Purple Mountains’ David Berman Talks Staying Sober, Stephen Malkmus, and His “Best” Song in Reddit AMA
A few days ago, David Berman released his first album in ten years, the self-titled debut album for his new Purple Mountains project. The album rollout was peppered with rare, candid interviews, wherein he discussed the end of Silver Jews, his infamous father, bad Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen records, and unreleased material. Today, Berman answered intimate fan questions in a Reddit AMA.
He responded to posts offering book recommendations, advice, windows into his personal life (“I get up around noon. i usually wait til 7 or 8 to eat. midnight to 6 am, lots of popsicles”), and information about his work.
One user asked for tips on staying sober. Berman replied, “Staying sober is impossible without separating from the friends you party with. geographical cures really work. if you have a method of getting high that will not exist in another town, go there. if you’re shy you will likely not run into another connetion.” He adds that he hasn’t “used cocaine or heroin since october 2003.”
Someone asked about the last time he jammed with Stephen Malkmus. “In the studio in Vancouver. Everyone else in the building was enjoying what a fun, funny guy he is; so I couldn’t get him to concentrate,” Berman writes. “But we have plans to co-write an album in Albania. That’s a far enough awayplace no one will laugh at his jokes and we will get some work done. Plus i will make him smoke pot again.”
In a previous interview, Berman mentioned demos of the new album featuring Dan Bejar, Black Mountain, and Malkmus. “I think some of the songs could be saved if i re-did vocals on them,” he writes today. “It’s a darker album. the lyrics arent there yet. maybe they had to rise up out of the dark music to be dark and let the music lighten.”
On who he’s supporting for president, Berman says he’s “with-holding.” His most-frequented subreddit is “slatestarcodex” where he “[argues] with techno-libertarians, neo-reactionaries and neuro-conservative ancaps just coming into their own as greedy people without a trace of skepticism about unbound corporate power.” His favorite comedian is Rodney Dangerfield “in his diamond hard prime.”
For “the best song he’s ever written,” Berman chooses “‘Darkness And Cold’ for the song’ and “‘San Francisco B.C.’ for the story.” When asked if he will be touring Europe, he replies, “Yes. February or March i think.”
Check out David Berman’s full Reddit AMA here.
A version of this article originally appeared at Stereogum.