Father John Misty: Fear Fun


Father John Misty is Josh Tillman’s (ex-Fleet Foxes) latest identity and this time around he strives for honesty over escapism. After leaving Fleet Foxes, Tillman set out to capture the truth inside of himself that he felt must be hidden underneath the layers of ‘alter-egos’ he has been collecting over the years. Fear Fun, Father John Misty’s full length debut on Sub Pop reveals something worth singing about and the message is something one discovers at their own pace. 


If Fear Fun was conceived in Laurel Canyon then it was mid-wifed in a home studio in Echo Park, where a flow of LA musicians graced the studio and where Tillman and Wilson worked on the tracks. Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, the Shins, Built to Spill, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses) offered to mix the album after he heard the rough versions of the album in May 2011. 


With its first track "Funtimes in Babylon," Fear Fun begins as a prophetic warning written in a narrative voice that embodies the style of a burnt out beat poet driving listlessly around in an old van with a bag of psychedelics and the vague notion that a novel is being written. By the third track "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" Tillman captures the electricity of Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the honesty of Charles Bukowski. Fear Fun is at once calm and later frantic.


Fear Fun was conceived in a Laurel Canyon shack that Tillman holed up in before bringing his demos to LA producer/songwriter/friend Jonathan Wilson (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Jonathan Rice). It is apparent that this setting is responsible for the ’70s esque rock vibes that shimmer throughout the songs shifting from the organ melodies to the hypnotic waves of pedal steel. TIllman responds to this allusion honestly by pointing out, "…it’s kind of a huge joke that I live in a former hippie-fantasy land. I have a really morbid sense of humor."   Although there are a few missteps along the way, it takes a true leap of faith to leave one indie rock’s most respected and beloved bands. Like many artists before him Tllman has proven it’s very advantageous to step out from behind the drum kit.

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