Eugene Mirman, Comedian
Guilt and Pleasure
Rock criticism's power couple get their talk on at EMP's Pop Conference
By Rickey Wright
Don't Feel Ashamed Ten Reasons You Should Attend the Conference
By Rachel Shimp
POP CONFERENCE Experience Music Project, 324 Fifth Ave. N., 206-770-2702, www.emplive.org/visit/education/popconf.asp. $20/$18 EMP members for entire conference; $7/$5 daily; free Sunday. Thurs., April 27–Sun., April 30.
It's hard to say what my guilty pleasure is. It's probably John Cage. That's right—I'm so fucking cutting edge my guilty pleasure is most people's extreme avant-garde. Normally I listen to foreign art-music—the sound of people throwing coins at rats, cassettes of babies falling from great distances, songs made of horse noises, etc. However, if I'm in a commercial mood, I'll get in my bathtub, put on a little John Cage, and pee on myself. I also love Jethro Tull (up to Bursting Out), but I don't feel guilty about it. Mad at the corrupt hijacking of organized religion? Jethro Tull is. Society making you be "a million generations removed from expectations/Of being who you really want to be"? Probably. You'll find your somewhat pretentious frustrations articulated in many songs. What the Cure is to lonely Goth teens, I found in the orchestral rock of Jethro Tull.
John Roderick, frontman of The Long Winters
My life consists almost entirely of guilty pleasures, but the guiltiest pleasure has to be reading both daily papers front to back every morning. For years I've been threatening to subscribe to The New York Times (the paper of record for us high-middlebrow aspirants), or just to quit reading the paper entirely and become one of those "I don't read the paper" snobs, but I keep returning to the P-I and Seattle Times like I'm suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. They paint the city of Seattle in soothing colors of mauve and beige, always sure to describe activists as "loony," transportation plans as "far-fetched," and Dale Chihuly as "visionary." It takes the better part of two hours and four cups of coffee for me to study them every morning. Oh, sheesh, this is embarrassing.
Christian Wargo, frontman of Crystal Skulls
I have to say I feel really guilty for taking pleasure in the following things: McDonald's, Disney World, Urban Outfitters, lightning-bug rings, Goldfish sandwiches. The eve of shopping at Wal-Mart is a big one; all those poor little businesses that are being run into the ground by Wal-Mart's giant corporate Shadow, like Farm King and Jo-Ann Fabric. It is a crying shame but one-stop shopping is too easy. Anyway, my biggest guilty pleasure would have to be my collection of ivory shoehorns, especially because most of my shoes are Velcro strapped.
Chris Martin, guitarist, Kinski
Some things that are not guilty pleasures but some would say I should feel guilty about. But I don't.
1. How much money I spend on buying records.
2. I still have all my old Billy Joel albums (and sometimes put them on when drunk).
3. I used to trade cases of beer, which I got for free from an old job, for records at various local shops.
4. Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution.
5. How often I check eBay to see if anyone is selling any Günter Schickert albums.
6. Liverburst . . . (coming soon).
7. Teenage Fanclub is the greatest band of all time.
8. How much I love the Archies.
9. How much I know about the Archies.
10. Doing online research on French pop singer Lio for so long that I eventually (and inadvertently) found a bunch of photos of her en dishabille (means: sort of nude).