The Ugliest Indie Feud of 2014

Let's assume you don't follow the indie-rock blogosphere. You may never have heard of Mark Kozelek or his project Sun Kil Moon. Think of him as like an acoustic guitar-playing, folkie version of Trent Reznor; he's a brilliant musician who performs under the name Sun Kil Moon. It's a "band" in the same sense Nine Inch Nails is a band, but at the end of the day, Sun Kil Moon is Mark Kozelek.

I used to be a fan of his, but I am no longer. If you don't know who Sun Kil Moon is, you likely don't know why that is, so here's a little background on exactly why Kozelek may be the most immature, idiotic person in the indie world and why I can no longer stomach even his older recordings.

It all started during a Sun Kil Moon set at this year's Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, when the Ohio-born Kozelek became enraged over the crowd talking during his set. This is an understandable concern, but he exploded, telling them to "shut the fuck up" and calling them "fucking hillbillies."

I'm used to abusive musicians; I'm even a fan of many. But this reaction was uncalled for, and ironically funny considering Kozelek plays music that finds its roots in places like North Carolina, performed by people he'd probably describe as "hillbillies." But I digress. If this had been a one-off incident, I'd have forgotten it quickly.

It wasn't. First, he made a shirt with "all you fuckin' hillbillies shut the fuck up" printed on it, exacerbating the issue. He could have let it go. Instead, he tried to turn it into a joke and dug himself a deeper hole. This has become a recurring theme in Kozelek's life lately.

Next, he was performing at the Ottawa Folk Festival when he overheard a band called The War on Drugs playing at the same time as him. Bleed-through is to be expected at festivals of this nature, and it irritated the apparently ornery Kozelek enough that he launched into a rant about them and their "beer commercial lead guitar shit." Then he made a joke about playing a song called "The War on Drugs Can Suck My Fucking Dick."

Again, relatively forgettable, normal incident among musicians. I've heard things like this a million times at shows. But Kozelek is never one to let something die.

After The War on Drugs, who were fans of Kozelek's as well, expressed sadness on Twitter over his comments, Kozelek issued a sort-of-kind-of apology. He explained he would have made the same jokes regardless of who was bleeding through into his set, but he said some nice things about them. At that point, it should have been over.

Instead, Kozelek freaked out immediately about this being reported as an apology and once again had a go at The War on Drugs. In his somewhat incoherent rant, he insulted the band all over again, then challenged them to play a song called "The War on Drugs: Suck My Cock/Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself" with him.

Story continues on the next page.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Corey Deiterman