Page 1 of 1

The Believer - 6/2005

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:24 am
by Merlin ... derick.php

Here's the free part. Gotta pick this one up.


Silly, yet still somehow charming:
The indie rock mafia
Twentysomethings who think they’re Bukowski
Asian breakdancers
The fluttering wings of the little poet
Henri Langlois once declared of Louise Brooks, “There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Brooks!” Since forming the Long Winters in 2001, singer/songwriter John Roderick has inspired similar hyperbole from music critics and indie-rock fans alike. With a smoked-wood voice, candied-cherry hooks, and lyrics such as “I’m leaving you all of my car parts / I didn’t have the money / or I would have gotten roses,” Roderick’s songs don’t get under a listener’s skin so much as puncture it and remain in the bloodstream.
The Long Winters have released two rock-pop treasures, 2002’s The Worst You Can Do Is Harm and 2003’s When I Pretend to Fall. Harm is sulfurous, etched with lost love, untimely death, and regretful acts of stupidity. Like oxygen, though, Roderick’s wit bubbles to the surface. When he sings: “If you think you’re gonna be here long / I’m gonna miss you so much when you’re gone” on “Unsalted Butter,” one previews, in its more acrid form, the rollicking humor that will shoot through Fall. And on songs like Fall’s “Prom Night at Hater High,” Roderick evokes more with a few lines than most scribes do with entire records: “Sitting there where you buried your pets / Get up! We’ll dig graves for your invisible friends.”

Yet the Long Winters almost never happened. The son of a Seattle attorney, the young Roderick faced intense pressure from the elder to pursue a legal career. (“I was eight when my dad started talking to me about becoming an attorney,” he says.) The family moved to Anchorage when he was three, and life changed irrevocably after his parents divorced while he was still in pre-school. Possessed of alacritous intelligence and a wrought-iron will, Roderick set off on his own at seventeen, hopping freight trains and hitchhiking back and forth across the continental U.S. Over the next four years, he split his time between Spokane’s Gonzaga University, Europe, and the road. In 1990, at twenty-two, he set up camp in Seattle. Throughout the nineties, Roderick studied comparative history of ideas at the University of Washington (teaching a seminar at one point), held a panoply of jobs, and kicked it with several bands, most notably Western State Hurricanes. The latter garnered buzz but imploded before they could get signed. Fed up with Seattle and himself, he walked across Europe for five months in late 1999.

I met with Roderick for doughnuts and espresso on a chilly afternoon in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A voracious reader and self-professed “history nerd,” Roderick is reflexively articulate, deeply thoughtful, and hilarious: a born raconteur. He sports large, square tortoise-shell glasses and a rampant beard, both on scale with his 6’ 3” frame. At thirty-six, Roderick is a grown man in a landscape teeming with baby-faced emo lads: part court jester, part philosopher-king.

—Litsa Dremousis

THE BELIEVER: Your music with the Long Winters is singular, but I think what really sets you apart is your writing. Besides songs, what sort of things did you write before you were in the Long Winters?

JOHN RODERICK: I scribbled for years. I have a stack of spiral-bound notebooks with heartbreak poems, but I never did anything with it. I felt the work wasn’t good enough, too unfiltered and ugly. I was always waiting for the right moment to make a record. I was waiting to get good enough, waiting to make the perfect thing. And one day I finished something. I made the first Long Winters record, and it was such a liberating experience. I got addicted to the feeling. We have a running joke in the band. When anyone completes something, we shake our fists at them and say: “Finisher! Goddamned Completer of Things! Who do you think you are?”

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:51 am
by LoveSickJerk
I just might have to go and get that!

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:15 am
by Betty Felon

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:52 am
by Moni
LoveSickJerk wrote:I just might have to go and get that!

it'd be great if someone could get a copy and scan the whole interview... i already looked into it - if you order the issue overseas, you have to pay a record-brekaing postage fee of $18, so I'm afraid I'm out...

EDIT: $18.25. my god.

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:26 pm
by Liesbeth
a friend of mine is going to a developer's conference in SF on Sunday. No idea if he will have any to time to go to a bookshop in between all the computer geek stuff, but I'm sure gonna ask!! Sounds like an interesting thing altogether.

If not, it seems with the current rate of the dollar, even with this steep postage, it's still only some 21 euro, which is almost the same as I paid for the new Teenage Fanclub, which so far hasn't really grabbed me. However, the rate of the euro vs dollar is dropping, what with the unification of Europe coming to a grinding halt, so I shouldn't wait too long, maybe.

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 9:05 pm
by pas de nom
Sorry for this only related to the Long Winters in a convoluted way.
I read this thread about an hour ago and to no doubt I found the article entertaining. I continued my random surfing on the internet (note oppose to writing a paper on the developmental discourse in Tunisia) and I came upon an interview with Thrice. Thrice is working on a new album and in the interview they said this guy David Eggers would be doing the artwork layout for the album and that Eggers is the guy who does the layout for The Believer, amongst other things. I found it amusing seeing that I had never heard of The Believer until earlier today while checking the elec-tronic salon in search of TLW news and the magazine popped up in two articles I was reading. Pardon, I am easily fascinated, especially when I am avoiding work.
I may just have to take my research further and actually buy this month's edition of The Believer. Also from what I have gathered David Eggers is quite a well-known guy in the literary industry, though I am not very well read so I was foreign to this fact.

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 9:54 am
by Betty Felon
Egger's fiance (wife now?) runs the Believer. Eggers is behind Timothy McSweeny's, a literary magazine. The Believer is a literary criticism magazine who's concept revolves around not being a jerk.

Here's an article from a few years ago from right before the Believer launched: ... ex_np.html

David Eggers is a phenomenon to himself. He has almost singlehandedly created (maybe organized? focused? given it a style?) a literary movement for his generation.

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:14 pm
by chelsea
i'll scan this as soon as i buy a copy and can get to my parents' house in tacoma where the scanner is.

i got so jealous (or something) of dave eggers half-way through "a heartbreaking work..." that i put it down and haven't picked it back up. i really need to.

(whose, betty. i know you know better)

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:22 am
by Liesbeth
In celebration of so many years of Penguin paperbacks, there's a series of thin paperbacks released, which includes many authors (and non-writers, like Jamie 'Naked Chef' Oliver).
Dave Eggers is included, with Short Short Stories, some of which are hilarious and some heartbreakingly to the point, in just one or two pages. I'm generally not one for short stories, but these miniatures are wonderful.

Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:17 am
by Liesbeth
my friend was in SF like I wrote before, the week before last, and looked for this, but the only Believer issue he found was the May one. I'm now officially sad that the announcements preceded actual distribution, it would have been cool to have this.

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:35 pm
by A Brutaful Smile
what the hell...i bought one. i was feeling extravegant.

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:40 pm
by A Brutaful Smile
Got It!

Reasons John is awesome....

"...I was lazy and I liked beer."

"I'm a big, loud person and have always pissed off the small, dark, serious, self-conscious smokers in the back of the room. I have to interrupt the audience if I sense they're trying to be cool."

Sometimes she uses the lash.

Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:32 am
by lagomorph
Barsuk has added a PDF of The Believer's interview w/ John to its front page. See "recent releases":

It's seven pages and covers everything from who John would kill and why, his trek across Europe, and, oh yeah, the Long Winters.

I hear this writer interviewed him for Paste, too, and that he's totally shy and reticent but that she ties him to a rack, pokes him with a stick and *makes* him say stuff. Like the Inquisition. With donuts.


Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:50 pm
by Liesbeth
oh dear, I totally meant to mention this here when I saw that link on the Barsuk frontpage. My excuse for not doing so is that my Barsuk package arrived simultaneously with a friend who filled me on recent developments in her life close to a soap opera of over-the-top category.
Just as well you are not afraid to speak your mind, Litsa. And hell, you write it down pretty.

Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:02 pm
by lagomorph
Thanks, Liesbeth, for your kind words, and for running the most intelligent, comprehensive and consistently entertaining fan site around. Next time the band invades the Netherlands, John should butter your toast and darn your socks. :)

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:27 am
by kathryn
is the link on the front page working for everyone else? i did some directory hacking and i think it should be:

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:46 am
by Liesbeth
the link on the homepage worked for me earlier this week, but seems to fail now
I've posted a message to Barsuk about it - the direct link kathryn posted does work.