Get To Know Father John Misty, Whoever He Is
When I recount these Father John Misty anecdotes, Tillman quickly interrupts: "No, man! That's Josh Tillman doing that shit! I'm not inventing a fake person, and then writing songs about him! It's not a cartoon; I'm not a cartoon! That's me! It's a red herring! Maybe I should've called it a J. Tillman album, but I'm more religious than that. A sacrifice had to be made; I had to plunge a knife into something. Names aren't liberating, they're really confusing. There's more clarity in losing the narrative of naming all together."
Stop and think about it: There's more clarity in losing the narrative of naming all together. I don't know what this means, but it sounds very postmodern. Rather than open up such a can of worms, I ask Tillman if he'll continue using the name Father John Misty.
"I just hope people stop thinking about the name soon," he says. "But I love seeing it on marquees 'cause it looks so fucking funny, so I guess I'll keep using it. I'm guilty of doing a lot of things for my own sick enjoyment, and calling it Father John Misty may be just a very precious joke that only I understand. There's something really poetic about killing your own name and then having some weird level of success through an arbitrary, goofy one."
I suggest to him that perhaps the name "J. Tillman" is jinxed.
"Totally," he says. "J. Tillman never got to be on a marquee. My real name is cursed."
Father John Misty plays Webster Hall Monday tonight (8 p.m., $20).