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.


About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael has had three novels published that comprise the "Freak Scene Dream trilogy": "True Love Scars," "The Flowers Lied" and "Untitled" which can be ordered here. His new book, "Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey," can be pre-ordered from HoZac Books. In November Backbeat Books will publish "Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg," which can be be pre-ordered here.

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