a sound that people understood. Now she's a major star that it would never in a million years would you find somebody who doesn't know who Rihanna is unless they're in a cabin in Wisconsin under a snow pile. But that's to your point. Yeah, it was curated for us for a long time. And if you didn't go out and search and find it and absorb it, it could live in the background forever. Yes. I mean, I can think now of Decemberus or one of those bands that I couldn't have told you the name or who it was, but I listened to it all the time. Decemberus Vampire Weekend, one of those things. Exactly. It sounds good when it's on. It fits my mood. At Vampire Weekend for sure. Portugal the man. Yeah, a lot of that stuff. I just, who is that? Who is that? And who is Bon Iver? He gets that second album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver written by Bon Iver, performed by Bon Iver. And he gets nominated for best new artist. That's weird. The best new artist that's been around for four years is incredibly strange. But to have a, by the way, I was at that Grammys that year when Bon Iver won. I was legitimately standing up. Nobody around me was like, what in the, who in the hell is going on? I'm just losing my mind excited. So Bon Iver wins the best new artist Grammy. The one that shocked me was he was nominated for Song of the Year. How does a random independent artist who's on the record label Jag Jag, Jaguar. What is it? Jag Jag, Jag Jaguar. Jag Jaguar, yeah. I don't even know who they are. How does that happen? Don't you think though that sometimes the industry reacts weirdly? Weirdly. And he talks about that a lot. He speaks about how much he dislikes the industry and award shows and awards in general and recognition because of that. Because of how weird it is and there's really no sense to it. No, and it's like a rubber band theory. It stretches so far and then it reacts weirdly and then it goes back to the way it was. So that may be just one of those years where people tried to make a point, whatever it was. And he happened to be the beneficiary, I guess. So the song Holocene from Bon Iver nominated for record and Song of the Year. Do you remember who beat him that year at the Grammys Barry Courter? I do not. That would be Adele. Adele sweeping everything that year. This is the What Podcasts. Welcome. That's Barry Courter for the Chattanooga Times 3 Press. I'm Brad from Hits96 WDOD in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So the big news over the week about Bonnaroo, of course, the schedule came out. The official schedule came out pretty damn close to what happened with the leak that we talked about last week. Bon Iver finds himself, themselves in an interesting spot, at least for me, because I don't... This is what I don't like and this is where I get very picky. I understand conflicts and I'm okay if it's a conflict conflict where I just have to like walk away and say I'm just not going to be seeing them. Like, for instance, a future guest on the podcast, hopefully First Aid Kit. Right. I might be missing that show considering it's up against Anderson Pock. Yeah, yeah, I saw that this morning. I might just have to write that one off. Yeah, it happens. I mean, it happens. I'm okay with that. Where I have a problem is, let me explain to you my schedule for Saturday night. Anderson Pock at 9 o'clock, 8.45 on the What stage. It ends at 10 o'clock. At 10 o'clock, Bon Iver on the Which stage. At 11 o'clock, it ends. Eminem starts. At 12.10, Eminem ends. And Bon Iver starts five minutes later. That's not good for optimal viewing. You know what I mean? That's not going to be the easiest trek going from stage to stage through 80,000 people. No, you know, something I've never quite understood is why the What stage is fenced off like it is. I just have never under... Everything else is so wide open, but the What stage is... You're talking about the channel that you basically have to go through? I've never quite understood why just that one is that way. Because it creates what you're talking about. The show ends... The log jam. The log jam. There's really only two major ways in. So here, I guess the reason why I bring this up is to round about to, I think, a bigger question about Bon Rue in general. Are you a Bon Rue pop in? Yeah, the walk-by. Are you a walk-by? I'm a walk-by. Or you stick it through? I'm a walk-by. I like seeing a whole show. I like seeing from the beginning to the end the entire piece. I'm not necessarily a walk-by guy. I feel as though I never ever get into something like that. If it's a bad show and I'm not into it, I'll just leave. But I want to give you my full undivided attention for the entire performance. I've changed on that and I'll tell you why. I go for work. I'm there... Me too. Yeah, yeah. I actually am. Brad is very busy if the bosses are listening, by the way. I'm very busy maintaining Camp Nut Butter, okay? Exactly. I'm there taking pictures. I'm there writing stories and all that stuff. So for the longest time, it got into my head that I needed to be up front. Partly because I can. And I know you like being up front. I have to be up front or else I'm just not in it. And so I like to get up there and take photographs, get in the pit and whatever. And then they kick me out. You get the three songs or whatever. And so for some reason, I had it stuck in my head that, well, if I'm not up front, I'm not happy. And then I'll tell you, I went to see My Morning Jacket with Adam and Monica Kinsey here, who are club owners and longtime Bonnaroo goers, which is why I mentioned them. They took a blanket and got a space way in the back in the field behind the sound and were just happy as they could be. I ended up watching the show there with them and I thought, I kind of like this. I don't really need to see sweat on the face. I'm not one of those... And I tell you what I can't stand is being up front and having people constantly coming up to push me out of the way. Well, you know... I'm not that guy and I hate... I don't like being around those people. I understand the theory behind the blanket field dweller. I get the blanket field dweller lifestyle. But let me just tell you, and I'm sure there's a certain show where that makes a lot of sense. I did that for Radiohead and that was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my Bonnaroo career. I was majorly upset with myself. People are different. What's interesting is my young guy that I know is one of these got to be up front guys. And he does all the tricks and he got up front and somebody was trying to pull one of the tricks on him. The elbow and he said, put your elbow. Oh, yeah. He was mad at the guy doing what he was doing. Yeah, we know the game. We all know the game. But he was mad at this guy. I'll tell you what my favorite, my favorite get up front guy story is the get up front guy was at. Oh, man, I cannot remember the show. It might have been Stevie Wonder got up way up front. I mean, there was only maybe four rows of people in front of me. This son of a bitch gets in front of me, weasels his way in front of me and plops down a lawn chair. Are you out of your mind? I'll tell you my worst. And maybe this is why I feel this way going back to 30 years ago, the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park. They went on the road and they took it to Grant Field in Atlanta. I went with my girlfriend at the time and her sister. My girlfriend at the time was a get up front person. She insisted that we got there late. People had gotten there early and put their blankets down on the field. She insisted that we get up closer. So we got there 15 minutes before showtime and we stood. People had put their four blankets corner to corner checkerboard. There was about six inches of grass between two of these blankets. We stood there. That is savagery, man. Oh, we were they the things that were said to us about those people because we just stood there like pretending to be invisible. And I was miserable. I couldn't all I wanted to do was leave. That's terrific. The other stuff that's playing on Saturday as the schedule came out, we've got Sylvanesso. I'm very excited about. I hope that we can talk to on the podcast. We've got Mavis Staples making her triumphant return to Bonnaroo playing the witch stage of 545. Moses Sumney I'd like to talk about in another episode too. I think that they are incredibly good and somebody we featured last week on our Bonnaroo roulette Larkin Po. Some of your Saturday artists. Now, we got a comment through the website, the whatpodcast.com this week that really turned the wheels in my brain and made me start thinking about things a little bit differently than I had ever before. I don't know who it was. What was the comment? What was the guy's name? James Price. James. OK. First of all, thanks to everybody for emailing us. I love them. Yeah. And by the way, it's the reason you should email and give us a comment or interact is it's your entry into Bonnaroo. It could be a Bonnaroo ticket for you, which by the way, we're going to do the drawing next week. Yeah. Next week, we're doing the drawing for the Bonnaroo tickets and we'll announce it right here on the podcast. I was going to say we need to get that done. But James, he offers a potential question for us to discuss. Says the past couple of rules have had the announced headliner set times reduced from previous years and the schedule has just that was just announced this week continues that trend. He says 2013 was his first rule with Tom Petty, Pearl Jam. But the headlining time slots are a joke now, he says. Man, I'm going to go you one step further. Every single set time is shorter across the board. I just one hour 15 for Muse, one hour 20 for the Killers. An hour 15 for Muse. Muse could play for three hours. I'll go you one step better. Do you know how long the set is for Eminem? I think he's 70 minutes. Yeah, 70 minutes. I have a theory, man, like I didn't notice it before. I didn't notice it before when he said that. I know people have brought this up before, but now Rodgers is going to do an hour. Anderson Paak is the longest, I think, headlining slot at an hour 15. And I think that's probably because he has no music coming out. I guess the Killers doing an hour 20 is up there. Alt J only doing an hour, Future doing an hour. I think it goes back and I hate to be simplistic about this, but back to exactly what we were just saying a few minutes ago. The Bonnaroo walk by. I may be totally off base here, but what if they're reducing set times? A, they probably get it for a little cheaper. And B, they're maximizing what they're seeing the audience do. And they're not sticking around through extended sets. They're popping from artist to artist to artist. Maybe. And so there's no need for an artist to do an hour and a half, two hour sets anymore. That's not who the audience is. That's not who's at Bonnaroo anymore. That, I think, is probably some of it. I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. And we have a couple of ideas for future shows with some industry people, some friends of yours. Maybe we can ask them. That's a good idea. I know that in the past, especially arena shows that used to tour, 90 minutes was the limit because you got into union issues with some of the crew. If it went over that. And I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not. But let's for instance, when I saw Spoon of Bonnaroo a couple years ago, they played a solid hour. When I saw them in Atlanta just a few weeks ago, it was a good hour 45. Yeah. Now that is just part of the festival experience. The sets are going to be shorter. Why? I don't know. Which is completely a different trend than what Bonnaroo was. What it used to be. That's right. My morning jacket was four hours. And that was always, we'd mentioned on here the expectation the year the police was there that it was going to be a special extended. And it wasn't. It's just not going to be like that anymore. This is a different world. Yeah, I don't know. I really don't even know that I can speculate. Well, that's my theory. My theory is that- We need to look into it. My theory is that the attention span is just not there anymore. I don't know if the audience is doing an hour and a half show anymore. I think there's some of us that would do it. But like you, like you used to be bouncing from show to show is sort of the norm. Yeah, that's absolutely. Yeah, I'm gonna walk by. I'll admit it. There are bands that I'll go just to say I saw, you know, laid eyes on. And if it interests me, I'll stick around. Saturday, Bony Vare, The Witch Stage, not doing the what then the witch, just doing The Witch Stage, bookending Eminem, right before Eminem, right after Eminem. I have a feeling like one of the shows is going to be 22 a million, the entire show. And if you look at some of the shows that he's done previously, what he will do is a full 45 minute set of 22 a million, and then do an encore of another hour of just Bony Vare stuff. So if the safe money is on something like that, and if that's the case, I am going to be a absolute giddy teenager because 22 a million, this is where I'm not going to be able to shut up. I truly feel like the best art is the art that you continually talk about, no matter if you like it or not. I, for instance, didn't like Avatar. I didn't think Avatar was a good movie at all. But I was talking about that damn movie for a month. It always came up. I can't stop talking about 22 a million, and it's been out for, what, 16 months? It was not only my favorite album of 2016, but it may be one of my favorite albums of all time. And I'm going to blow your mind. When it first came out, me and one of our camp mates were talking about it. I said, boy, I hate this. It is such a difficult and struggle of a listen, but it is the most rewarding album I can remember pouring myself into. Yeah, that is good art. That's what it's supposed to do is trigger something. Well, when you listen to it, what do you hear? You didn't come into it as a Bony Vare fan. To be fair, I probably need to give more to fully speak to that. I listen a couple of different ways. Sometimes it's just atmosphere as background, and then sometimes it's headphones on. And I haven't done that with it yet. So it's a strange listen for somebody like you who did the catalog all at once. Went from the folksy indie stuff to plugging in some guitars and adding horns to the transition to complete and utter chaos. That is $22 million. And I love the way that Justin talked about what he was actually wanting from this album. I was trying to find myself. I did not. But I did find that I was incredibly bored and kind of panicking a lot. I was just kind of wrestling with the fact that I felt really poor at that time. Just kind of got back to my room and just I was kind of humming on the way home like, it might be over soon, like if this feeling might be over. And so I just got back and sang just some improvisation into a little sampler called the OP-1, which I use a lot to make the album. It just chops up. You can chop up what it is. And when you chop up part of the sample, it sounded like it was two, two. And so it was like 22 is my favorite number. And I've always thought that it reminded me of a duality, like a paradox, like a coin has two sides kind of thing. Yeah, just a duality in general. And I thought that it might be over soon is kind of a perfect kind of conjecture to that idea that, oh man, it might be over soon. Like, oh no, I want it to last forever. Or it like, it might be over soon. Thank you, God. Then that's when I kind of figured out that it was like about the album was going to be numbers and 22 is my thing. And yeah, kind of grew from that. All right, Barry Courter, we're gonna play a brand new game. We're adding a brand new game to the What Podcast today. All right, you ready? I'm ready. All right, is it a Bony Bear lyric or did I just make it up? Okay, all right. So Bony Bear, if there's anything that gets me the most about Justin and his songwriting is he literally just makes up words. He makes up words and he writes songs. Like a lot of times he'll write songs and just hum out sounds and he'll create words that just fit the sound that he's looking for. That's what I find so creative about him. Like he will just pull words out of thin air that make- I wish I could do that in my writing. You should, try it. That make no sense. Probably been accused of it. Well, when you're trying to spell my name, yeah, it's pretty bad. When he'll just pull words out of thin air just because it fits the sound that he wants. Right. All right, all right. So I'm gonna play a little game. Is it a Bonnaroo lyric or is it a Bony Bear lyric or did I just make it up? All right, clever name, right? Yep. All right, here we go. I'm unorphaned in our northern lights, dedicating every daemon taken in the tall grass of the mountain cable. Did I make that up or is that a real Bony Bear lyric? I'm gonna say based on your description, that is a real lyric. That is a real Bony Bear lyric. All right, here's another one. Even in my demons come talk for a finer cause, only love for long along with every grimy word. Real Bony Bear lyric or did I just make it up? I don't think you could make that up. Hmm, you think it's a real Bony Bear lyric? I think it's a real lyric. I just made it up. That's good. We'll do one more. You channeled your... that's good. All right, let's do one more. I was unafraid, I was a boy, I was a tender age, mellick in the naked, knew a lake and drew the lofts for page. Oh man. That is an actual Bony Bear lyric from Michigan. Yes, it's a very tough game, isn't it? Let me say the song that you played just before we came back is the one that I thought my stereo at home was broken. That's the one where I heard people talking on the other side of the wall. It is a bizarre album but that's what I love about it. And the reason why I love these lyrics so much, even though they don't make any sense sometimes, serious music people will find definition in what they want to find. And sometimes I think we take all of this way too seriously, we think way too much about it. Sometimes I think Justin is just putting stuff out there because it sounds right and he wants to let you be the decider. Let you figure it out and go from there. He'll take whatever it is you say. Yeah, not to get too deep into the woods but there is a trend in the art world and I'm really glad to see it. Part of my job at the paper, I write about everything. Music just is one of them. But serious museums like the one we have here. You're talking about song birds, the guitar museum. No, I'm talking about the Hunter Museum of American Art. Paintings, oil paintings. The theory used to be you had to have an education, you had to know about brush stroke and color and what was the artist trying to say and all that. And it turned a lot of people off. It created this whole perception of art snob type of thing and there's a real trend now and our museum is one of them. It's whatever you see. If it makes you think of childhood or whatever. I'll stop you right there. If it makes you think. If it makes you feel, think anything. You can't explain why, you don't care why. If it just makes you smile or it makes you feel sad or whatever, that is your honest feeling. Right. It's a big change. It's a very serious change. And I think that's a long way of saying what you were just saying. And that's the point of what he puts into that music is, if it's tinkling glasses, then it works. And it's definitely not going to follow a chorus, verse, verse, chorus structure. And he talks about that. Speaking of art, I've often said it's like going from Corema and then Bon Iver all the way to 22 A Million. It's almost like if Picasso decided to stop doing what he was doing and just start painting football games. It wouldn't make any sense. And he talks about that transition into 22 A Million. Listen to this. The moment for me was when I was making the second song, the song that was supposed to come directly second. And that's actually been around quite a long time. It's called 10 Death Breasts now, but it was called Lester Check for a long time after our friend Ben Lester kind of helped us make it, that song. But we had it on, we had it very early on. Me and B.J. Burton had this drum loop and it just sounded broken down, like he said, and messed up a little bit. And personally, what I was going through and just what I found other people are going through is like a lot of anxiety and things like that. And that for me got me up out of my seat and made me want to break it down, crush something or do something. It was aggressive sounding. So that, when I had that going on, it was kind of almost finished basically, right when we made it. So we had to kind of sit on it for three years or whatever it's been. But that kind of is like a song, a caveat, I guess, if you will, that I wanted to build around. And that was like, all right, this sounds like breaking open a new fabric or something. That is the moment when I'm probably going to lose my mind at the witch stage at Bonnaroo 2018. I cannot wait for Bone Yvair. And I am apologizing to you right now, Barry. I am going to be talking about this. Probably every day until I see it. Weeping, crying, mush. I could not be more excited about Bone Yvair. It's going to be fun. All right. So as we get closer to Bonnaroo, I think if we can give you a suggestion, and I'm telling you this because I haven't talked to you about this, it's meeting time. Yes. It's time to, I think I suggest that you get your camp mates together and start talking about camp. You start planning camp. You start making your schedule, talk about the schedule with your camp mates. Everybody comes with their list of don't miss. Yeah. Acts. That's right. Surprise acts, secret acts. And by the way, if you haven't gotten Bonnaroo tickets, go ahead and get them now and be a part of the fun. Yeah. Join in. So I want to do a meeting. Let's have a meeting. You want to have a meeting. You want to get the camp nut butter guys together? Yep. Camp nut butter. We need to call a camp nut butter meeting. What do you think? Next Sunday after the podcast? Yeah, there you go. I like it. All right. Good idea. You're buying? You're buying the beers? Yeah. Maybe we can even have them in. That'd be interesting. The whole camp? We do a camp nut butter. Oh my God. That'd be funny. Let's think about that. Let's invite them in and we'll record it. But let's not promise it's going to ever make it. Yeah, because I don't know how well it's going to go. That's a good idea. It's just a lot. It's just too many inside jokes. I just want to mention what we do have planned, we hope. You mentioned First Aid Kit. I'd love to talk to First Aid Kit. I love those girls. Hoping that happens this week. Mike from Relics was kind enough to reach out. I think we're going to have him. That'd be awesome. That'd be really cool. They do the Beacon. Yeah, the Bonnaroo Beacon. They print the newspaper every day. He's been there every year except the first one, I think. So he'll have some really cool insights. I can't wait. That sounds like a blast. And your guy, Labelhead. Yeah, a guy from Columbia Records, one of the top guys of Columbia Records, who stops by our camp each and every year just to be amongst the camp nut butter nonsense. I can't remember his exact title, but he's one of those guys that when he walks into the room, you're like, oh, the entire Columbia Records entourage is here. Gotcha. I'd love to talk to him and get his perspective on what the festival means to him specifically and more generally, where the industry is for festivals. I can't wait to talk to him because he's like Ashley when we talk to him. They are in the business as we are, but they're music fans. He goes and does the festivals. So we're in the business. They are the business. They are the business, exactly. All right. We'll talk to you next week on the What Podcast. Thank you. So whatpodcast.com at the what underscore podcast on Twitter. Bye. Hey, hey, hey, hey. How y'all feeling? Journey through the stories that define the artists playing by the rules. Who are they? What are they? What will you see? The what? Which bands? This year? That matter? With Brad Steiner and Barry Quir.