By Stuart Bermon
I interviewed guitarist Brett Netson of Brett Netson & Snakes by phone about his new record. He was extremely hostile and deranged, and after looking into his past, I learned why: Mr. Netson has had a long relationship with LSD.
He was obviously high during this interview.
Above: Brett Netson plays with a cigarette on his guitar.
CityWorldNews: Why didn’t you sign with a major label?
Brett Netson: They don’t have money for this kind of music. No one does.
CityWorldNews: You like Texas Roadhouse Barbeque?
Brett Netson: Fuck no.
CityWorldNews: When did you realize music would be your career?
Brett Netson: When I was 12. Watched “Jimi Plays Berkley” when I was staying at my grandma’s house in Kansas.
CityWorldNews: You planning to launch any new products after the Scavenger Hunt album?
Brett Netson: It’s called Scavenger Cult actually. And it should be some kind of label or collective. Records, cassettes, shirts and maybe other things.
Is this your first ever music interview?
CityWorldNews: I interviewed Jack White two weeks ago. Now I’m here with you. Sorry if I’m not asking the questions you want. Maybe we should have spoken beforehand and worked it all out so you could have it all nice and tidy?
Do you just want to write the interview and send it to me so I can publish?
Brett Netson: Are you getting shitty with me?
CityWorldNews: Not at all. Does it seem that way?
Brett Netson: Jack White, huh? WOW, man. You’re heavy shit!
CityWorldNews: I get this feeling you’re not going to live very long. Do you agree?
Brett Netson: Used to think that I wouldn’t get past 30. Kinda wanted to die. Didn’t die. Now I have no idea.
CityWorldNews: Why don’t you just quit?
Brett Netson: That’s a real good question.
CityWorldNews: Wasn’t trying to agitate you, but at age 34 don’t you think you’ve said all you can?
Brett Netson: I’m 45. If you think that shit matters than you will likely be “acting your age” when you’re 34. I’m sure you could end up with nothing to say at 34. How old are you?
CityWorldNews: I’m 22. You’re the same age as my dad.
Brett Netson: Wow, maybe you could get a spot on The View and talk about that.
CityWorldNews: That’s pretty funny. Really. Are you going to play Williamsburg? Maybe we can meet up.
Brett Netson: And do what? Talk about how stupid everyone else is?
CityWorldNews: Ha ha. You’re kind of hostile, but that’s okay. I think it’s funny.
Brett Netson: It’s hard not to be. You know, nobody likes the smug douchey hipster. What are the benefits of being that way? Or are you totally unaware?
CityWorldNews: Hipster. That’s original. You seem to be an expert on humor. Are you an expert on humor?
Brett Netson: Just an enthusiast of humor. I use it to diffuse my urges for violence.
The “hipster” comment was trying to give you an opportunity to take this somewhere else. It’s tiring and super boring to cleverly tear things down all day long.
CityWorldNews: I’m certainly not trying to do that. I like your song All Creatures Kill. It’s something I could listen to to help me fall asleep. It’s very sedative. And I don’t mean that as a diss.
Brett Netson: Oh well. A real comment. Does that make you nervous? Admitting that you actually like something?
CityWorldNews: I like all sorts of things.
Brett Netson: Well, be careful. And if you actually care about something, prepare to fight.
CityWorldNews: I listened to Play On on Bandcamp. It seems to be about love and loss. Have you recently loved and lost?
Brett Netson: No. That song is about the loss of wilderness and wildlife in the West. Idaho/Montana specifically. You ever had anything not go your way? Ever?
CityWorldNews: The guitar work seems ironic on that track. Like you’re poking fun at Black Sabbath.
Brett Netson: Huh. It might be more like trying to take a step forward from Black Sabbath worship. Probably pointless to try, but that’s what I’m into.
*Lost phone connection with Brett*
CityWorldNews: Sorry. My phone ran out of juice. What are you doing in Idaho? I would think you would have more music opportunities in, say, Portland or Seattle.
Brett Netson: I’m not primarily concerned with musical opportunities.
CityWorldNews: What are you concerned with, Brett?
Brett Netson: I don’t like being fucked with.
CityWorldNews: Like in what ways?
Brett Netson: Eyeballs. There’s a mass harvest of glands and eyeballs.
Brett Netson: You’re fine for quite a while, you’ve got this, “I’m not sad and I know what it takes to win” kind of thing. You don’t even have to give a shit. You’ve done such a great job making the most of your situation you should be able to make great decisions and get a bunch of chances when you fail. You are doing great work for the Internet. Like a walking comments section. You are carrying yourself as a “young person.” That’s great for a predictability factor. The problem is, people like you eventually need help and will have no idea how to process that.
CityWorldNews: And what’s going to happen to me? You obviously know something I don’t.
Brett Netson: People who aren’t acting normally in their usual media presence will soon be disappeared and if you don’t have a tight web presence and a brand, you will be burned alive. If it looks like you are acting on instinct, you will be made out to be a weak childish fool. I would recommend that anyone who has grown with the Internet from the beginning better keep up appearances.
CityWorldNews: This really isn’t a clear answer to my question.
Brett Netson: These are spiders. Have you noticed the recent popularity of Zombie movies and the like? Big in gun culture and Facebook culture. What do you think that means? We are craving to have a threat that we can murder in the streets with no guilt.
CityWorldNews: Yeah… I love some Zombie stuff. I think it’s about how stupid the masses are. They eat at places like Texas Roadhouse and Dave & Busters and get fat and stupid. I don’t believe in harming others, but I’d like it if they all caught diseases and had to be killed.
Brett Netson: Me and you are both the “masses.” Me and you are both “hipsters.” Me and you could get stuck in prison together. CCA is very hungry.
A lot of us are searching our lives to see HOW we want to survive. Seek approval on the winning team? Or get a serious party going on!?
There are multiple triggers and patterns in this recording that will scramble the harvesting codes and provide primitive motivation and instinct to fuck and burn things. I’m just trying to help.
CityWorldNews: No offense, but are you practicing for a poetry slam? You’re kind of trippin’ like a @%($*#. You gonna be okay? Gobble some shrooms with your coffee this morning?
Brett Netson: Just like a @%($*#? Is that all? How do @%($*#^ trip? I’m just not that familiar with @%($*# tripping? Could you explain?
CityWorldNews: You know what, Brett. You obviously don’t get it. But don’t worry, I’ll still post this interview to Facebook and tweet it. Are you kind of nervous I wouldn’t?
Brett Netson: You have no choice.
Brett Netson: Selling records for frog skins. This is infrastructure for the preservation of our glands. Commerce is like fucking. You sound strange to me. You seem dead, from the neck down. In between your head and your dick, is a heart. Thoughts happen in all your cells. Billions of bugs. They will help you out man. Chill out, Jeff. We’re gonna see some shit.
CityWorldNews: You… man… I’ve had friends take too much and never come back.
Brett Netson: This is like going to COP school or some shit. Man, you gotta loosen up Jeff!
CityWorldNews: My name isn’t Jeff. Why do you keep calling me Jeff?
*I can hear a guitar*
CityWorldNews: Are you at band practice right now? While doing an interview?
Brett Netson: Sorta. Dudes will be here any minute.
CityWorldNews: Who’s your favorite person in the band?
*Brett is silent*
Brett Netson: Me.
*Brett hangs up*
CityWorldNews: Why did you hang up on me?
Brett Netson: I just got shocked real bad. Fuck!
CityWorldNews: Who are your influences music or otherwise?
*Brett is silent*
CityWorldNews: I need to get this interview finished.
Brett Netson: Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Gene Clark (Byrds), Sandy Denny, Melvins, Butthole Surfers. Also social critics Joe Bageant, Chalmers Johnson, James Howard Kunstler, Richard Metzger.
CityWorldNews: I figured your music influences would be more obscure.
Brett Netson: I don’t see any reason to bother people with my academic research. You want obscure? Want me to make a list and dazzle you with its zeitgeist awareness? Go read Pitchfork and listen to a Kanye record. Smoke a menthol, marvel at your brilliance.
Crosss (Nova Scotia)
Jesse Sykes (Seattle)
CityWorldNews: Those Death Grip videos are rad. Speaking of that, do you have a new video yet?
Brett Netson: No. Still working on it.
CityWorldNews: Can I call you back? I need to go grab lunch… I’m actually eating with James Mercer from The Shins.
*Brett hangs up*
You can listen, if you want, to Brett’s new album, Scavenger Hunt, here: http://brettnetson.bandcamp.com
Stuart Bermon is a frequent contributor to Pitchfork, Spin.com and other music media sites.