Crooner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver seems like such an even-keeled dude when he sings about wombs and flumes and moons, or I guess, on his newest record, miles and highway aisles, but as it turns out, when it comes to playing music live, he is not the person you want to get riled up.
Bon Iver’s self-titled second album garnered Vernon both a little success and a whole lot of acclaim, including a handle of Grammy nominations set to be awarded on February 12. However, Vernon is not particularly happy with the producers of the awards show right now. Not because he seems unhappy about the event itself or the fact he is up for several awards, but because he didn’t like the way producers handled the possibility of him performing.
In an interview with Billboard, Vernon describes how the real trouble began when producers asked he collaborate with another act onstage.
"We wanted to play our music, but were told that we couldn't play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else. And we just felt like it was such a large stage - we're getting nominated for this record that we made. Me and Brian [Joseph] and a bunch of our fucking friends and we were given accolades for it, and all of a sudden we were being asked to play music that had nothing to do with that. We kind of said 'fuck you' a little bit, and they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don't think they wanted us to play."
If the string of expletives does not explain Vernon’s frustration, I don’t know what would. The whole thing though seems less about collaboration and more about the fact Vernon felt like Bon Iver had no choice.
But you know what? Fuckin' rock n' roll should not be decided by people that have that job. Rock n' roll should be the fucking people with guitars around their backs."
Over the years, plenty of artists have had grievances with the Grammys and plenty have refused to show up for pettier reasons than Vernon seems to have. However, it seems to me the Grammys are a completely harmless way to garner exposure. Why not make the most of your experience, especially when you've been nominated for four awards?