Father John Misty is a little trickster. He’s always up to something, always trolling. The purveyor of archly romantic chamber-pop, whose 2015 album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ is a loved-up masterpiece, has made a neat sideline as an absolute piss-taker. Most recently, he’s launched a line of merch clothing that looks suspiciously Kanye West’s’ The Life of Pablo’ range, though instead bears the words, “The Life of Padre”. But this is only the latest in a long line of wind-ups. Join us, then, as we explore Misty’s maddest moments.
When he covered Taylor Swift in the style of Lou Reed
What a strange set of words that is. Amused by Ryan Adams’ covers album of Tay’s ‘1989’, Father John recorded ‘Welcome To New York’ and ‘Blank Space’ in Reed’s apparently imitable style, tweeting the link with the words, “My interpretation from the classic Ryan Adams album ‘1989’. He later took down the songs, claiming Reed came to him in a dream and said, ‘Delete those tracks. Don’t summon the dead – I am not your plaything.” Wrong, Lou: the world is Father John Misty’s plaything.
When he promoted a fake online streaming service called SAP
That’s Streamline Audio Protocol and the only album it carried was ‘I Love You, Honeybear.’ The songs where just lame muzak versions on the actual songs from the album. In a statement, Father John poked fun at the idea that people stream music so they can weigh up whether to buy it, calling the service a “a new signal-to-audio process by which popular albums are “sapped” of their performances, original vocal, atmosphere and other distracting affectations, so the consumer can decide quickly and efficiently whether they like a musical composition, based strictly on its formal attributes, enough to spend money on it.”
When he trolled Spotify on their own turf
Yeah, he’s got in for streaming services full stop, it seems. Invited to perform at Spotify HQ, Father John delivered karaoke-style renditions of ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ and ‘Bored in the USA’, replete with shitty swirling lights and a naff smoke machine.
When he discussed the futility of the entertainment industry at a music festival
Pick your moments, Father John. Earlier this year, while onstage at XPN Festival in Philadelphia, he lamented the pointlessness of entertainment by saying, “Stupidity fucking runs the world because entertainment is stupid. Do you guys realise that?” He ended the set 30 minutes early and played only two songs, an improvised jam that made withering observations about the festival and a cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Bird On A Wire’, which was requested by a fan. He was allegedly spotted cackling about his bad behaviour afterwards.
When he took credit for stealing a rose-quartz crystal
A what? Fuck knows, but Amanda Chantal Bacon, who owns the Los Angeles health food store Moon Juice and is admired by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, posted on Instgram that a “rose-quartz crystal” had been stolen from her store. Father John responded with an Instagram post in which he expressed a wish “to claim responsibility” for the felony. Bacon had warned that “you do not want the energy of a stolen crystal” and Misty later posted a picture of some rose-quartz crystal earrings (for sale on his online store), promising, “You definitely do want the energy of these rose quartz earring sin your life.”
When he attempted to terrify a generation of children
Invited to write a lullaby for American chat show The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Misty penned a delightful ditty entitled ‘Maybe, Sweet One, You Won’t Have Nightmares Tonight’. Like everything with Misty, the title was ironic: the lyrics sounded like a bad fever dream, recounting the exploits of a child who collects dead birds and featuring the line, “You forget how to walk and your teeth become loose”. He wrote on Soundcloud: “I was asked to write a lullaby for Stephen Colbert as part of a skit for the show. Unfortunately the bit was cut for time/content.” No wonder: it makes the Brothers Grimm look like The Tweenies.
When he memed himself at the Brit Awards
Nominated for Best International Male, Misty attended the awards show this year, despite telling the BBC, “My publicist told me I have literally no chance of winning.” When Justin Bieber won in that category, Father John knew the camera would pan to him, so made sure to be caught looking disinterestedly at his phone. He then cut the resulting footage into clips of Donald Trump talking and clips from the footage from Kanye West’s Only One videogame. It’s Father John Misty’s internet, we just live in it.