View Full Version : Tweedy vs. Farrar

09-08-2005, 03:52 PM
From Pitchfork:

Jay Farrar Speaks Extensively About Uncle Tupelo's Breakup

Kati Llewellyn reports:
Tomorrow, Relix magazine ("Music for the Mind"-- trippy, brah!) will release its September/October issue, causing tie-dye wearing 15-year-olds across the country to climb out of their clam-baked basements and head to the local newsstand. "How does this at all pertain to me?," you may ask. Well, my indie rock friend, featured in this magazine is an extensive interview with ex-Uncle Tupelo guitarist/vocalist Jay Farrar in which he discusses that band's demise and his fallout with former partner Jeff Tweedy.

Tweedy has spoken freely about the event from the beginning, allowing his story of Tupelo's disintegration to be generally accepted as fact. Here's his version: Farrar and Tweedy meet in high school. Tweedy, unexperienced as a musician at this point, looks at Farrar, who has been in a number of bands with his older brothers, as a role model. The two teens, along with drummer Mike Heidorn, form Uncle Tupelo. The band's first two albums are heavily influenced by Farrar, but Tweedy improves and takes a greater hold on the group, which (as the story goes), Farrar found hard to swallow. This creates tension and the men stop communicating. Around this time, Heidorn leaves, worsening the situation. A major-label deal brought Tupelo up from the underground, putting on the pressure that led to Farrar's departure. A crushed Tweedy groups the band's remaining members together to form Wilco, and Farrar meets up with Heidorn to create Son Volt.

Farrar does not necessarily disagree with all that, but has his own (juicier) side to contribute to history. In the lengthy Relix interview, Farrar tells journalist Antony DeCurtis that things started to unravel after he saw Tweedy stroke the hair of his girlfriend of seven years, Monica Groth (now his wife), as she was sleeping. "I found out later that he was telling her stuff, like, he loves her," says Farrar, who attempted to quit the band the next day. Tweedy was devastated. "[Tweedy's] parents called mine and said that Jeff 'wanted to be me.' I struggled with that...Then every other day for about a week he would call. After a week of sitting around with no prospects, I decided to continue."

Farrar departed the band for good in January 1994. Before leaving Tupelo, he met with Tweedy for another major confrontation. Farrar explains, "When I spoke to him about why I was quitting I basically laid it out for him. I told him that the dynamic had changed and that it wasn't fun for me anymore...His response was to call me a 'pussy.'"

Farrar's story definitely adds a different dynamic to Uncle Tupelo's end, which is what he hoped to accomplish upon ending his silence in the Relix interview. "One misconception that I find difficult to absorb is Jeff's portrayal of himself as a victim, which I find to be absurd," says Farrar. "There were steps we could have taken to have a better relationship and a better understanding. It could have happened. But it didn't."

Well, hopefully as the boys mature, they will be able to patch up their differences or at least move past the past, because hey, Pitchfork don't want no depression 'round these parts. In the meantime, Farrar continues to go his own route and kicked off a tour yesterday with his post-Tupelo band, Son Volt.

Panama Fuck
09-08-2005, 03:54 PM
the gloves come off

09-08-2005, 03:54 PM
I have a tendency to believe Farrar. Jeff was always pretty vague about Uncle Tupelo breaking up, and Jay is providing some more definite explanations. Knowing a little about Tweedy, I wouldn't be shocked if all of this were true. Whatever... these guys need to make up and have a reunion tour.