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Father John Misty on Wikipedia
Josh Tillman
Father John Misty, 2013 (cropped).jpgTillman performing as Father John Misty at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in May 2013
Background information
Birth nameJoshua Michael Tillman
Also known asJ. Tillman
Father John Misty
Born(1981-05-03) May 3, 1981 (age 36)
OriginRockville, Maryland
United States
  • Indie rock
  • indie folk
  • folk rock
  • post-rock
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • drums
  • percussion
Years active2004–present
  • Sub Pop
  • Yer Bird
  • Western Vinyl
  • Bella Union
  • Keep Recordings
  • Fargo Records
  • Crossroads of America Records
  • Flannelgraph Records
  • Broken Factory
Associated acts
  • Jeffertitti's Nile
  • Siberian
  • Poor Moon
  • Har Mar Superstar
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Saxon Shore
  • Kid Cudi
  • Beyoncé
  • Lady Gaga

Joshua Michael "Josh" Tillman[1] (born May 3, 1981), also known as J. Tillman or Father John Misty, is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and drummer.[2] Maintaining a steady output of solo recordings since 2004,[3] Tillman is a former member of indie rock bands Saxon Shore, Fleet Foxes, Jeffertitti's Nile,[4] Pearly Gate Music,[5] Siberian,[6] Har Mar Superstar,[7] Poor Moon,[8] Low Hums, Jonathan Wilson,[9] Bill Patton, The Lashes, Stately English, and has toured extensively with Pacific Northwest artists Damien Jurado, Jesse Sykes, and David Bazan.[10][11] He has also made contributions to albums by popular artists, including Beyoncé,[12] Lady Gaga,[13] and Kid Cudi.[14]


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 Solo albums
    • 2.2 Fleet Foxes
    • 2.3 Father John Misty
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Discography
  • 5 Notable performances
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life

Tillman grew up in an Evangelical Christian household in Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.[15][16] The oldest of four children, he has a brother and two sisters.[17] His father was an engineer at Hewlett-Packard.[15] Before Tillman settled on a career as a musician, he briefly had ambitions of becoming a pastor because of the performance aspect[18] when he was approximately six years old.[19] He comments that his parents focused on the spiritual aspects of his upbringing, which he describes as "culturally oppressive". They were estranged for many years, but have since resumed contact.[15][18] After learning drums at a young age, Tillman learned guitar when he was 12.[18]

Tillman was raised in a Baptist church and attended an Episcopal elementary school, but by fifth grade he found himself enrolled in a Pentecostal Messianic Jewish day school.[20] Tillman said he was naive when he was growing up because there was almost no cultural influence and no secular music allowed. Around the age of 17, there were new stipulations from his parents – he was allowed to listen to secular music that had a "spiritual theme". So his early purchases included albums like Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming as he was able to establish that Dylan was classified as a "Christian artist".[15]

Solo albums

After attending Nyack College in New York for a year,[21][22] Tillman moved to Seattle when he was 21.[15] He found a job there working at a bakery, which allowed him to record at night before his 4:30 am shift began. A demo he made eventually found its way to Seattle singer and songwriter Damien Jurado. A year later Tillman started opening for Jurado.[23] At shows Tillman would distribute CD-R copies of songs that would later become his album I Will Return. During the tour, he also struck up a friendship with Eric Fisher, who produced another CD-R album, Long May You Run. Both albums were later released on Keep Recordings.[24] Tillman and Jurado both later signed on for a U.S. tour with Richard Buckner.[22]

In 2006, the independent label Fargo Records released Tillman's first properly distributed solo album, Minor Works, and reissued I Will Return and Long May You Run as a two-disc set the same year. In 2007, Yer Bird Records released his more elaborately arranged fourth album, Cancer and Delirium.[22]

After signing to independent record label Western Vinyl, Tillman released two albums in 2009, Vacilando Territory Blues and Year In The Kingdom.[23] Tillman said he wrote the title track of Vacilando Territory Blues to describe imagery he associates with his move to Seattle. His brother Zach subsequently moved there as well[18] and is now in the musical group Pearly Gate Music.[25] The following year Tillman released Singing Ax.[23]

Fleet Foxes

In 2008, Tillman joined Seattle folk rock band Fleet Foxes as their drummer.[20]

After extensive touring with Fleet Foxes, promoting their album Helplessness Blues, Tillman played his final show with the band in Tokyo on January 20, 2012.[26]

Father John Misty

On May 1, 2012, Tillman released the album Fear Fun under his new moniker Father John Misty.[27] A couple of months prior to the release of the album a video was released for the song "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" starring Parks and Recreation's Aubrey Plaza. The album was a dramatic departure from any of Tillman's former releases.[28]

As Father John Misty, Tillman was featured on Kid Cudi's 2013 album Indicud.[29]

Tillman wrote an essay about Damien Jurado's recording, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (Secretly Canadian, 2014).[30] He also wrote the soundtrack for a short film called The History of Caves, directed by his wife, the filmmaker Emma Elizabeth Tillman.[31][32]

The "Limited Run Promotional Poster" was available at the artist’s website, and promoted a purported release called New Winter, described as a "Christmas Neu-Jazz Double Album", and quoted several paradoxes and reviews (for example, from The Wall Street Journal, calling it the "new standard by which all seasonal music must now be measured", or from Spin, giving the release 10 out of 10 points and calling it an "ssential year-round listening"). The poster text further states that the release will be sold as "compact disc" as well as "imited edition prismatic hologram 6xLP on merlot and emerald semi-translucent 180 gram vinyl with original alternate-side etchings by Josh Tillman available till supplies last". The poster names five songs that are part of the track list: "Gesture I: Inoculation (Mother And Child)", "Gesture II: Feast Of Spirits", "Anacrusis Future Seed", "Naked Fire/The Fifth Season" and "Gemini".[33]

In February 2015, the album I Love You, Honeybear was released.[34]

Tillman made headlines by covering Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" and "Welcome to New York" in 2015. He claimed to have never listened to the artist prior to recording the covers.[35]

On May 19, 2016, Tillman released a new song entitled "Real Love Baby" on Soundcloud.[36]

Tillman appeared on the song "Saturday Night Inside Out" on The Avalanches's second studio album Wildflower, which was released on July 1, 2016.

On July 22, 2016, Tillman gained media attention after walking off stage at XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, New Jersey, after twenty minutes into his planned fifty-minute performance.[37] Instead of performing his setlist, Tillman walked out and asked, "What the fuck is going on?"[38] He then talked for six minutes about the "numbing" role entertainment plays in our lives and how "stupidity just fucking runs the world because entertainment is stupid." When the audience applauded him he asked them not to and responded by saying, "Maybe just take a moment to be really fucking profoundly sad."[39] He finally played a thirteen-minute piece from his recent album Pure Comedy called Leaving LA which references the frustrations he spoke of during his speech. Tillman then covered Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire" before telling the crowd he loved them and walked off the stage, cutting his performance short.[40] The following day, Tillman explained his performance in an Instagram post, in which he called Donald Trump's speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention a "demonic clown pageant coronation of our next potential Idiot King", which took place the night before Tillman's performance.[41]

So, maybe it's completely insane and wildly inappropriate to get in front of a battleship adjacent to Camden, NJ the day after the demonic clown pageant coronation of our next potential Idiot King and publicly despair on a stage contracted specially for the purpose an afternoon of delightful folk/blues/Americana/roots music and feel real fucking deep-down-in-your guts jeembles about entertainment, its narcotic properties and horrifying efficiency in elevating madmen to the heights of influence (ironic) - KNOWING all the while it's probably better to leave this kind of commentary to the professionals at Comedy Central- after a few days of politely shrugging and shaking your head in pathetic resignation with other polite, pathetic resigned people and asking "Wait, what the fuck is going on?" in to a microphone before playing a new 15 minute song that is almost obscenely vulnerable because it feels more honest to you than "Bored in the USA" but maybe it's not.

Tillman addressed his behavior while later performing at Mo Pop Festival in Detroit on July 24, 2016, where he said he was not particularly articulate and clarified:[42]

We really need to regain some perspective on what can be entertainment and try to be conscious of the ways in which we're viewing things as if they were entertainment. Things end up becoming really passive and we become powerless because we interact with it like it's entertainment. I just feel like I would be remiss if I didn't talk about that a little bit.

On November 7, 2016, Tillman released a cover of "Trump's Private Pilot", a song written by Tim Heidecker, on Soundcloud.[43]

On November 22, 2016, Tillman released a new song entitled "Holy Hell" on Soundcloud.[44]

On January 23, 2017, the single "Pure Comedy" was released in the form of a music video and Tillman announced the arrival of his album Pure Comedy released on April 7, 2017. Through this album, he externalizes the stereotypical character of Father John Misty that he developed through the two previous albums in order to prevent himself from being constricted to the character's image, using his personhood and experiences to expose his outlook on life.[45]

The second single released off of Pure Comedy, "Two Wildly Different Perspectives", was released with another music video on January 30, 2017.[46]

The third single released was "Ballad of the Dying Man" on February 1, 2017.[47]

The fourth single, "Total Entertainment Forever", was released on the night it was performed on Saturday Night Live on March 4, 2017.[48]

On April 7, 2017, Pure Comedy was released.

Personal life

Tillman is married to photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman (née Garr). They met in Los Angeles at the Laurel Canyon Country Store and were married in Big Sur.[49] They had lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, but have returned to Los Angeles.[50] Tillman had previously lived in Seattle for several years.[20]

Tillman has severe depression and anxiety, and currently self-medicates with micro-doses of LSD.[51]


Main article: Josh Tillman discography

Studio albums

as J. Tillman

  • Untitled No. 1 (2003)
  • I Will Return (2004)
  • Long May You Run, J. Tillman (2006)
  • Minor Works (2006)
  • Cancer and Delirium (2007)
  • Vacilando Territory Blues (2009)
  • Year in the Kingdom (2009)
  • Singing Ax (2010)

as Father John Misty

  • Fear Fun (2012)
  • I Love You, Honeybear (2015)
  • Pure Comedy (2017)

with Fleet Foxes

  • Helplessness Blues (2011)

with Saxon Shore

  • Be a Bright Blue (2002)
  • Four Months of Darkness (2003)

Notable performances

  • Late Show with David Letterman, May 1, 2012
  • KCRW: Morning Becomes Eclectic, May 30, 2012
  • Late Show with David Letterman, Nov. 3, 2014
  • Roskilde Festival July 2, 2015 at Avalon Stage.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jan. 14, 2016 
  • Saturday Night Live, March 4, 2017


  1. ^ "Father John Misty: Misty Mountain Hop". Magnet Magazine. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  2. ^ "J. Tillman (as Father John Misty) announces new solo album". Albino Rhino. 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Josh Tillman Biography". Artist Direct. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Jeffertitti's Nile - No One - Q MagazineQ Magazine". Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Lester, Paul (4 May 2010). "Pearly Gate Music (No 778)". Retrieved 4 November 2016 – via The Guardian. 
  6. ^ Levin, Hannah. "Rocka Rolla". Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Dominoe. "Har Mar Superstar with Josh Tillman at Satellite – Photos & Show Review – April 25, 2013". Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "Poor Moon: Good dancers on lonely streets - What's Up! Magazine". Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Jonathan Wilson's 'Fanfare' is the most important album of 2013". DangerousMinds. 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2016-01-02. 
  10. ^ "J. Tillman". thesixtyone. 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  11. ^ Alt-Gramma. "Interview with Josh Tillman". Speed of Dark. Archived from the original (blog) on April 30, 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Camp, Zoe. "Father John Misty Tells Two Stories About Beyoncé Collaboration: One Real, One Fake". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  13. ^ Phillips, Amy. "Lady Gaga Announces New Album Joanne". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  14. ^ Muller, Marissa G. "Father John Misty Talks New Album, Doing Mushrooms with Kid Cudi and his TV Pilot". MTV. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Maron, Marc (December 30, 2013). "Episode 457 – Father John Misty" (podcast). WTF with Marc Maron Podcast. Retrieved 31 December 2013. (Subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ "Father John Misty's 'I Love You, Honeybear' Out February 10th". Sub Pop. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Stiles, Blair (June 15, 2013). "Concert review: Crowd meets the palm of Father John Misty's hand (with Pure Bathing Culture) at a sold-out Firebird, Friday, June 14". KDHX. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d Down, Lauren (March 9, 2009). "TLOBF Interview :: J. Tillman". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Rockpalast Father John Misty Interview Haldern Pop Festival WDR" (video). West Deutscher Rundfunk. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c Ducker, George (January 22, 2009). "Introspection pays: Sad folk ballads of J. Tillman". Los Angeles Times. Pop & Hiss – The L.A. Times Music Blog. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  21. ^ Frank, Aaron (2012-05-03). "Father John Misty Just Quit Fleet Foxes: We Get High in His Van". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2017-04-02. 
  22. ^ a b c "About J. Tillman – J. Tillman Career". CMT. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  23. ^ a b c "J. Tillman". Western Vinyl. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  24. ^ "J. Tillman – Discount Priced CDs". J Tillman Music. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  25. ^ "Pearly Gate Music". 
  26. ^ Hogan, Marc (2012-01-20). "Fleet Foxes Lose One Beard: J. Tillman Exits Band". SPIN. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  27. ^ "Father John Misty Website – Very Important Info!". FatherJohnMisty.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  28. ^ Zabrey, Paula. "Fear Fun By Father John Misty". Subpop. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  29. ^ Rayner, Caroline. "J. Tillman reborn as Father John Misty, releases brooding new album Fear Fun on Sub Pop – Music News – Releases". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  30. ^ McGovern, Kyle (October 16, 2013). "Read Father John Misty's Incredible Essay About Damien Jurado's New Album". SPIN. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  31. ^ Brown, Harley (October 29, 2013). "Josh Tillman Talks Film Score, New Father John Misty Album". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  32. ^ Battan, Carrie (November 25, 2013). "Stream Father John Misty's Soundtrack for The History of Caves" (Soundcloud). Pitchfork. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "'New Winter' Christmas Neu-Jazz Double Album Promotional POSTER". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  34. ^ Samadder, Rhik (January 31, 2015). "Father John Misty: 'I just wanted to write about love without bullshitting'". The Guardian. 
  35. ^ "Father John Misty Finally Explains Taylor Swift Covers & Her Team's Reaction". Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  36. ^ Minsker, Evan (2016-05-19). "Father John Misty Shares "Real Love Baby": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  37. ^ Young, Alex (2016-07-23). "Father John Misty went full troll mode for his set at Philadelphia's XPN Festival". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  38. ^ DeLuca, Dan (2016-07-23). "Father John Misty, upending expectations at Xponential Fest". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  39. ^ Minsker, Evan (2016-07-23). "Father John Misty Explains "Obscenely Vulnerable" Festival Performance". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  40. ^ Minsker, Evan (2016-07-23). "Father John Misty Cuts Festival Set Short After Lecture About "Evil": Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  41. ^ Gaca, Anna (2016-07-23). "Father John Misty Is Having a Rough Day". Spin. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  42. ^ Bobby Joseph (24 July 2016). "Father John Misty Addresses Prior Rant - Mo Pop 2016". Retrieved 4 November 2016 – via YouTube. 
  43. ^ Trump's Private Pilot, retrieved 2016-11-24 
  44. ^ Holy Hell, retrieved 2016-11-24 
  45. ^ "The World According to Father John Misty". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  46. ^ "Father John Misty Shares Video for Somber Song "Two Wildly Different Perspectives"". 
  47. ^ "New Music: Father John Misty – "Ballad of the Dying Man"". 
  48. ^ "Father John Misty references Taylor Swift in new song, 'Total Entertainment Forever'". 
  49. ^ Bevan, David (February 5, 2015). "Father John Misty: How to Make Love". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  50. ^ KEXP (25 August 2015). "Father John Misty - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)". Retrieved 4 November 2016 – via YouTube. 
  51. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob (2017-03-14). "How Father John Misty Made an Ideal Album for the Era of Outrage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Profile on Western Viny website
  • Profile on Yer Bird website
  • Profile on Autumn Tone Records website

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