The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Magnetic Attraction

By chicago_chris in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 25, 2004 9:28PM

2004_06_music_merritt.bmp Pop music's greatest curmudgeon, Stephin Merritt – who moonlights in the 6ths (just try and pronounce that band name) and Future Bible Heroes (just try and think of a better band name) – will bring his main project, The Magnetic Fields, to our beloved Old Town School of Folk Music ("Now, not even in Old Town!") for a handful of shows this weekend. Merritt, a self-professed rock music snob, has disdain for nearly all of his contemporaries, but continues to genuinely count ABBA as an influence. This is the kind of sardonic wit you get with him, both in interviews and his thoughtful lyrics. Case in point, his amazing song "Papa as a Rodeo" – lovingly covered by Kelly Hogan, by the way – has a chorus that goes: "Papa was a rodeo/ Mama was a rock 'n' roll band/ I could play a guitar and rope a steer/ Before I learned to stand/ Home was anywhere with diesel gas/ Love was a trucker's hand/ Never stuck around long enough/ For a one-night stand."

Even his album titles – Get Lost (as in "The Magnetic Fields Get Lost" OR just a misanthropic command to "Get Lost"), 69 (tee-hee-hee) Love Songs, and i – with songs all starting with that narcissistic letter – display his bizarro genius. Merritt also gets added coolness points for doing soundtrack work on Nickelodeon's brilliant but defunct show The Adventures of Pete and Pete. (A program that also, incidentally, featured cameos from Iggy Pop and Michael Stipe. They clearly knew their music.) Chicagoist knows this weekend's shows (even the 3:30 matinees!) have been sold-out for ages, but with only a $20 face price, scalped tickets shouldn't be too hard to come by or afford. Also, Old Town says day-of-show tickets may become available.