A conversation with John Moen


    We spoke with John Moen about Mötley Crüe, the invention of the clock, the joy of pruning hedges and what minivan he’ll sleep in when the apocalypse arrives.

    If you really want to see me happy, allow me to trim your hedge.


    Morgan Enos

    Not a lot of people know this about me, but Jethro Tull is one of my favorite bands. In my opinion, I think so many elements of the band were glorious and misunderstood. Yet, I also realize this affection is due in part to how I was raised, and conditioned to enjoy. What widely misinterpreted band, film, or piece of art could you defend for us?

    John Moen

    Motley Crue – Too Fast for Love. One of my favorite albums ever. I know that if I encountered it now without the benefit of being a teen at first listen, my opinion might not be quite so generous. But still! Those great Tommy Lee cowbell fills, killer melodic hooks, and weird awesome singing! The guitar sounds like it was recorded in my uncle’s empty garage. It’s raw, visceral and basically a twisted pop record. Makes me want to cruise the gut, and that’s saying a lot as I near forty-nine years of age.


    What’s your favorite part about writing songs and being in a band with Christopher Slusarenko? How would you describe your friendship and rapport?

    The best part is thinking that I’m showing up with a good idea for a song, and then finding out it can be even better after he hits it with a guitar line or two.

    I love that we can add our two different aesthetics together and it doesn’t come out clumsy or confused. It’s a true collaboration.


    What parts of your daily life do you consider sacred? Can chores and minutiae be considered a sacrament? Or is a spade really just a spade?

    I’m big on mowing the lawn. But if you really want to see me happy, allow me to trim your hedge. No, that isn’t a euphemism. I like pruning. Even really tall impossible hedges. Serious.

    I am a friendly chameleon with a short memory.


    Can you describe all the members of Eyelids in the context of sports statistics, like baseball cards? What’s each member’s MVP moment on Or? What past accomplishments will they bring to the history books?

    No, I don’t care for baseball, but I can still let you in on their powers… Chris Slusarenko is a wide-eyed super-cleric from the outer reaches; we can’t exist without him. Paulie [Pulvirenti] is eternally young and a fist of light.

    Jim Talstra is rooted to the core of the planet and keeps us from becoming dust. Jonathan Drews alters all we do for the better with his magic smoke and generosity of spirit. I am a friendly chameleon with a short memory.


    Although we live in a deeply strange time, I feel as though our fundamental ups-and-downs aren’t new… they’ve been experienced time and time again by folks from the dawn of time. Are you interested in ancient literature? Do you take influence from any figures from the past, fictional or historical?

    In any other interview, your questions would be answers. Amazing!


    Don Rickles, one of the most acidic comedians of all time, recently passed away. Do you think dark comedy is helpful for processing the world? Or do we need less of our generation’s taste for irony?

    Making people feel bad is never my first stop. I am also kind of a wimp. I can see that he was funny, but he wasn’t my style. RIP.

    I’m late for most things.
    Don’t hire me to invent clocks.


    I’m really interested in how cars shaped the 20th century. I’m no expert, but I understand that when the 1969 moon landings occurred, certain cars were built to look like spacecraft, with big fins on the back. They reflected what the public was interested in at that time. What’s your relationship with cars? What kind do you drive?

    I drive a 1992 Toyota Previa – the minivans that look like a cross between a space shuttle and a suppository. I love it. It’s all-wheel drive, you can fit plywood in it when the seats are down, and sleep in it when the end times come. The wife says it’s time for something different, but she’ll pry it from my cold dead hands.


    Can you quickly draw a map of your hometown, completely from memory and without looking anything up?

    Probably not. The place is so busy knocking over the old and erecting the new, that the light is all different. It confuses the elderly.


    Imagine the clock had never been invented and you’ve been tasked with creating a device to measure the passing of time. Can you describe what your invention would look like, and do?

    I’m the guy who doesn’t realize that time is passing if there isn’t a clock. I’m late for most things. Don’t hire me to invent clocks.


    Finally, can you remember what you were doing on this day, last year? If not, can you approximate what might have taken place?

    See above. I have a very short memory and am more of an anticipatory type than a historian.

    That said, I was probably trying to perfect my marinara sauce, which despite it’s short ingredient list, still seems to need more research. I was also probably trying to convince someone to pick up a copy of Too Fast for Love.

    Thank you.


    Conversation: 10
    Curated by: Morgan Enos
    Conducted by: Email
    Published: July 12, 2017
    Total questions: 10
    Word count: 938
    Reading time: Four minutes
    Hyperlinks: 5


    Too Fast For Love: Underrated
    1992 Toyota Previa: Cold dead hands
    Wide-eyed super-cleric: Christopher Slusarenko
    Friendly chameleon: John Moen
    The Decemberists: Yes


    About the subject

    John Moen is a founding member of the band Eyelids and the drummer of the Decemberists.

    About the curator

    Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.

    Related conversations W

    North of the Internet is a series of conversations with creative human beings.

    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

    © North of the Internet 2017 — ∞Dignity & Introspection _