Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek is currently in an indie-rock war of words with The War On Drugs. It all began earlier this fall, when Kozelek told audiences at the Ottawa Folk Festival—where sound from the Drugs’ set had spilled over onto his stage—that the group was “beer commercial lead-guitar shit” and that it could “suck his fucking dick.” The War On Drugs responded, saying that, “as a fan,” it was disappointed Kozelek would say that. Kozelek fired back a somewhat conciliatory response, blaming the “Ottawa ‘Bleed’ Fest” for his ire, and claiming that “it could have been any band’s music blaring from over the hill, and I still would have made jokes.” Yet weeks later, he again referred to the group as having “beer commercial lead guitar” in an interview with Smile Politely.
Now, Kozelek has called out sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum for reporting on all this, saying he “will not apologize for stage banter,” despite what anyone—including The War On Drugs—might want. In a statement, Kozelek says, “There is an epidemic of people being offended by things as some kind of hobby,” and that, due to all the hubbub, he’s since checked out The War On Drugs’ music, which he says sounds like “Don Henley meets John Cougar meets Dire Straits meets ‘Born In The USA’-era Bruce Springsteen.” He adds that isn’t “a criticism,” but merely “an observation.”
Kozelek is also challenging The War On Drugs to a showdown at the group’s show next week at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium. Kozelek says he’d like to join the group onstage to “play a hilarious song I’ve written called ‘War On Drugs: Suck My Cock/Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself,’” but only if the group will “let [him] handle the beer commercial lead guitar.”