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Bon Iver Doesn’t Like People Who Like To Be Famous

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: Justin Vernon of Volcano Choir performs live during a concert at Huxleys Neue Welt on November 14, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Stefan Hoederath/Redferns via Getty Images)

Justin Vernon


The Guardian published an interview with Bon Iver on Saturday, as the musician is about to release his third album, ’22, A Million’, despite having been through a long episode of mental breakdown, panic attacks and anxiety, ‘I had mental stuff, stuff I felt needed healing,’ he said.

Justin Vernon is not fan of celebrities and fame business, he hates when people stop him to get a picture taken with him, ‘There are times when it’s just a nuisance, and there are times when it makes me panic’, and he has a few words for people who enjoy the whole deal: ‘There are people who are straight-up into being famous. And I don’t like that. I think that’s why I had to take a long break.’

And after a year of panic attacks, anxiety and traveling, he is back with this new work apparently documenting him getting lost, both mentally and physically. But he has few good lines about celebrities, such as Kanye West and Beyoncé:

‘Kanye speaks of how you have to love yourself. And believe in yourself. I heard him say something recently: ‘I love myself so other people can love themselves.’ So they get up in the morning and put on a song and be like ‘FUCK YEAH’. And that is what it’s for.’… Unfortunately Vernon stops there, I would have liked to hear more about his opinion, because Kanye is THE guy who likes to be famous, it’s even Kanye West’s raison d’être, and Vernon just said he didn’t like it. He also seems to be very angry against the music and celebrity system:

‘Playing a lot of shows, realizing that playing shows for Live Nation is just bullshit and fuck that. I grew up loving bands like the Indigo Girls, and they stood for something, doing benefit shows and talking about shit and changing culture or changing people’s mindsets and raising awareness. What’s music for? It’s not about having a bunch of CDs.’

Coming from a guy who has collaborated with people who are really into the system, this seems a bit strange. But Vernon just wants to play, play for you, and he doesn’t want the big sponsors:

‘You can never be self-righteous, but it’s okay to be a little righteous. You have to believe in something. Like, I’d prefer Beyoncé didn’t do a Pepsi tour. Do not take two million dollars from Pepsi and be a role model for young girls. Do not do that. That stuff does anger me. And I feel like I am not afraid to talk about that stuff.’

He sounds like the anti-Kanye in this interview, having a personal crisis and questioning previous decisions,… I guess this could be a deal breaker between Justin and Kanye, who venerates the queen B. How could someone like Vernon, who sounds in this interview to be very anti-fame, anti-personality-cult and anti-product-placement, could get involved with Kanye West in the first place?

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