A Quick Catch Up with The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle

Let The Mountain Goats play Saturday Night Live immediately

Mountain Goats Interview
The Mountain Goats, photo by Jade Wilson

    It’s been a busy month for The Mountain Goats, the indie rock mainstays led by singer-songwriter-novelist John Darnielle.

    As they were finishing up a national tour in support of June’s Dark in Here (and also the previous fall’s Getting Into Knives, and the previous spring’s Songs for Pierre Chuvin, all recorded in March 2020 just as the pandemic hit), their song “No Children,” seminal in indie-rock circles but not exactly a Billboard hit upon its 2002 release, got big on TikTok.

    At the same time, Ed Sheeran tested positive for COVID ahead of an upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live, and Darnielle tweeted that the Mountain Goats would be available to step in.


    Consequence got on the phone with Darnielle to talk about all of this, following a three-night run at Brooklyn Made. Even in a brief conversation cut short by technical problems, Darnielle gave thoughtful and eloquent answers, and testifies to his earned pride in fronting a band that doesn’t repeat the same set night after night. SNL, give him a call.

    You recently tweeted that the Mountain Goats would love to replace Ed Sheeran as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. So, I’m very sorry, I have to ask: If you were to do that, what two songs would you play?

    Here’s the thing: It’s my understanding that Mr. [Lorne] Michaels is legendarily fond of being in control of what goes on the show. So I think it would just completely, absolutely scuttle my chances if I were to say, we’d do the following songs. He’d go, oh, you ruined it. [Laughs] He seems like the kind of guy who would not me to answer that question! Therefore, I would say, I don’t know! Even though you know and I know exactly which two songs I would play.

    I was going to say, I think I have a good idea of what the two would be, but I would lobby hard for just coming out and doing “Going to Maine” or something for the second one.

    Yeah, it’s my impression that they won’t let you do things like that — that it’s not a very spontaneous environment.

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