It was summer 97 when 4AD invited me to check Tarnation at the Monarch... at a time when 4AD’s press officers were always happy to communicate!
I was standing there at the upstairs stage with my +1, a summer flu, and you came to me asking if you had to pay an extra percentage for the orange juice you were buying. I thought my fever might have been really severe to hear such strange “request”. I probably stuttered “extra percentage?... you don’t have to tip!” as if you were an ET! You got me out of my silence eventually, adding you were from “California... United States, Where are you from?” My strong French accent betrayed me... I repeated silently “California, United States”! “No, this is London here, UK, prices are straight forward”.
You had just landed in UK and were off to Sweden the day after for a gig. I had heard of Red House Painters (RHP), even listened to the music, but had no idea what you looked like. Handsome, no! Charismatic and funny, perhaps. That night you insisted on me going back to your hotel or sleeping at mine. I could barely open my eyes and went back to mine after giving you my landline.
You promised to call on your return from Sweden and you did, stayed at mine and went off to Phoenix Festival with another woman onboard your tour bus: I had to understand you were famous and many women wanted to be with you constantly and you had to be careful because women can stalk...
The thing was that you were just a one night stand to me, a guy who confessed intimate details on his life out of the blue and I listened. I was not in love with you and I couldn’t interview you because the music mag I wrote for had no interest in RHP. I could have included an extra festival on my summer list, but hell, I was busy doing other stuff... I decided you were a bit OTT on your “all women want me”!
Anyway, you had 4AD send me a package of all your CDs which they did but not so happily as you were changing label, came back to mine after Phoenix Fest and went back to California... United States.
For a man who was pestered by women constantly, I have to say I found it weird you left long messages on my answer machine, thinking about me, writing something about me... sending me postcards from California... I never called your home or wrote back. I just liked you in some sort of ethereal and ephemeral way, like a ghostly figure... nice when materialised!
The music business in UK didn’t really make it too easy for women, we were tolerated but we would still struggle to get a photo session or interview an artist: getting a record in order to review it was always easy though!
In summer 98, you played at The Garage and I was on your guest list: you even left a backstage pass for me. There was some sound issue and you kept saying nonchalantly “what the fuck’s going on” on stage, keeping your cool! Backstage, you talked about Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous in which you were featured and all your women troubles. You knew I was a journalist and yet you went on saying things that I could have written. Back in the street with your band in the late hour, you were surprised I wanted to shoot off to mine... on my own. “Mysterious and impalpable” you ‘sentenced’ me! I am a good listener... I don’t remember you asking me anything about me!
Yesterday, I was intrigued when Tim Jonze retweeted Laura Snape’s piece in The Guardian “Mark Kozelek told 1900 people that I want to fuck him. Here's why you N E V E R fuck with me or any female writer”. On her piece, here, you say ““Listen to your elders. I’m 48 and I have wisdom. I’ve seen girls laid out on the street with an ambulance picking them up because they are crossing the street with those stupid headphones on.”” I will not comment on the “girls” bit “being picked up...”, it’s bad enough to read it, but “elder” and “wise” in the same line when you go onstage in London, UK and spit on a woman who is just trying to do her job! As passionate as she might be, you make her stand accused in front of a Barbican audience because she actually cares about your music... and she ends up being treated like a whore who wants babies with you? Is this what “ageing” is all about?
Mark, I am surprised that with the experience you have in the music business you still haven’t realised that in 2015, women are still getting slagged off in that business and we keep receiving so many polite “nos”, no matter what we can / want to do. If she has tried so many avenues to meet you and interview you face to face, do you think the only reason is because she wants to get pregnant with you? Could it be because she wants to craft perfectly a Q&A with emotions? Could it be that you are actually insecure about meeting a young and pretty woman... and you can’t hold it... at your age?
Do you realise how disturbing it might be for her then to even talk about it? Having to write about it?
On many occasions, I have tried different avenues to get to interview someone when a press officer is “voicing” his protégé’s refusal. This is what we do often, we journalists, we women! We also stand accused of not reporting properly whatever fucks some artists fancy to say. We take a lot of shit from people we actually admire when we want to share the love!
If a man had tried to do what Laura did, what would you have said onstage?
"He wants babies with me?"
"He wants babies with me?"
In his Mémoirs d’outre-tombe, Chateaubriand wrote “La vieillesse est un naufrage” - Old age is a shipwreck… You have the privilege to navigate on some really cool ocean, doing what you want to do! Show some respect to your environment!