Did Bon Iver back out of Grammys' Etta James tribute?
The painful Grammy Awards press releases would be reason enough not to take part in the yearly award show, but Bon Iver's Justin Vernon decided to opt his band out of performing at the event because a collaborative effort wouldn't cut it. One of our readers responded by advising Vernon to get "your nose out of your own butthole," but given what was probably going to unfold, Gimme Noise has more mixed feelings about him choosing not to play.
Although the Grammys are notorious for pairings that make no sense, we're going to assume that Bon Iver was not set to team with Foo Fighters, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne, which is a real thing that will happen. Not only will Dave Grohl share the stage with one of the most disliked singers in showbiz, but unexplainably, it's for a segment dedicated to dance/electronica music. David Guetta and Deadmau5 -- but not Skrillex -- will play some role in this clusterscrew of a spectacle "in a special outdoor tent adjacent to STAPLES Center." Grohl deserves to go all Michael Douglas-in-Falling Down the way he does in the "Walk" video for this placement.
But, Vernon said this pairing would be with "people that I would love to play a song with," so we're doubting that it was this Deadmau5 thing.
It hurts the head to look at some of the other all-star pairings the night will hold. File under slightly less unlikely: Coldplay and Rihanna (and Bon Iver) doing "Princess of China" or Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean (and Bon Iver) working out "Don't You Wanna Stay." In either case, the creamy falsetto of Vernon could certainly add a new dimension to these pre-existing Grammy bait collaborations, but it's still not where he'd be ending up.
Nope, the sure money is on another lineup that was announced today. Until sometime last week when Vernon kinda said "fuck you" to the Grammys, and then mentioned that conversation with Billboard, thing could've been up in the air a bit. And then the band gave an exclamation point of a performance on Saturday Night Live (and a Twitter war with HIPSTER RUNOFF) over the weekend -- which could be seen as mighty close to the national TV bump they would've gotten this coming Sunday anyhow.
So, with that settled, we see that nine-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt and 14-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys -- both artists the as-yet-Grammyless Vernon has professed love for in the past -- are teamed for a musical remembrance for the late, great Etta James. This almost has to be what the organizers envisioned would be the best use of the Bon Iver sound -- material that is more familiar to people like Rosie O'Donnell than "Holocene."
It sucks for any artist that the Grammys attempts to gladhand so many artists, managers, publicists, labels, and others with undeniable power, creativity, and influence, but this bloated format is what we get. We agree that "Rock n' roll should be the fucking people with guitars around their backs," and that choosing to take part is definitely giving up a great chunk of artistic identity.
The flipside is getting to say that you performed "All I Could Do Was Cry" with Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys. And this would definitely be a gig that would have nothing to do with the music on Bon Iver, which was chief among Vernon's complaints in the Billboard interview. It's unlikely that Bon Iver will get another opportunity quite like this in front of as many people -- the Grammys have not always had a great memory for bands. But, INTEGRITY! So it remains to be seen if this is a move that helps or haunts them in the long run. Or they were expected to share the stage with Adele, and dudes definitely made the right move to skip out on that.
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