If you read these pages yesterday, you are aware that Bradford Cox, the leader of Deerhunter, presented a concert last Friday in Minneapolis as Atlas Sound - and that many of those in attendance were more than surprised by the singer’s attitude. Cox did an hour-long cover of The Knack’s "My Sharona", recited like a beat poet, and announced "the death of folk and the birth of punk" while asking people to strip and raise their chairs over their heads. Well, in a statement to Pitchfork, Cox aimed to clarify the affair, defending his attitude onstage: "it was one of the best performances I've done since Deerhunter started". He also doesn’t understand why it raised such a ruckus on the Internet: "I’m just a little punk person. It's not like fucking Lana Del Rey carved an upside down cross on her cheek and defecated all over herself on stage at fucking Bonnaroo".
Cox also clarifies that in contrast to what some of the media present at the show reported, he never asked the audience to undress : “the only person I asked to strip was the person who commandeered my stage [by requesting 'My Sharona'] and made the show about his self-interest. I tried to emasculate somebody whose ego was super potent. He asked me to strip when he called out the name of the song. It was a joke; he's basically throwing a dollar bill at the foot of the stripper. And I’m just saying hey, let's reverse the roles. Come on stage. Do something entertaining. Entertain me”. With all he had to say, there was plenty of time to define himself as an artist, but also as "a terrorist": “I am a terrorist. As a homosexual, my job is simply to sodomize mediocrity”.
From the article that sparked the controversy, it seems that people didn’t entirely get the joke. Which is something that Cox denies categorically: "people had a fantastic, great time at this concert. At the end of the night, the majority of the audience was on stage dancing and having a great time. Have these people never seen Deerhunter? I mean, Jesus Christ, there’s never been a Deerhunter or Atlas Sound show where there's not some form of improvisation. This just happened to be more in a humorous vein".
Cox also tried to reflect on the fact that the most out-of-hand moments of the performance were posted immediately on the internet: "now it has to be on the internet and it has to be broadcast so widely. That intimidates people. Maybe that's the issue that makes people want to be more inhibited onstage. It makes people more self-censoring. That's the reason people think I'm a nutjob, because I don't give a fuck who reposts or how I sound. I don’t Twitter, I just randomly urinate out of my mouth. And then people sift through the faeces looking for seeds. People are like, 'Oh, he's fucking crazy, he's melting down, blah, blah.' I just shoot the shit with people. I don't give a fuck how it comes off. People have to be themselves. It's just some little punk show”. A leopard can’t change his spots.