Top Fives: Funniest things people said to me in interviews this year

Steven Hyden is the Milwaukee city editor for, The Onion’s local entertainment Web site.

Words by Steven Hyden

5. Todd Snider

“I sat right next to Lil’ Wayne at the bar, but the other guy was there, too, the guy with the teeth–well, they both have the teeth now–but I remember he was 19 and he kept telling the bartender that. I thought that was really funny. So he said, ‘I’m going to call you Rolling Papers.’ My wife was with me, but she’s Mexican, and everybody else in there was black. It was a lot of fun.”

Every music writer needs a lost cause to champion, and mine is Todd Snider, a wise-ass hippie folk singer who delivers songs about losers and have-nots with a stoned grin and a broken heart. I talked to Snider back in February, and while it wasn’t the best interview I’ve done with him–I’m pretty sure he was baked out of his skull–he was still pretty hilarious. This quote comes from an anecdote he told me about staying at the same hotel as Lil’ Wayne and hanging out with him in the hotel bar. (Maybe it’s just me, but “Todd Snider And Lil’ Wayne Hang Out In A Hotel Bar” sounds like the greatest reality show ever.) Full interview

4. Jim James of My Morning Jacket

“We’ll be sitting around and drinking beers after we play a big show, and we’ll be really happy. But at the same time, it’s not the ’80s any more. We’re not all riding around in limousines and snorting coke off of hookers’ tits. We still have to keep working and touring.”

I talked with Jim James right before the release of Evil Urges, a record I haven’t played in months and might not ever play again. James was a good interview, though, and this quote stands out for three obvious reasons: (1) “snorting coke”;(2) “hookers'”; (3) “tits.” Full interview

3. Gene Evans of Luckystar Studio

“There’s no other to say this: It’s dealing with artists. They can be such pussies, you know?”

This was in response to the question, “What’s the toughest part of running a gallery?” Gene Evans was on the verge of shutting down Luckystar’s gallery to focus on studio work when we spoke, and he clearly was not feeling sad about it. And, yes, artists can be such pussies. But I love them anyway. Full interview

2. Eugene Kane of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Some of my constant critics are basically morons, so why would I spend a lot of time reacting to the opinion of morons? You can boldface that one if you want to.”

Like a lot of people, Eugene Kane wasn’t aware that The Onion has a non-satirical entertainment section, so I had to re-assure him that I wouldn’t, like, Photoshop a joint in his mouth or something if he talked to me. But once he felt confident that I was on the level, he was a great interview. Basically, I would set up a target–conservative bloggers, Charlie Sykes, Jessica McBride–and he would knock ’em down with the blunt directness of a .357 Magnum. You really can’t ask for more from an interview subject. If I could quote Eugene Kane in every story, I would. Full interview

1. Jay Reatard

“When I was a child, my grandmother raised retarded people for a living. I spent my youth, when I was 4 or 5 years old, playing with 46-year-old women shoving brushes up their butthole. I played with retards, I lived amongst them.”

This interview hasn’t run yet. It will go up on the Milwaukee Decider site Dec. 30–how’s that for a plug?–and on The A.V. Club national site around the same time. Reatard seems to have a reputation for being a dick, but with me he was really nice and candid. He was one of the most articulate musicians I ever interviewed as far as talking about songwriting and record-making. Plus, he used the F-word a lot, which is good. I honestly could have picked a half-dozen choice quotes from our talk, but this one stands out for the claim that he “lived amongst” cognitively disabled people and therefore can freely use the word “retard.” I’m not sure if that washes, but it does make me laugh every time I read it, so there you go.


One Response to “Top Fives: Funniest things people said to me in interviews this year”

  1. Tim Says:

    This is awesome.

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