Chosen Music: An Interview with Ariel Pink

Heeb: Why? Has the music business made you cynical?
AP: Yeah, but I mean, but no, it’s not that. There’s so much more important things, like Israel and Palestine. About history and things and humanity and all that shit that needs to get sorted out. I don’t have anything to say about the fucking music, anything about the music . . . It kind of speaks for itself. You don’t talk about it. You don’t give it critical praise or whatever . . . People are so stupid. Musicians are so stupid. Everyone’s so stupid because they just talk about everything else besides terrible things that are happening in the world just so they can live in the world and think it’s a TV show.

Heeb: So media is just a distraction from the bigger picture?
AP: Goldman Sachs! I mean just like, the fucking criminals who are ruling the world now. I’m not talking about the Illuminati or like, it’s just a few businesses that just . . . the empire is money. And that’s it. They have to keep it there. They are trying to convince everybody that that’s what runs the world and the world is scared to shrink from that. The idea that we need all these things and they want us to believe that we need these creature comforts . . . And we’re all very complacent in regards to all these terrible things that are happening in the world, which are happening to you and I. Not to like, any of the rich people who are playing the game and fucking each other and fondling each other and making sure that they have their fucking castles . . . and Jews are the worst. The worst.

* * *

These are pretty big statements, so I ask him to explain. He tries, but I get a four-minute verbal rampage that jumps from the British, to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, to blaming Jews. Children are being indoctrinated by TV while Goldman Sachs and capitalistic greed cause the collapse of civilization as a whole: “All this shit with Wall Street, the arguments that are going back and forth, it’s so missing the point because they’re having an argument about what it means to be capitalist. Goldman Sachs is very successful and we rose to the top and that’s how they see it: We’re successful because of it. Greed is good, right?” I’m not sure if this is a rhetorical question.

Even with all Pink’s angsty energy, there seems to be no real focus. “As long as you’re outside the law, as long as you convince the law that it doesn’t know what the law is, it’s just lawyers that need to get hip to this shit so they can actually prosecute. But people in Congress are just . . . it’s leading to the collapse of civilization!” As the tirade continues, that couch takes a real beating. His small, pale fist slams into the cushions over and over throughout my psychedelic history lecture, courtesy of Professor Pink.

* * *

Heeb: Okay, but let’s get back to what you said earlier, ‘Jews are the worst.’ Is that just normative self-hate, or is there more to it?
AP: You know what, I am whatever everybody thinks I am. And Jews . . . Jews just like to be called Jewish. That’s all that they care about. They’re fucking stupid. The ones that are like, not in Israel, they’re just so stupid. They’re all like, beefed up with national pride and all that kind of stuff. It’s just bullshit. I’m totally against all that. I think you’re a man of the world. Worldly. We’re all from the same DNA strand, you know. It’s like potatoes are our brothers. So, so, so silly.

With the potato comment, it’s pretty obvious Pink won’t be getting any more coherent, so I start to wind things down. I shut the tape recorder off. We walk out and Pink gets more relaxed as he fidgets with a box of Marlboro Reds. Offering me one, he thoughtfully points out that the “Mar” in “Marlboro” printed near the filter looks like “Jew” when you see it upside down. We bond over complicated family histories and, as we chat about the recent oil spill, he becomes gentler. I wonder who was leasing the rig, and he replies, “Goldman Sachs, dude!” with the most genuine smile I’ve seen the whole hour. He’s joking, but he’s also deadly serious. It’s a strange moment of self-awareness — Pink knows that he might come off like an arrogant mad man, but he’s kind of okay with it. And, oddly enough, I’m okay with it too, and I leave wishing our interview was just beginning instead of ending.

Before Today is expected to drop on June 8. To find out about tour dates and other information, visit the band’s MySpace page or here.

What do you think?

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About The Author

Lauren Soroken

Lauren Soroken was raised in north Florida but now resides in Brooklyn where Heeb tried to dress her up as Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS her first day on the job.

12 Responses

  1. brainyfox

    Another feel good moment brought to you us by

  2. Patrik

    I’m so happy there’s a bio at the end so I know whom to blame for this terrible, lazy piece of journalism.

  3. Yasha

    Nice interview Lauren. And Jews are totally the worst, I agree.

  4. Avraham

    This guy is a total douche and a zero. Is his irreverent opinion supposed to make him cool and “out there”? Yuck.

  5. Slobrodan Chilbrošević

    Hahaha. U called him “a zero”! Seriously, the point was made earlier: Don’t talk to the guy, just listen to the music. He’s fucking with you.

  6. jewdar

    Umm, Hephzibah, I’m not sure if you’re talking about the same Karl Marx who wrote the Communist Manifesto, because your use of the word “Jewz” suggests you may be from an alternate reality with different spelling rules. In this world, however, Karl Marx wasn’t, and couldn’t have been “anti-Israel,” because Israel, and, indeed, Zionism (with the exception of the beginnings of Hibat Zion), didn’t exist.

    As for the rest of Pink’s comments, I’m not sure why anybody would attempt to read meaning in what’s basically a semi-coherent rant. I’ve never heard of him(which may be a reflection of my own limitations), but words like They’re fucking stupid. The ones that are like, not in Israel, they’re just so stupid. They’re all like, beefed up with national pride and all that kind of stuff. It’s just bullshit. I’m totally against all that. I think you’re a man of the world. Worldly. We’re all from the same DNA strand, you know. It’s like potatoes are our brothers. So, so, so silly.” aren’t inclined to make me see him as a deep thinker.

  7. hephzibala

    you blusterous nitwit! carl marx wrote on the jewish question, whcih is critical of this precise materialistic view of “history” . and yes the term zionism emerged 7 years after his death, you obstreperous shrew. my word

  8. jewdar

    The “Jewish Question” is not “Israel,” and your inability to distinguish it (and Jews, for that matter), from the state of Israel, doesn’t say much for your own grasp of history.

    To say that Karl Marx is “anti-Israel” would be like saying that he was “anti-Chrysler.” Would he have been “anti-Chrysler?” Probably, but he wasn’t, since it didn’t exist.

    And as far as Marx’s alleged genius goes, I would say his opinion that Jews aren’t a real nationality and are merely a by-product of capitalism hardly demonstrates any great intellectual gift. What are his words of wisdom on the subject?:
    “What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, selfishness. What is the secular cult of the Jew? Haggling. What is his secular god? Money. Well then, an emancipation from haggling and money, from practical, real Judaism would be the self emancipation of our age…

    …The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”

    Nothing about Israel, a whole lot about Jews. And one might argue that the Zionist movement itself rather challenges his views, since Jews clearly constructed a nationalist identity fairly contrary to the Jewish identity of his time, and built not around economics but around 19th century Romantic nationalism.
    As for the rest of his supposed genius, how’s that inevitable revolution coming?:

  9. Lucy

    he’s a GREAT musician, visual artist and songwriter of broad influence.
    It would be a shame to see him Cat Stevens on us.

  10. Birt

    I thought Ariel Pink didn’t really care about the state of the world, really glad to see him criticising capitalism , mindless nationalism, consumerism and Israel


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