Interview: ‘Modern Farmer’ Talks Goats With John Darnielle

The goatman cometh: Darnielle with friend. Photo by John Darnielle.
The goatman cometh: Darnielle with friend. Photo by John Darnielle.

So Modern Farmer magazine gets John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats on the phone to talk about — goats. I mean the entire interview — goats! At one point the interviewer asked John why no songs about goats on any of The Mountain Goats’ albums.

“No, no. I mean — it’s just the band name,” Darnielle said. “And it’s kinda interesting to me, that we’re talking about the animal. I don’t think people ask Deerhoof all the time about deer or about their hooves. They get off scot-free. From the minute I named this band, everyone was like, ‘Mountain Goats? Oh my God!’ And animal names in rock bands are so common. I mean, the Beatles.”

There is some music talk, but in the context of — goats!

Darnielle is something of a metal, and death metal, expert. He wrote an entire book (OK, it wasn’t that long, but still) about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. At one point Darnielle is asked why he thinks “goats get featured so often in both metal and Satanic imagery?”

“Heavy metal takes that tradition from Satanist and I wanna say, maybe, Kabbalistic traditions,” Darnielle said. “The goat in mythology, initially, is sacrificed. You have the old Biblical sacrifice. The community murders a goat in expiation for some wrong or another. So if you’re going up against that ideology, than you would champion the thing that got killed for no reason, which is why Satanism and anti-Christian people — which a lot of heavy metal is anti-Christian — would say, ‘Hey, we’re pro-goat.’ And I side with the metal people, [who say] animal sacrifice is nonsense.”

For more of the interview, head over to Modern Farmer.

 

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