the Mountain Goats FAQ
the Mountain Goats FAQ
Note: This page is half-FAQ, half-info sheet. I've put actual frequently asked questions
in bold for easy reference. The rest I wrote for people who are just getting started in
the wide world of the Mountain Goats. Please write melissa_at_themountaingoats_dot_net
Q: Who is behind the official Mountain Goats website?
A: Not John Darnielle, first of all. John's email address is on the homepage of this site.
We are two very obsessive fans of John who live happily in Austin, Texas. If you would
like to send us comments, contributions, or goodies, please write!
Q: What's the short history of the Mountain Goats?
A: Hear it straight from the man himself.
Q: How do the Mountain Goats feel (officially) about live show trading?
A: They're all for it. If you have some shows and would like to start trading, please write
We own copies of all shows in the show database.
Q: Where can I get the older releases?
A: Your best bet for old material: the three CDs released by Ajax/3 Beads of Sweat.
Protein Source of the Future... Now!, Bitter Melon Farm, and Ghana.
All three are now available from Three Beads of Sweat.
If you are looking for Zopilote Machine or anything else you "can't find in any store",
it is out of print. The best (really the only) way to purchase OOP releases is to check
used bins and Ebay. We've seen all the 7"s on Ebay within the last year, as well as most
of the cassettes. Tim Adams of Ajax will probably rerelease Zopilote Machine at some point
in the near future.
Q: Where are the release dates in your discography?
A: Well, we didn't have the foresight intially for such an impressive spread as this.
Thanks to Tim Adams for typing it out.
MOUNTAIN GOATS RELEASES:
Taboo VI: The Homecoming cassette (Shrimper, 1991)
The Hound Chronicles cassette (Shrimper, 1992)
Songs for Petronius 7" EP (Shrimper, 1992)
Chile de Arbol 7" EP (Ajax, 1993)
Transmissions to Horace cassette (Sonic Enemy, 1993)
Hot Garden Stomp cassette (Shrimper, 1993)
Beautiful Rat Sunset 10"/CD EP (Shrimper, 1994)
Zopilote Machine CD (Ajax, 1994)
Philyra 7" EP (Theme Park, 1994)
Taking the Dative cassette (Car in Car, 1994)
Why You All So Thief 7" EP (split with Simon Joyner) (Sing Eunuchs, 1994)
Yam, the King of Crops cassette (Oska, 1994)
Orange Raja, Blood Royal 7" EP (with Alastair Galbraith) (Walt, 1995)
Songs for Peter Hughes 7" EP (Sonic Squid, 1995)
Nine Black Poppies CD EP (Emperor Jones, 1995)
Songs about Fire 7" EP (Cassiel, 1995)
Sweden LP/CD (Shrimper, 1995)
Nothing for Juice LP/CD (Ajax, 1996)
Full Force Galesburg LP/CD (Emperor Jones, 1997)
Tropical Depression 7" EP (split with Furniture Huschle) (Little Mafia, 1997)
New Asian Cinema 1-sided 12" EP (Yoyo, 1998)
Protein Source of the Future...Now! CD (Ajax, 1999; 3 Beads of Sweat, 2002)
Bitter Melon Farm CD (Ajax, 1999; 3 Beads of Sweat, 2002)
Isopanisad Radio Hour 1-sided 12" EP (Yoyo, 2000)
The Coroner's Gambit LP/CD (Absolutely Kosher, 2000)
On Juhu Beach 3" CD (Nursecall, 2001)
All Hail West Texas CD (Emperor Jones, 2002)
Ghana CD (3 Beads of Sweat, 2002)
Subpop 7" (Subpop, 2002)
Tallahasse CD (4AD, 2002)
See America Right 7"/CD single (4AD, 2002)
Q: How can I get "On Juhu Beach"?
A: Assuming they haven't sold out:
the CD is 1000 yen, roughly $10. I went to the post office and
bought a $15 international money order to Japan ($10 + $5 shipping).
Then I sent it, along with a nice letter to the folks at Nursecall.
A month and a half later, I received a package.
Q: Why is one man "the Mountain Goats"? A question interviewers frequently
ask for some reason.
A: He has such powers that transform "Mountain Goats" into a neuter plural
collective noun with reverse rationale--plural noun, single man--with the
English definite article. Actually, many people (from the Bright Mountain Choir to
Rachel Ware to the North Mass Mountain Choir to Peter Hughes) have comprised
the Mountain Goats, but they are essentially John Darnielle.
Q: What happened to the Bright Mountain Choir? to Rachel?
A: Catasterism or more likely, the changing winds.
"Nothing for Juice" is the last full-length album to feature Rachel Ware. The entire
Bright Mountain Choir never recorded all together, but we can have our dreams.
Q: What are the Mountain Goats side projects and whence do other members hail?
A: - the Extra Glenns
- Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue)
- the Seneca Twins
- Lalitree Darnielle
- Chris Butler
- the Bloody Hawaiians
- members: Joel Huschle (Furniture Huschle), Mark Givens (Wckr Spgt), Caroline
- releases: The Magnificent Bloody Hawaiians, Bastard Son, "Lemon", Three-Gos)
- the Congress
- the Congress does not exist.
- the Crunch Sisters
- Chicken Damage
- the Salvation Brothers
Q: The Extra Glenns?
A: The Extra Glenns are John Darnielle (Glenn D) and Franklin Bruno (Glenn B).
They've had a few compilation appearances, and have released one 7" titled
"Infidelity" and one full-length, "Martial Arts Weekend".
Q: Who has covered the Mountain Goats?
A: Number One Cup - the Monkey Song
Beulah - Alpha Incipiens
Nothing Painted Blue - Lab Rat Blues
Atom & His Package - Seed Song, Alpha Desperation March, Going to Georgia
the Bingo Trappers - Pure Intentions
"Postcard to the Mountain Goats" compilation (now OOP, check discography for tracklisting).
Members of the Mountain Goats mailing list: "Quetzalcoatl gets a Tapedeck" (29 tracks).
Q: Who has John covered?
A: Billie Holiday, Steely Dan, Chet Baker, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Ace of Base, Pavement,
Neutral Milk Hotel, Suede, Refrigerator, traditionals, and a few others.
Q: Who has performed songs written by John Darnielle (though they were never released
as the Mountain Goats)?
A: - Diskothi-Q - Tulsa Imperative
- John Vanderslice - JD wrote the lyrics for Cool Purple Mist and Nikki O Nikki
Q: What is the total number of songs the Mountain Goats have released / played live?
A: No less than 365. Possibly, as many as 1003.
Q: What is "Hail, and Farewell Gothenburg?"
A: The sequel to Sweden, never released.
Q: What's the deal with the song series?
(Note: clicking on a song from any series on the "song list"
feature of the site will bring you to a page with a link at the bottom
to view all the other songs in that series.)
A: -- Going to ...
Generally, songs about needing to get out of the place you're in and/or thinking
your life will magically improve by moving somewhere else.
The characters aren't the same from song to song.
Songs about the "Alpha Couple". A couple that spent a number of years in Talahassee
FL and were supposed to get a divorce, but she just ended up leaving. Alpha Incipiens
and Alpha Omega begin and end the series. The album Tallahassee is all about the Alpha
Couple, despite the lack of "Alpha" in all but one of the song titles. Other songs about
the Alpha Couple without "Alpha" in the title include "Letter from a Motel"
and "Going to Dade County".
-- Standard Bitter Love Songs (the name says it all)
-- Pure ______
-- Quetzalcoatl (see below)
Q: What's the creaking oo-wah oo-wah noise? Is that distortion intentional?
A: The Panasonic RX-FT500 has a condenser mic that doesn't condense. The brilliant
engineers designing italso played the microphone next to the cassette wheels,
the source of the "wheelgrind" noise. The boombox is a classic example of machinery
taking on and embuing organic qualities. No one could duplicate it's ferocity in a studio.
In short, we love its prana ferox. For JD's own encomium to his old friend, see the
excellent liner notes of "All Hail West Texas".
Q: What do the Mountain Goats do when they're not writing and recording the best music ever?
A: Freelancing writing for various music sites and publications
(his own www.lastplanetojakarta.com, Magnet, etc.), cooking, gardening, and listening to
metal. For four days a week, he works with troubled children in a institution.
Q: What's this album I hear about with liner notes by John Darnielle?
A: Roky Erickson's "Never Say Goodbye." Highly Recommended.
Q: What do all the strange words mean and how do you pronounce them?
A: -- Zopilote (sopeelotay) -- In ancient Mesoarican tradition the tree of
life synthesizes all values assigned to life. Also, the vulture is an omen
that lurks around death. In most of Mesoamerica, vulture translates into
Zopilote (lexis coming from huatl), the predator of the land that rightfully
carries its original name, given its regional, biological specificity.
-- Quetzalcoatl, god of civilization (and chocolate!), was identified with the planet
Venus and with the wind; he represented the forces of good and light pitted against
those of evil and darkness, which were championed by Tezcatlipoca. According to one
epic legend, Quetzalcoatl, deceived by Tezcatlipoca, was driven from Tula, the Toltec
capital, and wandered for many years until he reached his homeland, the east
coast of Mexico-where he was consumed by divine fire, his ashes turning into
birds and his heart becoming the morning star. Another version has him sailing
off to a mythical land, leaving behind the promise of his return.
-- Sheqet (sheh'-ket) - quiet, tranquility; quietness in Hebrew.
-- Fit Alpha Vi (fit alpha wee) -- "Alpha was made by violence" in Latin.
-- Prana Ferox -- Prana (sanskrit) literally, the "forward moving air,"
moves inward and governs reception of all types from the eating of food,
drinking of water, and inhalation of air, to the reception of sensory
impressions and mental experiences. It is propulsive in nature, setting things
in motion and guiding them. It provides the basic energy that drives us in
life.;" Ferox, a Latin adjective meaning "fierce, wild, fiery, violent."
Q: What does the Latin say?
A: We recommend learning Latin. Translations suck.
Q: What does "Kid, You Fell in the Milk Mean?"
A: If you figure this one out, you could become a world famous classicist.
Puruse a copy of Burkert's and Raffan's "Greek Religion" to find out exactly
what we're talking about.
Q: Agamemnon and Ajax? Deianara? Kypris?
A: Of many classical allusions, here are a few prominant ones.
-- Agamemnon and Ajax -- Sophocles' Ajax inspired the song "Against
Agamemnon," here's the most pertinent bit of summary: In bitter wrath that the
Atri, Agamemnon and Menelaus, have decided the contest for the armor of
Achilles in favor of Odysseus, Ajax determines to kill all the Argive leaders.
One night, when about to enter the tent of Agamemnon for this purpose, Athena
afflicts him with madness, and he falls on the flocks, bulls and rams in the
belief that he is taking vengeance on his enemies. Shamed, he kills himself.
-- Herakles' death and Deianara -- Herakles allowed the centaur Nessus to
ferry his wife Deianara across a river, and Nessus attempted to rape her on
the other side. Herakles killed him with an arrow, but before Nessus died the
he told Deinara to keep some of his blood for a love potion. Deinara used some
on Herakles' tunic to keep him faithful, not realizing that it had been
poisoned with Hydra venom from the arrow. Herakles put on the tunic and died
in agony, with flames consuming his body.
-- Kypris -- Kypris, "Lady of Cyprus", is a epithet of Aphrodite, who was
said to have risen from the sea near the island, where her cult originated.
Q: What is the recognition scene?
A: The recognition scene is a term, a structural marker for Greek tradegy,
designating the moment characters have sufficient knowledge of their imminent
shame, despair and death.
Q: What are some other direct tMG literary borrowings?
A: -- "Then the Letting Go" is the last line of an Emily Dickinson poem.
-- The verses of "Handball" are verbatim from "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe
-- Adaptations of Seneca--this is global!
Q: What are some of the sound bites?
A: -- "I have sat by Thebes, below the wall, and walked among the lowest of the dead" on
"Sweden" -- TS Eliot reading from "The Wasteland".
-- Portions of the movie 976-EVIL are used in the Hound Chronicles.
Q: Who is the goddess on the cover of "Full Force Galesburg"?
A: Durga -- Worship of Durga, the mother-goddess, dates back 7000 years.
Durga is first mentioned in the Mahabharata as a virgin delighting in wine,
flesh, and animal sacrifice. She is the ultimate female principle of motion
and energy. Her creation: A demon prayed to Shiv for a thousand years to become
invincible to all men. Shiv had to grant the demon's wish, and the demon
began ravaging towns and villages. Shiv had an idea: He created Durga, and
all the gods had to give a piece of themselves to her. (She carries all the
signs of the gods and possesses a part of each of their powers.)
Durga destroyed the offensive demon, which explains the FFG poster,
"Because we're young we think nothing can destroy us. Something can."
Q: Who was the Tollund Man?
A: "On the 8th May 1950 , two men were cutting peat in Tollund Fen in
Bjaeldskor Dale in Denmark. As they worked they suddenly saw in the peat layer
a face so fresh they could only assume that they had come across a recent
murder. They notified the police who came immediately. They carefully removed
the peat from the body till more of him became visible. The man lay on his
right side as if he was asleep. He lay 50 metres out from firm ground and he
had been covered by about 2 metres of peat, now removed. On his head he wore a
pointed skin cap fastened securely under his chin by a leather thong. Round
his waist there was a smooth leather belt. Otherwise he was completely naked.
His hair was cropped so short that it was almost entirely hidden by the cap.
He was clean shaven but there was short stubble on the chin and upper lip. The
air of gentle peace about the man was shattered when a small lump of peat was
removed from behind his head. Underneath was a rope, made of two leather
thongs twisted together. This was a noose. It was drawn tight around his neck
and throat and then coiled over his shoulder and down across his back."
Q: What's the language in "You're in Maya," and how does it translate?
A: It's Gaelic and says "The milk of the cow is good for the calf."
Q: Is black ice cream possible?
A: It is difficult to say.
Q: Scan "the Mountain Goats"
A: Iambic Dimeter.
Q: Who is Allen Callaci, the guy who sings on "Lonesome Surprise"?
A: Allen fronts the magnificent band "Refrigerator" who wrote "Lonesome Surprise".
His brother, Dennis, runs Shrimper Records.
Q: Are the Mountain Goats really vegetarian?
A: Oh Yes. Mostly vegan, in fact.