Young Academic Features Editor Robert Gant reports on a war of words between two bands that are respected worldwide.
Take your mind back to the start of the year. Bon Iver were preparing to drop their second album and lead singer Justin Vernon was getting lots of attention from both mainstream and underground press. It was at this point that he made the comments that have seemingly kicked up a storm and perhaps touched a few nerves.
During an interview with the New York Times Vernon implied Grammys were not a big deal and went a step further saying a musician’s art is compromised if they desire a Grammy. The comments didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Enter the Avalanches.
Yesterday they tweeted to Justin Vernon, ‘a musicians ‘art is compromised’ if he/she desires a grammy .but endor$ing a product with proven devastating health risks is ok?’ They followed this up with a picture of Vernon in a Bushmills Whisky advert and another tweet which read:
‘a product which kills 100k p/a in the US alone..man kids look up to you. # rememberwhenitwascoolNOTtosellout’.
Vernon was swift to reply posing the question ‘do u drink whiskey?’ The Avalanches responded ‘actually vodka is more my thing, but this aint no rock n roll pissing contest. i have seen alcohol destroy many families … including my own.. and you are making money off this shit . dont try and justify it.’
Vernon again replied ‘I’m not. I was asking questions.’ At this point communication between the two seems to end and Vernon’s last tweet reads (at the time of writing) ‘Fucks sake. Glad I get to play guitar tonight.’
Perhaps that is a good idea; get back to playing music. These two bands both make great music and it is a shame to see them bickering on Twitter, regardless of who is right or wrong. Whether this feud will develop and continue only time will tell but one thing that is certain is that the debate about commercial interests in music will seemingly rumble on forever.