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Neko Case Says She Denied Her House Fire to Avoid Stalkers

In a new interview with Pitchfork, Neko Case addresses the fire that burned down her home in Vermont last year, while she was in Sweden assembling her forthcoming new album Hell-On. At the time, Case denied that it was her house that burned, and lashed out at local news organizations who reported on the fire. She has since confirmed that it was true, and now reveals one of her reasons for feeling uneasy about the coverage: she’d been dealing with stalkers, and did not want her name associated with her address in the press:

When news of the fire came out in the press, you denied that it was your house on Twitter.

Yeah. I was like, “That’s my fucking news, I’ll report it if I want to.” It’s a really personal thing. Some people reaching out were just being kind, and then there were people who were just being assholes…

Every human being deserves to have things that are personal, because you can’t have mental health without that. Especially somebody with stalkers. There were so many lines that were crossed. I called the local paper [St. Johnsbury, Vermont’s The Caledonian-Record] while my house was burning, and I said, “I understand that you report fires. Please, take my name out of the story.” I was begging the editor, and he kind of scolded me, “Well, my house burned down, and I didn’t care.” I was like, “Dude, I have a child [her boyfriend Jeff’s daughter]. My life is in danger. Do not print this.” He didn’t care. I lost my shit. I called him “cunt.” It was horrible.

It’s a tough situation to be in for both Case and the paper, which has an obligation to cover local news. “The newspaper’s coverage of the fire involving Neko Case’s [house] was handled no differently than any other structure fire that we respond to as part of our public safety reporting,” the editor of Vermont’s Caledonian-Record told Pitchfork, adding that the fire was newsworthy in part because taxpayer resources were marshalled to extinguish it. Fortunately, Case’s family and pets were uninjured in the blaze. “So many people lost so much more than I did. I didn’t lose Jeff [her boyfriend]. I didn’t lose the critters. They’re all OK. It’s a happy ending, really,” she said.

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