Deirdre O'Callaghan The National have released the first single off their…
- Posted on Dec 8th 2011 12:00PM by Jenny Charlesworth
C Brandon, Redferns
Speaking to Q host Jian Ghomeshi during a live tapping of the CBC show in Toronto Thursday morning, Vernon addressed the comments he made to the New York Times regarding the Grammy's compromising artist integrity.
"I think I can stand behind all that stuff," he said. "I come from a place where music, growing up, was an expression, it was a journey, a vehicle for self-discovery. So I've always been a little bit hesitant of the industrial approach to music and making music."
"I don't think it's wrong," he continued. "Like, Micheal Jackson is the best, everyone loves Michael Jackson, but his success became sort of fuel on top of fire on top of fuel -- and obviously it didn't work out well for him personally. But the whole system is just bizarre to me, but at the same time people love it, [that kind of music is] on the Top 40 for some reason. I can't just sit here and say that I'm right."
Though Vernon's complaints about the award show were a previously unpublished part of an earlier interview, the Times only ran then the day after Bon Iver nabbed four Grammy nominations, including a Best New Artist nod. This created an awkward situation for the singer-songwriter, even more so if the band walks away with a golden gramophone or two on Feb. 12.
"I was a high-school football player and basketball player, and winning [was] awesome," he told Ghomeshi. "But music, when you win, it's almost like, 'Oh, I'm sorry.'"
That may be the only time Vernon says he's sorry, though. He's certainly not making any apologizes about his Grammy tirade or about licensing his music to a whiskey company (or about getting all sweaty in his workout video that just surfaced via The Daily Swarm.)
"What the Black Keys say is right ... in music you want musicians to be these immutable forces of purity, but it's tough. I remember Wilco did a car ad, and they were like, 'Well, we drive cars.'"
"You play that balance between doing what's right and feels good," he continued. "It doesn't always feel good to have your music be used for something it wasn't really made for, but you make those decisions, you live and you learn by them and it's certainly not something to feel bad about. I don't feel sure about any of that stuff, but you just have to say no to more things than you say yes to.
"I think you have to draw the line with what you're OK with being associated with. And sometimes you just say no because you're sick of hearing your song or you don't want other people to get sick of hearing your song. So with the Bushmills thing, my dad is a big Irish whiskey collector, and they're like, 'So we'll give you free Bushmills.' And I was, 'Yes. Free Christmas present for dad.'"
While Vernon stands by his choices, he admits it's a tough road.
"The worst feeling is you feel like you're a little bit alone. And it can be very silly, like, 'Oh man, I'm in middle school again,' and dealing with things I didn't think I'd have to learn lessons about, like saying something and having someone repeat it a bunch of times out of context and it becomes convoluted. But whatever, you have to let it roll off your back and know that it's not important."
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