Meredith Graves Addresses Mark Kozelek’s Public Stunts

Lindsay Hood

By Lindsay Hood

on 10.08.14 in News

In an absolutely stellar essay for Pitchfork, Meredith Graves, lead singer of Perfect Pussy, addresses Mark Kozelek’s recent stunts concerning the War on Drugs. What first started as an accidental overlap of set times at the Ottawa Folk Festival, led to Kozelek’s release of a new track entitled “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock” very early on Tuesday morning. From Graves’ point of view, Kozelek’s language should not be viewed as a running joke or a publicity stunt, but as harassment. Plain and simple.

In the essay, she explains:

When Mark Kozelek chose to start and carry on a completely one-sided and extremely public feud with a band who genuinely did nothing wrong, who chose not to retaliate and even stated their position as fans of his work, who seem hurt and confused by Kozelek’s constant public attacks that persisted for weeks and how said attacks affected their year—that doesn’t seem like entertainment. It’s important to call it what it is: emotional abuse.

She also reiterates that his language is sexually violent, misogynistic, and homophobic in nature:

“Suck my cock” is, when used by the wrong person, the language of physical force, the language of rape. He wants the world to know that he thinks TWOD sucks cock, implying that sucking cock is a bad thing. Who sucks cock? Not straight dudes like Mark Kozelek, but women and gay men. Which one of these groups is he using as an insult?

This is the first true take-down of Kozelek’s behavior that has been published thus far. While writer Michael Nelson contributed a personal essay about Kozelek’s music to Stereogum on Monday, it focused more on how Kozelek’s behavior would affect the perception of Benji, his most recent album with Sun Kil Moon, and his audience’s enthusiasm in general. Graves approaches the issue by stating that Kozelek’s behavior has deep-seated roots in patriarchal structures; that by using such violent language, and even going so far as to attack female writers in the track, he’s attempting to establish dominance and superiority over a certain group of people. Therefore, Grave concludes that it’s essential to name the behavior as abuse and nothing more.

I would encourage you to read the essay in its entirety over at Pitchfork.

Graves also gave a talk at this year’s Basilica Soundscape Festival where she addressed similar themes of sexism in the music industry. It is available to read over on The Talkhouse.