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Sing Tweedy bird Sing | fake interview | Jeff Tweedy | Wilco | humor | Lollipop

Sing, Tweedy-bird, Sing!

by Jean-Paul Bavard
Interview Transcribed by Daniel Davis
Illustration by Daniel Frey

World Famous Music/Film/Theatre/Fashion/ Media Critic Jean-Paul Bavard met recently with Jeff Tweedy of the critically acclaimed band Wilco for an exclusive interview, in which they discussed Wilco's music, the recently released film about them, entitled I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, their struggles with their previous record label, and the pressures of fame, among other topics.

Jean-Paul Bavard: I am pleased to be here at this fabulous posh Beverly Hills bistro today, meeting with the amazing Genius Roger Wilco, the heroic lead writer/songsinger of the popular and critically admired Americana-Insurgent-Alternative-Indie-Country-Neo-Depression-Cowpunk-Twangcore group known as Def Tweety.

Jeff Tweedy: Uh, no, my name is Jeff Tweedy, and I'm in the band Wilco. And we're in a diner in Illinois, not a bistro, and in fact...

Jean-Paul Bavard: Ah, you are of course incorrect, but that is indeed a tres clever and subtle play on words, monsieur Wilco. Being on the outermost cutting edge of modern music and semiotic theory, I completely understand the ironic intent of such superstar game-playing, and will of course play along with your mildly amusing stratagem. As a virtually unknown yet critically-adored musical group with a tiny clump of devout fans, Roger Wilco's music is virtually unknown to anyone who is not currently driving a tractor across the corn-ensconced fruited plains of Iowa. Are you yourself still a farmer to this day, or do you perhaps instead drive a bigrig trailer-truck across the lonely highways and byways of America, leading a vagabond existence that reveals to you deep truths that escape most sophisticated urbanites who remain caught up in the daily routine of nine-to-five work, suits and ties, regular bathing, and literacy? Or perhaps you operate a NASCAR racing automobile, constantly turning left, left, only left, again and again in a subtle metaphor too complex and earthy to ever be truly understood by those of us who are not alcoholics or who have earned high school diplomas?

Jeff Tweedy: What? Uh, no, I've never been a farmer, or a NASCAR guy, or a truck driver, not that there's anything wrong with that...

Jean-Paul Bavard: What a truly fascinating anecdote. Combining your wonderful storytelling with your deep bass voice and cone-pone songwriting stylings, it is clear now why you are often referred to by critics as The Next Tennessee Ernie Ford. Be that as it may, we now move on to a more relevant topic: Your famous and heroic musical combo, Roger Wilco, recently was le sujet of a critically-adored film entitled I Am Trying to Break You Hard, detailing your band's petulant firing of their record label in a dispute over heroin and prostitutes. Critics and others who have not yet seen the film insist that it documents your incredible and heartwarming triumph over diversity. It includes several memorable and revealing scenes, such as the one displaying your amplifiers that go up to 11, and the tiny 18-inch version of Stonehenge that was mistakenly built for your concert tour. Does being portrayed in such a humiliating, embarrassing, ridiculous manner...

Jeff Tweedy: That was This is Spinal Tap! That wasn't our movie. Our movie's not a comedy, it's a real documentary!

Jean-Paul Bavard: It is so very charming that you believe that to be the case! Indeed, you seem to be a quite pleasant and down-to-dirt person. It has been well-documented that while you may downplay your "rock star" status, you seem equally dismissive of the "alt-country-neo-y'allternative-twangy-hayseed" tag that's stubbornly stuck with you ever since your days as leader of your first band, the legendary and pioneering cult avant-garde barbershop quintet known as Uncle Leopold. As literally dozens of obsessed, overall-clad hillbilly music fans know so well, after that legendary band's tumultuous breakup, you then formed Roger Wilco, releasing such wonderful albums as Ahem, Being Cher, and Some Are Teeth. And as if that was not enough, you then released the Sunvolt Ave album, interpreting the songs of the late great Arlo Guthrie, a collaboration recorded with the beloved English folksinger Benny Hill. And still you are not finished with recording! Despite all suggestions to the contrary, you continue to forge ahead and bravely release music that most people will never care about. The latest chart-bottoming album from your Slovenia-based boy band known as Wilco is entitled Foxy Hotel Yankfest, a concept album about rock superstardom, barnyard animals, and masturbation. Which of course begs the obvious question: If you could be any kind of tree in the world, what tree would you be? And would the sound that that tree makes when it falls in the forest with no one around be best described as neo-ambient or trance-core?

Jeff Tweedy: Are you talking to me? Because you lost me about ten minutes ago.

Jean-Paul Bavard: Ah, I will endeavor to speak slower and in words comprised of fewer syllables so that you may attempt to understand what we are discussing here today. As an Indie-alternative-progressive-country-roots-rock icon, you are the type of Genius Artist that always likes to keep several ears in the fire at one time. When you were recording your latest album, at what point did you first sense that the whole thing was about to sprout legs and fly around? And did your courageous status as the first openly gay Alt-country-neo-insurgent-twangcore superstar impact your perception of this in any way?

Jeff Tweedy: Uh, I'm not gay, I have a wife and children. Where do you get all this nonsense?

Jean-Paul Bavard: Ah, the famed Roger Wilco reticence that we all pretend to understand. Ca ne fait rein, we shall move on as always to deeper truths. Rather than waste our time on such trivialities as your record label struggles, let us rather discuss your music. By dropping most of the hillbilly country twang sound from your music on Foxy Hotel Yankfest, you risked alienating your redneck cracker fans. Was this a successful maneuver, or do some of them still enjoy your music?

Jeff Tweedy: All right, that's it, this interview is over, I'm out of here!

Jean-Paul Bavard: Alas, it seems that the brilliant genius Roger Wilco has been called away on some sort of alt-insurgent-country superstar business, perhaps involving cows or moonshine. I thank him for his time today and hope that our frank and insightful discussion here today has been as enlightening for him as it no doubt has been to those of you lucky enough to read this.  

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