John's Words on the Dumbing-Down of our Culture
& What's on his iPod

From Artvoice July 1-7, 2004

We were playing this radio show. Radio shows are weird because one day you’re playing with Lenny Kravitz and the next day you’re playing with the Backstreet Boys. It’s a weird world you find yourself in, but you mingle around and try to suss people out and figure out their vibe. I was talking to this guy from a boy band, I don’t even remember which one it was.

He was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to go in and sing our next record. It should be great. We’ve got some really good writers.’ I don’t really believe that good music comes up that way. I think that it might sell because it’s the easiest thing to swallow. There’s not much to chew. It’s soft food. I don’t know if it’s part of the dumbing down of our culture that’s making it so successful or if the world is so insane that it’s the first thing that people gravitate [towards] to get their minds off of what the hell’s going on. In the same way, don’t you think it’s ironic that reality TV is the way that everyone escapes from reality? [laughs]

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Are you an iPod guy?

It’s funny you said that because I just got one and figured out to use it.

What’s on it?

Hold on, let me grab it. Let’s see, starting from the top: Atticus Fault, Beth Hart, Bill Clinton, Bill Maher, Beethoven, Cocteau Twins, Coldplay, Dashboard Confessional, David Cross, David Sedaris, Eddie Izzard, Henry Rollins, Hoobastank, Husker Du, Chopan, India.Arie, Mars Volta, Martin Luther King, Modest Mouse, Nina Simone, Peter Gabriel, The Replacements (of course), Sting, Sunny Day Real Estate, Suzanne Vega, U2, Mozart, The Yeah Yeahs Yeahs and Yo La Tengo.

(note: Modest Mouse is an obscure but really amazing political rock band)

For the full interview, check out Artvoice.

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