A Brief Exchange With Neil Michael Hagerty

A few questions about sports, answered by one of my favorite musicians. Still read my earlier post, and Joey's NBA preview (1, 2).

Bethlehem Shoals: Why are people surprised that indie rock and sports share some audience?

Neil Michael Hagerty: People are surprised about this because (as I've learned in the last 7 years or so) people are really fucking stupid.

BS: Anyone whose interest in sports has shocked you? Timothy Leary, maybe?

NMH: Someone told me recently that Johnny Marr is not only a huge futbol fan but that he even had a tryout with a club in the UK when he was younger.

BS: I'm fairly certain you once talked about the relationship between basketball and harmolodics. There was some mention of muting games and watching them with an Ornette soundtrack. Are sports that avant-garde?

NMH: All discerning musicians know that basketball is the musical sport, possibly because it was invented by a Canadian.

BS: Who are your top five NBA players of all-time? Plus any "why" you feel like including.

NMH: Kareem, Oscar Robertson, Kevin McHale and more recently Iverson and Rasheed Wallace. The "Why" would be that I think they're cool or something equally retarded.

BS: I've always been drawn to athletes who were self-destructive, meteoric, promising but troubled, or ravaged by injuries. As far as American myths go, is there a connection between this and the rocker?

NMH: I can buy that connection but the guy has to end up as a survivor and not a suicide for that to have much muscle for me.

BS: Wizards or Bullets?

NMH: BULLETS, oh my god-- I still have a Rasheed Bullets jersey. But I do like that Agent Zero.

BS: Any NBA predictions for 2007-08?

NMH: I feel like Duncan is gonna get hurt.


At 11/02/2007 12:27 PM, Blogger goathair said...

BS: I've always been drawn to athletes who were self-destructive, meteoric, promising but troubled, or ravaged by injuries. As far as American myths go, is there a connection between this and the rocker?

That's a great question. I offer Roky Erickson as this connection.

At 11/02/2007 1:00 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I don't really think Roky Erickson fits that mold. It's pretty much impossible to romanticize his life story.

Speaking of things that may or may not be impossible to romanticize, our award-winning Wire blog Hevaen and Here is slowly getting itself together for Season Five. Be aware of this.

At 11/02/2007 1:24 PM, Anonymous paperpusher said...

best rocker/baller i ever knew was Ron House of the Great Plains and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. Could shoot and muscle. Probably still can. Howland could shoot, too, but he was a pussy about being defended.

At 11/02/2007 2:21 PM, Anonymous Disciple of Clyde said...

Does this mean Tim Duncan got the Howling Hex put on him?

He should wear a knee brace, just to be sure.

At 11/02/2007 3:15 PM, Blogger rebar said...

the lig w/o TD would be such a... brave new world. who could/would win? does the abscence of totality (duncan) allow the faceless third (or fourth, or fifth [seed]) to interject into our previously molar association? Is this the season to embrace molecularity completely? to throw off any and all associations with even admitting the dominance of Spurs/right-way/defense and simply go our own path? construct a TAZ of pure basketball love for the masses, and project a 7 game Griz-Warriors series in the conference finals?

some may call me crazy, but when the shit hits the fan, don't say i didn't vaguely pray that it would.

in other news, watching the dreaded ESP-N this morning, they juxtaposed tracey mcgrady's tearful post-game 7 interview where he just walked out with T-MAC's stirring 47 point game 8. I almost cried for the man, watching a titan of our time, a veritable Cronus overthrown into perpetual anger and passion by the Zeus-Aries axis of Boozer-Williams. May games 9 and beyond be repeats not of the first 7, but of the 8th, the completing of some mystikal desiring-machine. now, more than ever, i long for T-MAC to break through his white wall of the first round.

would a boozer-lebron combo be that interesting anyway? would boozer develop in the presence of the new hotness (who has not been looking very hot, compared to boozer)

At 11/02/2007 6:07 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

ROYAL TRUX would be a great team name.

At 11/02/2007 6:58 PM, Blogger roadkiller said...

Re: "indie rock and sports share some audience?"

Great question, as I have a foot in both audiences (as a fan, not profession) and found this interesting.

Sadly, it seems that much of the indie music scene is by conscious choice anti-sport, although in a world w/o exterior influences to cloud one's mind basketball and experimental music are such a natural union. It goes back, I believe, to the hipster's idea of the "jock" and everything that term embodies as they reflect on their high school years. It's too bad because so much pleasure can be derived from, and so much expression can be displayed through, both music and basketball.

This reminds me of the time in the Spring of 2000 when I was at a Yo La Tengo show in L.A. Ira Kaplan, the singer, started bemoaning his beloved Knicks and predicting a championship for the Lakers (which of course he was soon to be right about!!!) and somebody in the crowd yelled out for everyone to hear, "Shut the fuck up about the Lakers and just play music!" The band shut up and played music. I was so angry and embarrassed to be in the crowd at that moment. Here was a great band, which has always expressed a love of sport, trying to connect to their audience not just through music, but also through the age-old American tradition of "sports talk," being told that the two can't mix. To paraphrase Neil Hagerty, it might've just been a "fucking stupid" person, but unfortunately that mentality is pervasive in the indie music scene.

At 11/02/2007 9:21 PM, Blogger BW said...

Interviewer: "If basketball didn't exist, what would you be doing right now?"

Aaron Afflalo: "I would have found a way to invent basketball."

At 11/02/2007 10:57 PM, Anonymous Art Tatum Can't Shoot said...

Roadkiller: I always blamed Belle & Sebastian for that (songs like Stars of Track and Field, Shoot the Sexual Athlete,etc.)- often one of the first indie bands kids get into.

At 11/03/2007 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up with Panda Bear from the Animal Collective. No joke, he is one of the best basketball players I know. Again, no joke.

At 11/03/2007 2:17 AM, Anonymous berts said...

If that's true anon 2:13 then it only serves to make panda bear more of a legend

wishing i was the right age for neil michael hagerty

At 11/03/2007 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true. He's a fucking baller. Or he was. Him and his brother were the backcourt for his high school team.

At 11/03/2007 1:37 PM, Blogger Jay Cam said...

he looks a little high..
~Jay's World

At 11/03/2007 2:01 PM, Anonymous grover's dad said...

to go along with roadkiller, my personal favorite indie/sports moment:
saw Malkmus at the Black Cat in DC in 2004 I think, at end of the season/start of playoffs, and before he played "Baby C'mon", he renamed it "Gilbert C'mon". I also got score updates during the show from a dude next to me who checked on the games on his cell.

At 11/05/2007 2:16 PM, Blogger Abe said...

Didn't Albini say that all Shellac songs are about baseball? Back in Eugene, Oregon at the WOW Hall we would often announce Ducks scores between bands. 80% of the metal crowd would cheer, maybe 20% of the indie crowd. I don't think anybody bothered with the punk kids.

At 11/05/2007 6:31 PM, Blogger Leee said...

I always blamed Belle & Sebastian for that

Isn't Stuart Murdoch a big -- get this -- baseball fan, cf. "Piazza, New York Catcher"?

I've read that he's a big fan of Barry Bonds, too.

At 9/06/2008 3:33 PM, Blogger WashMachine said...

The Howling Hex and song writer, author, producer Neil Michael Hagerty have returned with not only their latest record but, NOW expanding their free-range New Border Sound to film & video with...


"EARTH JUNK is a ramble in the dappled sunlight of the American southwest, twisted metallic folk-art in the ever-changing breeze, an offering to all nations... "

Screening at Millennium theatre as part of the WashMachine Cinema Cycle

Millennium Theater
66 East 4st NY, 10003 Btwn. 2nd & Bowery

CHECK OUT PROMO VIDEO : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6Ybaa-nffo

The mysterious path less traveled that The Howling Hex ride exclusively on has once again taken them into uncharted musical territory — a barren landscape but for puffs of circus organ and stands of electric guitar riffage, a loneliness traversed by male and female vocal interjections with their tall tales to tell. The New Border Sound keeps getting farther and farther out there! Earth Junk — it might just save us after all.


At 4/13/2009 4:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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