Watch: Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt Talks Wikipedia, Coming Out, & More

February 11, 2010

Magnetic Fields mastermind, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea composer, and Strange Powers star Stephin Merritt sat down for a relatively rare, videotaped interview with The New Gay last week (via The Music Slut), and the result is quite funny, entertaining, and, of course, fascinating. Merritt has a reputation for giving cantankerous interviews (as Neil Gaiman says, “He made Lou Reed look like Little Orphan Annie”), but interviewer Zack Rosen does an honorable job at getting him to open up as the 25-minute talk progresses. The pair discuss a range of topics, including other openly gay musicians, Wikipedia, pronouns in songwriting, and much more. Here are a few excerpts before you watch parts 1, 2, and 3:

Merritt on Wikipedia:

The last time I looked at my Wikipedia entry it said that I was born in 1966, Canadian, and a Buddhist. All of which are completely wrong. And so I guess that appeared in a lot of articles because people somehow think Wikipedia is something other than rumors. They treat is as though it were actually an encyclopedia, which is a book written by informed people on the subjects they’re most informed about, whereas Wikipedia is guesses, lies, and rumors.

“Advice to budding young songwriters”:

Don’t come out. I think the outing movement and the general propaganda that everyone ought to come out, I think that damaged a lot of people actually. I think it’s clear from the careers of gay performers that the way to be successful is to come out later, not beforehand.

To watch the full Q&A, the line forms thataway. Also, Crumbler wrote an interesting response to this interview here.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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