Toronto Star

All about touring, Trump and why he likes Taylor Swift

- PATRICK RYAN USA TODAY What’s the worst show you’ve ever played?

Father John Misty has the perfect explanatio­n for why he quit Twitter this summer.

“Imagine if Twitter was a physical space: Would you ever go there?” asks the sardonic singer-songwriter. “I just decided to stop going to that bar. It’s like, the worst bar.”

It’s certainly a less interestin­g place to visit in the absence of Josh Tillman, 36, who’s developed a polarizing reputation for withering sarcasm and cynical rants as folk artist Father John Misty.

Fortunatel­y, you can still find him on the road on his North American tour, which visits Massey Hall on Monday.

You just finished playing festivals all summer. Do you approach those sets any differentl­y than solo shows?

I just headlined my first festival in the U.K., which is definitely the only market that would ever invite me to headline a festival. But outside of having a cake-throwing DJ onstage with me, I haven’t really changed anything.

Do you venture out much when you visit a new city?

No, I’m a total vampire. I just shut the blinds. I got asked one time by an unnamed hipster network to consider hosting a travel show and I was like, “It would just be me smoking cigarettes in the dark the whole time.”

I had one spectacula­rly bad show the day after Trump got the nomination. Just the whole enterprise of being an entertaine­r became incredibly grotesque and I couldn’t go through with it. I just ended up having a good cry onstage that I should have had in the shower.

You co-wrote songs for Beyoncé (“Hold Up”) and Lady Gaga (“Come to Mama”) last year. Would you like to continue writing for pop artists?

I don’t particular­ly enjoy that kind of work. When the opportunit­y presented itself, you can’t say no. You want to know what that’s like. But I don’t think I’m particular­ly well-engineered to do a whole lot of that stuff . . . But “Come to Mama” for Lady Gaga, that was a song I really believed in and I was very happy to see her put those ideas out into the world.

There was some minor controvers­y about your “bedding Taylor Swift” lyric in “Total Entertainm­ent Forever.” Did you ever hear from her team about it?

No. To me, that’s a very surrealist kind of lyric. If someone else’s name had rhymed with “Oculus Rift” so well, I would’ve used that name.

Have you listened to her new songs yet?

Yeah, I heard “Look What You Made Me Do.” The video was kind of a jaw-dropping spectacle and I appreciate­d it. The thing I like about Taylor Swift is that she’s a country singer, and country music is about injustice and heartbreak and settling scores. She does that very well.

 ?? KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES ?? Musician Father John Misty performs at Massey Hall on Monday.
KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES Musician Father John Misty performs at Massey Hall on Monday.

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