Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

Jay Farrar Speaks Extensively About Uncle Tupelo's Breakup
Kati Llewellyn reports:
Tomorrow, Relix magazine ("Music for the Mind"-- trippy, brah!) will release its September/October issue, causing tie-dye wearing 15-year-olds across the country to climb out of their clam-baked basements and head to the local newsstand. "How does this at all pertain to me?," you may ask. Well, my indie rock friend, featured in this magazine is an extensive interview with ex-Uncle Tupelo guitarist/vocalist Jay Farrar in which he discusses that band's demise and his fallout with former partner Jeff Tweedy.

Tweedy has spoken freely about the event from the beginning, allowing his story of Tupelo's disintegration to be generally accepted as fact. Here's his version: Farrar and Tweedy meet in high school. Tweedy, unexperienced as a musician at this point, looks at Farrar, who has been in a number of bands with his older brothers, as a role model. The two teens, along with drummer Mike Heidorn, form Uncle Tupelo. The band's first two albums are heavily influenced by Farrar, but Tweedy improves and takes a greater hold on the group, which (as the story goes), Farrar found hard to swallow. This creates tension and the men stop communicating. Around this time, Heidorn leaves, worsening the situation. A major-label deal brought Tupelo up from the underground, putting on the pressure that led to Farrar's departure. A crushed Tweedy groups the band's remaining members together to form Wilco, and Farrar meets up with Heidorn to create Son Volt.

Farrar does not necessarily disagree with all that, but has his own (juicier) side to contribute to history. In the lengthy Relix interview, Farrar tells journalist Antony DeCurtis that things started to unravel after he saw Tweedy stroke the hair of his girlfriend of seven years, Monica Groth (now his wife), as she was sleeping. "I found out later that he was telling her stuff, like, he loves her," says Farrar, who attempted to quit the band the next day. Tweedy was devastated. "[Tweedy's] parents called mine and said that Jeff 'wanted to be me.' I struggled with that...Then every other day for about a week he would call. After a week of sitting around with no prospects, I decided to continue."

Farrar departed the band for good in January 1994. Before leaving Tupelo, he met with Tweedy for another major confrontation. Farrar explains, "When I spoke to him about why I was quitting I basically laid it out for him. I told him that the dynamic had changed and that it wasn't fun for me anymore...His response was to call me a 'pussy.'"

Farrar's story definitely adds a different dynamic to Uncle Tupelo's end, which is what he hoped to accomplish upon ending his silence in the Relix interview. "One misconception that I find difficult to absorb is Jeff's portrayal of himself as a victim, which I find to be absurd," says Farrar. "There were steps we could have taken to have a better relationship and a better understanding. It could have happened. But it didn't."

Well, hopefully as the boys mature, they will be able to patch up their differences or at least move past the past, because hey, Pitchfork don't want no depression 'round these parts. In the meantime, Farrar continues to go his own route and kicked off a tour yesterday with his post-Tupelo band, Son Volt.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

[deleted]

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

Jay also talks about tupelo quite a bit in another interview I read recently. He didn't say anything there about jeff hitting on his girl, but he eluded that jeff wanted to be a big time rock star and that's not why he (jay) got into music. He was almost questioning jeff's motives as a singer-songwriter. Of course, both jeff and jay must be a bit difficult to work with as neither Son Volt nor Wilco is even close to the same lineup as they were on their first records.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

I'm sure Farrar's girlfriend was asking for it. Like what was she wearing while she was sleeping and Tweedy was stroking her long, flowing hair? HMMMM??


Bill

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

I don't get it. Is this an excerpt from an interview or pitchfork summarizing an interview that is to appear in Relix? I believe it's the latter. Thanks for sharing Happy.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

If I were Farrar, I would have dumped the girl and not Tweedy. I mean, she obviously was humoring his advances in some way and not telling Jay about them. She may have even been playing them off one another. Tupelo had its own Yoko?

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

With a country band it can't be Yoko. They had their own Becky Sue.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Litter bugs me.

Love, Brandy

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

Or in the case of Whiskeytown, they had their own Ryan Adams.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

David Ryan even.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Litter bugs me.

Love, Brandy

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

  • Author: tgram
  • 9/8/05 4:53:00 PM

I love that the parents had to get involved. That is totally hilarious.
"Hello, my son does not want you to break up the band" "If you break up the band, you're grounded!"


If I'm not back in five minutes... wait longer

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

  • Author: Renee
  • 9/8/05 5:32:01 PM

This thread made me laugh. Thank you.


__________________________
Xenu is my co-pilot.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

Yeah, that is so funny í almost fell of my chair!

I hope they start maturing soon, (cause they are both turning 40 in a not so distant future,) shake hands and reunite Uncle Tupelo.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

cwhumble that was a nice david cross reference. i like it

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

tweedy got what he wanted really and so did jay. they have different values and priorities. it was a win win to go in a different direction.

i always saw farrar as the lennon to tweedy's mcartney. you have the similiar dynamic of wanna be pop-star vs. folkie and protest singer.

there's room for both. both are essential. i don't want to ever see a reunion. cause now i know what jeff is really about.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

Look, you don't want anyone in your band who has a bowl cut and Amish goatee. This is just common sense. Tweedy did the right thing.

Re: Why Jay Farrar Hates Jeff Tweedy: The real story from Pitchfork

Listening to Anodyne still makes me tear up a little though. I didn't know that Tweedy was a lurker. Jeff was young and trying to find himself I guess. Anyone notice how the new Son Volt mostly sounds more like another Jay Farrar solo album. (which I like)

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