Thursday, August 4, 2011

John Maus Explains the Whole Hating on Record Stores Thing

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

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Yesterday, Pitchfork posted a "Guest List" feature with experimental composer-singer-Best-New-Music-getter John Maus, in which they asked him a series of questions about things he's been into lately. Maus' response to the "favorite record shop" question came as a surprise to everyone, understandably so:

You don't know how happy it makes me that the days of the record store are coming to an end. $20 for an LP? Do you remember going to the record store and not getting what you want because there was no other place to get it? Now we can get it all for free, and I think that's wonderful. There was always something really depressing to me about record stores and music equipment stores. There's something oppressive about them, like the guy who looks you up and down and looks at what you're buying. You're bound up in exchange with the snobby clerk. So I'm glad they all have little "closed" signs on their doors now.

Yikes. The Internet fought back, of course, turning Maus into a full-circle meme, with tweeted responses from independent record stores stating they'll no longer stock his records to random dudes expressing backlash to the backlash, eventually to the point that Maus tweeted — his first time ever, congratulations Pitchfork — an apology, assuring us he was speaking on behalf of indie music stores, not against them:

I wish everyone who is (rightfully) upset about my Pitchfork "guest list" would grant me the benefit of the doubt, but I suppose that is too much to ask seeing as how I did come off so incredibly mean. I can't understand why anyone would think I was referring to the small DIY record shops of the world (the only type that would carry my records in the first place, and many of which I have played in) and not the Megastores of the world, but I guess I didn't make that clear enough ... The fact that anyone would react to anything I say is still a novelty to me, and I'm afraid I've made a terrible use of that novelty.

I'm skipping over a large chunk, so I suggest reading the entire thing here (though he seems to have taken down the link from his Twitter feed). There's a part about "being looked up-and-down by a snobby clerk" at the "Megastores" that he thought "would get laughs of identification, not accusations of wanting small record store owners to die penniless," which makes me feel for the guy. He may have come off hypocritically pretentious during the interview, name-dropping Beethoven one too many times (and I'm still trying to figure out how a concert hall can be "one of the most ignorant places on earth") but, in the end, likely a victim of saying something without really thinking it through first, and, to his credit, he's got an awful lot of thoughts to wade through up there, doesn't he?

This is still funny, though:

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