After turning in a growling performance of “Living the Dream” on Conan O’Brien’s TBS talk show last week, Sturgill Simpson took to his Facebook page today to respond to online critics who were offended by his singing the word “goddamn.”
“Living the Dream,” an introspective slow-burner from Simpson’s acclaimed second solo album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, features the line “I don’t have to do a goddamn thing except sit around and wait to die.”
“Been some folks coming to my page to chastise (judge) me for taking the Lord’s name in vain on Conan so figured I should address it,” wrote Simpson, who went on to say the song is a “metaphor comparing the soothing yet completely addictive and damaging effects of hard narcotic opiates” to organized religion.
Simpson, perhaps the country artist who is most detached from the pomp and circumstance of the Nashville industry, pointed out that since he is an independent entity, he can sing whatever he likes. “Since I’m self-funding/self-releasing my art instead of shooting for ACM awards and taking it up the ass from the music row man, I have the right to write and sing and say whatever I choose just as you have the right to not buy or listen to my music and stay away from my page if you don’t like it,” Simpson said, before wrapping up. “So with that said…1. I sang it like I wrote it 2. Censorship is bullshit 3. This is America and people can say anything they want including ‘Goddamn’ at the top of their lungs on national TV.”
Simpson is no stranger to religious-inspired criticism. During a performance in Milwaukee this past year, he had a woman accuse him of spreading Gnosticism.
“She sat through the whole fucking show and waited until I was at the merch booth just to come over and tell me that I was preaching Gnosticism and that she hopes her children were never exposed to my music,” Simpson told Rolling Stone Country. “I was impressed. She not only came and bought a ticket, but then sat through the whole show. I didn’t want to take her anger away from her, because she spent so much time cultivating it. Better to just let her be pissed off.”
Not that Simpson doesn’t believe in miracles. Last week, he tweeted that he’ll be performing with Willie Nelson in December: “All that biz about dreams coming true..believe it. Opening for my all time musical hero in Austin on 12/30.”
Currently on tour, Simpson plays two shows in Bristol, Tennessee, this weekend before beginning a European run next week.