Quotes: The Mountain Goats
"People think this song is a joke, but there's nothing funny about being in a goddamn hospital bed when you're twelve, and trying to explain to people that the music you wanna listen to isn't going to turn you into a serial killer or anything, it just makes you feel better."
"The thing is that the Satan I hail is Jesus Christ himself, buddy. The one who will bring you liberation from the people who try to stand between you and the things you dream about. I don't care what you call him. I don't care what he looks like on the black velvet paintings. . .that's God. That's God."
"When I woke up this morning, I had a feeling that I was reluctant to share with you, because it was violent and horrible. And what could possibly be worse than to share those sorts of feelings with a person on first awakening? It would be cruel. I don't want to be a cruel person. But I feel that you have made
me a cruel person. And when I say that I feel that it's you who's made me that person, I don't say that lightly, or without considering the subject and the object of that sentence, dude
"The thing is, about this song—the thing is, about this song, uhh, when—I mean, I'm still a young man, and I'm permanently a young man, no matter how old I start to look I'm still twenty, right? So, umm, but... but when you are a young writer, boys get this idea that to really, to really show a woman the depth and purity of your love, what you have to do is something drastic and stupid, right? And, uhh, and young writers think it would be really intense to have a guy always harm himself real bad. And then, you know, I tell these stories. And so, well, I was a young writer once, and here's a song about a guy who travels some place with a gun."
(Reluctantly) introducing "Going to Georgia"
Audience member #1: Happy Easter!
John: Well, Happy Easter to you.
Audience member #2: Fuck Christ!
John: You know, it's a funny thing. I have this Mercyful Fate shirt that I've been wearing, and on the back of it, it says, "I deny Jesus Christ, the Deceiver." Then you run into some health problems that you think are probably going to fuck you for your whole life. You try and cling to your atheism in those circumstances. It's rough waters. Suddenly you're — Shinto! Do you have anything to offer me, Shinto? Buddhism! How you doin'. I've missed you. I meant to call, I — Hey, how's it — hey. Mother Rome. It's, oh. Hey, how's it going. You seem to have churches everywhere. Good to see you.
Audience member #3: SUBMIT TO THOR!
John: ...I don't know what he said.
Audience member #4: Norse mythology!
John: No, what you do, is you worship the drummer from Shearwater, because he won't steer you wrong.
"People think that the suicidal are sitting there suffering in their own pain all day, just stewing, sitting there getting ready to express it. But really, what the suicidal are doing is watching Wheel of Fortune. Perhaps having a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Maybe another bowl. Somewhere in the middle of the second bowl, the meaninglessness of the entire universe begins to close in on them.
"This is a song that — I hope the time never comes that you will need to sing it. But it will. Because let's face it, you're going to have a really bad relationship someday. It'll be so bad, it's not just going to suck, it's going to suck ASS. It'll suck so much ass, you'll need to make up a chart to keep track of all the different asses that it sucks. An ass-chart. And one day your significant other will say, 'What's that up on the wall?' and you'll say 'Oh, those... those... are butts. Just butts.' and they'll say, 'The hell they are; that's an ass-chart!' And where will you be then, O Sinner? As the icy cold wraps itself around your heart, you will need a song to sing. And this is that song."
"You may hear a lot of talk in your life about the hour of reckoning [...] as if they got a notice from some office two weeks before the moment was to come. It said, 'There's a moment coming in two weeks, you might want to get your ass ready.' You won't get get any such notice - there is no such office for this delivery. Instead, you might be sitting on the sofa, three beers deep, and two white Russians, staring at the television, thinking, 'This can't last forever'. Hoping, praying that it will - or won't - last for the rest of your life, because whatever comes next, it could be worse. You have evidence in your past that in fact, it could be worse. But at the same time, you know it won't be that previous worse, it'll be some new thing. We live in an age that preaches the value of new things, but I am here to tell you that some new things are not so good. Some new things suck gigantic asses all day long. This song is a song about a couple of people who are face to face with some of those gigantic new asses to suck.
They have a lovely television. I'm glad I gave them a TV."
You fall in love with the places that you're from. But then you grow older, and maybe you spend some time in a place that you don't like. For all I know, you're there right now. If you were, you wouldn't tell anybody, because that's not hip. If you run down where you live, then you're a dick.
But at the same time, you're not gonna love every place you live, and you're dishonest — which is worse than being a dick — if you say, "Oh, yeah, I love every place I've lived." No, you don't. Sometimes you go someplace, and you feel that the air and the trees and the people and the streets, they're all coming up against you, they're all sort of like snakes, winding themselves around your ankles, trying to keep you in a place that's neither nourishing your spirit nor feeding your heart.
And you think to yourself, "I have to get out of here," and every time you think that, it's like the snakes coil themselves a little tighter around your ankle. "Jesus Christ, I need a drink. I have to have a drink. I have to get out of this marriage. I can't stand this anymore."
And then the other person says, "You know you're saying that shit out loud?"
It's about when you can't be with somebody that maybe you weren't ready to not be with. And you try your best to not obsess, not be uncool. But every so often, when things are weird for them at home, they still holler at you, and break you off a little chunk. And you know you shouldn't, but from where you stand, still all helpless and in love, a little chunk is better than nothing.
And even if it makes you sit at home drowning in self-contempt, ruins your whole work day — you just stand there for eight hours, just hoping to fuck
that that guy you hate asks you how you're doing, so you can look at him, and lie, and go, "I'm fine
," just so you can make him wear that — this song is kind of about how you feel in that kind of a situation.
...The real thing that begins to drive you nuts, when you think about it — you know you shouldn't have started, but by the time you say "I shouldn't have started thinking about that," it's a little late, right? You should have stopped before you started. It's a terrible paradox.
Maybe you can kill a little time thinking the paradox over, and escape from the physical reality of the fact that the person that you are not ready to be apart from yet isn't just in love
with somebody else. That's abstract.
And when you try not to picture it, it's like trying not to picture a yellow VW bug. You can see it; you don't wanna see it; too late not to see it.