Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, hot on the heels of his newest album Lie Down in the Light, has taken to to the streets with an earnest ear and a gracious heart. Drag City culled this fanatastic Q&A together with the help of Bonnie fans around the world!
Why are things so hard sometimes?
They just are. Once my brother looked at me with shame many years ago; my head was hung low and I was in a dark and silent brood. He scorned me angrily, saying to me “What’s your fucking DEAL? Things aren’t so TRAGIC all of the time.” And I knew he was very correct in this. If I remember right, Bill Murray led the crowd in Meatballs to chant “It just doesn’t matter!” and where this is not true, it helps to throw the balance on the other side every once in a while; onto the Not True side, onto the desired-reality side. Things are also hard because hard is good. A hard penis is good for a yearning vagina or sphincter, and a hard road is better for tire traction than a soft road. Easy makes lazy, makes shallow, makes for poor company. SOME times.
How do you deal with the lonely times?
At this point in my life, I am rarely lonely. This is new for me. I am 38 years old, and it took me a good 36 or 37 years to enjoy my own company, and to enjoy fully the quietness of that state. Prior to recent times, being alone meant being scared, and I would deal with it through reading, drinking, or enjoying the proxy companionship that movie-watching provides. Or writing, or running scared. Sometimes doing objectively horrible things! But those days are not here for now. As easy at it is to deny or forget, doing maintenance was always the best way of dealing with the lonely times. Weeding, sweeping, responding to letters. Things that, unfortunately do not give immediate visceral satisfaction. Still, when the tasks were done, I would feel happier, and the time for sleep, and dreaming, would be closer at hand.
Your music is deeply inspired. Not having the talent of a singer/songwriter such as yourself, will you please tell me how I can convey your music in real life? If the world is a stage to act upon how can I act out a Bonnie “Prince” Billy album?
Dear Mr. Perkins,
Whoa! I wrestle with this very question every day. So I will answer it for me, and hope that there’s something you can relate to.
When I was a teenager, I did not really drink or take any drugs; I was relatively “straight edge”. But I was hungry for stimuli and adrenalin and endorphins. When people or experiences or foods or weather modified my internal chemistry in an intriguing way, I wanted to bottle it for later consumption. This is what making music became good for: a possible medium for the capturing and transmitting of personal natural wonders. Making music became a parallel activity, parallel and braided with the push-me-pull-you of choice+fate. I needed to make the songs, but I needed to be in such a way that justified the songs, as best as possible. O dear, this isn’t going very well. In real life? Stop, breathe, do, sleep, shit, attack, fall, swim, hug, cum, spend, smell, save, read, form, listen, play video games and deny fake boobs.