Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

From 1996, our vintage interviews with “Weird Al,” James Ellroy, Phish, and more

(Photo: Getty Images; Image: Nick Wanserski)

The A.V. Club was founded in 1993 as a non-satirical pop culture supplement to our sister publication, The Onion. In 1996, both The Onion and The A.V. Club went online. At the time, both were primarily print publications, published together weekly and distributed across the United States. (We discontinued the print edition in 2013.)


That means that, in addition to marking the 20th anniversaries of the Tamagotchi, the Spice Girls, and Pop-Up Video, this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of this website. That’s two solid decades of reviews, previews, interviews, and gimmicky themed lists. And so, in honor of 1996 Week and our platinum (or fine china, for international readers) anniversary as online arbiters of taste, we’re republishing some long unavailable interviews from our first year on what was then popularly called the World Wide Web.

There’s a wide-ranging interview with Mark Hamill by The A.V. Club’s founding editor, Stephen Thompson, or another with novelist James Ellroy, conducted a year before the release of the hit film adaptation of L.A. Confidential. There’s “Weird Al” Yankovic being interviewed by a 13-year-old fan named Ben, and Phish’s Mike Gordon speaking shortly after the release of Billy Breathes, the album that introduced the band to a wider audience. You can also check out an interview about religion with Glen Benton of the death metal band Deicide and a conversation with Screeching Weasel frontman Ben Weasel by early Onion mainstay Joe Garden, creator of Jim Anchower and Jackie Harvey.

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