Mark Kozelek is an Asshole… a Hilarious Asshole

Mark Kozelek aka Sun Kil Moon aka Red House Painters has been in my playlists since I was a teenager.  I’ve only gotten to see him a few times live, but he’s been on repeat for two decades in my house, in my car, in my room…shit, on my discman.  He’s been the soundtrack to nights smoking out on a airport runway at midnight, the background to cleaning my toilets, the airy symphony to cocktails in my backyard with friends.

I’ve written about him before.  But I have to mention him again today.  He’s released a hilarious song that’s unbearably catchy.  Unfortunately, it’s also being called throw down song, or even a “bullying” song.  Now if you read this remarkably comprehensive and decidedly accurate account of Mark,  you’ll realize that this song was inevitable.  Hell, if I were in “War on Drugs,” I’d be downright honored that Mark chose me to bitch slap.  Not because I’m a masochist, or I think he’s God, but because I think he’s hilarious.

Face it.  Red House Painters grew up surrounded in a world of hate.  While he silently built a catalog under the waves, bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden battled to overthrow Guns ‘n Roses and Poison and Motley Crew.  No one ever even noticed him, except us shoe gaze losers who took too many art and poetry classes in high school.

So, finally, the man makes a song about the Postal Service and suddenly he’s popular?  You know what, I might be a little fucking pissed myself. You’ve gotta mention Ben Gibbard by name just to have your song played on satellite radio indie stations?

But the truth is this.  I’ve seen him throw a single person out of a show.  I’ve seen him shit on Philly the last time he was here, repeatedly saying that the Philly show “was the New York warm up show.”  Oh, sure, he said he was joking, but then said he was not.  And the truth is, that’s the actual truth.  You know what…Philly has always been the warm up show for the big MSG arena concerts, and there are hillbillies and rednecks in North Carolina, and yelling out song requests at an artist in the middle of their sets is obnoxious.

And, who doesn’t like a good old rivalry and diss song.  I think Mark isn’t an asshole at all.  I think he’s got a very misunderstood sense of humor in a culture of too sensitive crybabies.  “Their hair is long and greasy and I hope they don’t have lice,” is quite possibly the cheesiest playground banter ever written into a song’s lyrics.  If War on Drugs were up to the challenge, then they should cover Mark’s song at their next gig.  And fire back.  Not because they’re enemies, but because their in the same war together in the music industry.  I believe they’d call that friendly fire, just as long as no one ends up dead.


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