Justin Vernon Has an Odd View of Milwaukee
We have the most depressing Halloween tradition ever, apparently
Though it probably won't stop the sold-out crowds at Bon Iver's upcoming Riverside Theater concerts next month from cheering wildly at the mention of their hometown, a standout track from the upcoming Bon Iver record makes a rather bleak reference to Milwaukee. On "Holocene," Justin Vernon sings "You're laying waste to Halloween/ You fucked it friend, it's on its head, it struck the street/ You're in Milwaukee, off your feet," and in a Pitchfork interview this week, he explained that somber verse:
Pitchfork: There are so many specific things from your life on this new album-- like mentioning the house where Brad and Phil Cook lived in Wisconsin at Third and Lake on "Holocene"-- what are they all communicating together?JV: I'm not sure how any images on a record fit together, but they are coming from a specific place. "Holocene" is a good example. The whole second verse is about those years in Eau Claire but the first verse is this weird amalgamation of the darkness that came with those times. I set that verse in Milwaukee because it's a dark, beer-drunk place. Even though I didn't spend a lot of time there, it's a good metaphor for those darker times. And guess what adults do on Halloween in Milwaukee? They get blind drunk and try to forget about their childhoods. We were going through ideas for a video for "Holocene", and we thought it should be adults trick-or-treating where children are handing out their past dreams. Pretty dark.
This just... well, it's not really true, right? Milwaukee has a pretty thick skin about perceptions of its drinking habits, but that Halloween statement must rank as one of the oddest generalizations about the city.