by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Conor Oberst did an interview with Rolling Stone, posted online last week (and in the current issue), that was more of a sidebar than a full-blown interview. Still, the writer, Patrick Doyle, managed to cram a lot of little facts into the piece, all handled nonchalantly.
Facts like: Conor has been secretly married for three years. Conor spent six months writing a screenplay that got shit on. Conor is working with a producer other than Mike Mogis on his next record. All of these facts were laid out without any explanation as to why they happened, reported matter-of-factly as mere asides. Sort of like, “Oberst then pulled down his trousers and revealed he was born with a tail. ‘Yeah, I’ve had it my whole life,’ Oberst said. ‘It’s the reason I’ve never been photographed swimming.’” No follow-up from Doyle, just move right along to the next question on the list. Very odd.
Oberst’s marriage has been widely rumored for years among people outside of his inner circle (who, presumably, knew all along). I got a tip about it back in 2010. “You should ask about how Conor got married last weekend in New York,” someone told me. So I did. I asked around and no one would confirm it. It’s one of those little things that would be embarrassing to report without a confirmation. More like gossip than news.
But Oberst’s marriage is significant in how the relationship played into his rather vocal, rather public protests against immigration laws in Fremont and Arizona in 2010. At the time, Oberst never really explained why he was leading the protest. Had he explained the context — the personal nature of his concern — it would have resonated with more people than just his fans. Instead, here he was raising his fist against backwards-thinking immigration laws, leaving people wondering “Why the fuck does this rich, suburban white boy care so much about the plight of illegal immigrants?”
But the most surprising revelation from the RS article was this line: “‘She’s the reason to go home,’ he says, digging into a sausage pizza (he recently started eating meat again).” This was a true what-the-fuck moment. Oberst, once a vegan, has proudly hoisted the banner of vegetarianism for a long time — for as long as I’ve been listening to his music. Out of nowhere he drops the lifestyle and does it in a way that couldn’t be more “in your face” to vegetarians — eating a sausage pizza with a reporter. Of course there’s zero context for any of this in the article, no explanation and apparently no question from Doyle as to what happened and why, just Conor eating his sausage pizza, a statement unto itself.
On one level, it couldn’t be more flip; on another, what could Oberst have said about eating a sausage pizza that wouldn’t have offended a die-hard vegetarian?
Below, from the Peta website circa sometime in the first half of the last decade.
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It’s looking like another blah week for indie shows.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.