Father John Misty

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Interesting facts and trivia about Father John Misty. By Songfacts®.

Father John Misty - aka Joshua Tillman - is a somewhat enigmatic rock & roll persona. Tillman played drums with noted Seattle band Fleet Foxes from 2008-2011, having joined just after their first album was recorded. Fleet Foxes is known for its poetic, melodic 'psych pop' (psychedelic pop) rock that carries an ethereal quality lent by lead singer Robin Pecknold's tenor voice. In 2011, Tillman set off on his own to create a solo project that was also poetically lyrical, but darker and more straight rock and roll in style. Tillman, who had been releasing solo albums since 2003 as J. Tillman, began to release his own music on the same record label that had brought Fleet Foxes to indie rock fame, Sub Pop Records.

He dubbed his new act "Father John Misty," also sometimes going by the initials FJM.

According Sub Pop Records, Tillman is vague about his transformation into Father John Misty and the meaning of the name:

"When discussing 'Father John Misty', Tillman paraphrases Philip Roth: 'It's all of me and none of me, if you can't see that, you won't get it'. What I call it is totally arbitrary, but I like the name. You've got to have a name. I never got to choose mine."

He told Under the Radar magazine, "To me [Father John Misty] just sounds like some weird old pervert."

Lyrically, Father John Misty frequently delves into the classic rock subjects of sex, drugs, and darkness, so much so that it sometimes seems that he's presenting a caricature of the genre, or of himself. He has long been crafting the persona of a cantankerous, contrarian lothario. He said, "I like humor and sex and mischief. So when you think about it, it's kind of mischievous to write about yourself in a plain-spoken, kind of explicitly obvious way and call it something like 'Misty'. I mean, I may as well have called it 'Steve.'"


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