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Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst in August 2009
Background information
Birth name Conor Mullen Oberst
Born February 15, 1980 (1980-02-15) (age 30)
Origin Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Genres Indie folk
Indie rock
Folk rock
Alternative country
Emo
Occupations Singer-Songwriter
Instruments Guitar, voice
Years active 1992–present
Labels Saddle Creek Records
Merge Records
Wichita Recordings
Associated acts Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
Desaparecidos
Commander Venus
Park Ave.
The Faint
The Magnetas
Monsters of Folk
Website Conor Oberst

Conor Mullen Oberst (born February 15, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter best known for his work in Bright Eyes. He has also played in several other bands, including Desaparecidos, Norman Bailer (The Faint), Commander Venus, Park Ave., Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and his newest project Monsters of Folk.

Contents

Early years

Conor Mullen Oberst was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He was born to Matthew Ryan Oberst, Sr., an information manager for Mutual of Omaha, and Nancy Oberst, current director of elementary education in Omaha Public Schools. He grew up with two older brothers, Matthew Ryan Oberst, Jr., a teacher and part-time musician best known for his band, Sorry About Dresden, and Justin H. Oberst, a lawyer.

Oberst's mother claims that he was banging on a piano since he was two-years-old. Besides his brother Matt, Oberst's father was also a musician who played guitar and piano for various cover bands in his youth, and together they began teaching Conor to play guitar at the age of 10. By the time he knew only two chords, he was already writing songs.

Musical career

Oberst began his musical career at age 13 while at St. Pius X/ St. Leo School (the young artist also attended UNL where he stayed in the same room that Mike Lee and Kyle Dump would live in, just ten years later). He was in the school choir and other musical groups at the school. One night in 1992, Ted Stevens (of Mayday and Cursive) invited Oberst onstage to play. Bill Hoover, who was in attendance, invited Oberst to come back to play with him a couple of weeks later. In that short amount of time, Oberst wrote enough songs to fill out the set, establishing himself as an artist.[1] Shortly thereafter, Oberst began committing his new repertoire to tape in his parents' basement with his father's four track cassette recorder and an acoustic guitar.

In mid-1993, Oberst self-released his debut album Water on cassette tape.[2] The release of the album was financed by his brother Justin on what they called Lumberjack Records, the indie label that would become Saddle Creek Records, making them founders and present day executives of the label.

Shortly after his two solo recordings, Oberst began playing with four friends; they formed Commander Venus in mid-1995.

Here's to Special Treatment was followed by 1996's The Soundtrack to My Movie, a cassette only released on Sing Eunuchs!. Kill the Monster Before It Eats Baby, a split 7" vinyl with Bill Hoover, was also released around this time.

Norman Bailer (The Faint)

In 1994, following a Slowdown Virginia show, Oberst, along with friends Joel Petersen, Todd Fink (formerly Todd Baechle) and Clark Baechle, formed a band called Norman Bailer, later known as The Faint. A few days later, Oberst told the other members of the band that they had a show in two weeks at Kilgore's. Despite having never performed together, they produced nine songs to perform. An album, Sine Sierra was released on cassette only in 1995.

Commander Venus

Oberst formed the rock band Commander Venus in 1994 with Tim Kasher, Todd Baechle, Ben Armstrong, and Robb Nansel. They recorded two albums: Do You Feel at Home? (1995) and The Uneventful Vacation (1997). Kasher later went on to form Cursive, Baechle became the vocalist for The Faint and Nansel was the co-founder of Saddle Creek Records. Kasher left the group as they were about to go in to the studio to record their second album, and was replaced by Todd Baechle. In 1998, Commander Venus broke up.

The Magnetas

The Magnetas were only active for a very brief period of time in 1996 in Omaha, Nebraska. Along with Oberst, band members included Todd Fink (The Faint) and Chris Hughes (Beep Beep). They recorded three songs, only one of which ("Anex Anex") was released on Ghostmeat Records' Parts compilation album. Two other confirmed recordings exist: "Clatter" and "Science Fiction in Schools."

Park Ave.

In January 1996, Oberst began playing drums in a group named Park Ave., alongside Baechle, Jenn Bernard, Neely Jenkins (now in the band Tilly and the Wall), and Jamie Williams (also in Tilly and the Wall). The group only played between 10 and 15 shows and made a handful of recordings (several of them with Mike Mogis as producer). The group disbanded in 1998 when Williams, the singer and primary songwriter, moved to London, England. In 1999, Urinine Records released their only album, When Jamie Went to London...We Broke Up, which has also now been re-released under Team Love.

Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes at Kulturmejeriet in Lund, Sweden. July 16, 2005

Oberst's television performances with Bright Eyes have included a spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he performed "When the President Talks to God" in May 2005. The performance drew notice for the song's political overtones. Oberst has also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he performed "Trees Get Wheeled Away" , and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, where he sang "Road to Joy" (which included an abrupt smashing of instruments and an interview with Conor Oberst promoting the band's two new albums: Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning).

Aside from his Jay Leno performance, Oberst has made other political statements as a band member of Bright Eyes along with fellow band member Mike Mogis. A longtime opponent of Clear Channel, Oberst in September 2005 cancelled a show the band was scheduled to play at The Pageant in St. Louis due to the venue's ties with the media giant.[3] Before the 2004 presidential election, he took Bright Eyes on the road with Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M. as part of the "Vote for Change" tour.

Bright Eyes have collaborated with an number of renowned artists of the country and folk genre. They include Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle.

In a June 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, Oberst announced that he wanted to "retire" the Bright Eyes moniker, and would be making one final album with the band: "It does feel like it needs to stop at some point. I'd like to clean it up, lock the door, say goodbye." The album is planned to be released in the fall of 2010 on Saddle Creek Records.

Desaparecidos

Oberst was a guitarist and singer for Desaparecidos. The music and lyrics of Desaparecidos differ greatly from Bright Eyes, having more in common with punk rock than Oberst's usual folk rock. The lyrics are generally social commentary on the state of affairs in America and the pitfalls of suburban lifestyle, as opposed to the more introspective lyrics of Bright Eyes. Desaparecidos was only a band between the years 2001–2002. They had two releases: The Happiest Place on Earth, a single; and Read Music/Speak Spanish, their only full-length.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

In November 2007, it was reported that Oberst would work on a solo record with Jake Bellows, and that he and M. Ward would start a band[4] and perform two late December shows in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[5] Contrary to what was believed, the shows were not played with M. Ward, but rather with Nik Freitas and Jason Boesel.[6] They also played a show in February in Mexico City, Mexico.

On March 31, 2008, it was announced that Conor Oberst would play at the 2008 Reading and Leeds Festivals. In addition, he also performed at the Electric Picnic, in County Laois, Ireland on August 31, 2008, the Cains Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Austin City Limits in late September 2008, shows across Australia in early October 2008, and the Warfield Theater in San Francisco October 24. Conor also headlined the Friday night slot of The End of the Road Festival at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Wiltshire, held over the weekend of 12–14 September 2008.

Conor Oberst released the self-titled album Conor Oberst, which was recorded in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico with Taylor Hollingsworth on guitar and Macey Taylor on bass, on August 5, '08 on Merge Records.

In about mid October, the band sold a new EP, Gentleman's Pact. It was limited to 1000 copies and was only available on tour. The band placed limitations on how many were sold at shows. It has four unreleased tracks. Three of them are pre-album songs while "Corina, Corina" is a cover of a traditional folk song.

Conor and the band released their second album, Outer South, on May 5, 2009 on Merge Records. They have also released a documentary, One Of My Kind.

Monsters of Folk

Conor Oberst is one of the four members of the band Monsters of Folk. Other band members include Jim James of My Morning Jacket, M. Ward and fellow Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis. The band members swap instruments and share vocal duties. The quartet released their self-titled debut album on September 22, 2009.[7]

Songwriting

He was named the best songwriter of 2008 by Rolling Stone magazine.[8]

Saddle Creek and Team Love

Oberst is one of the founding members of the independent record label Saddle Creek Records, which hosts and has hosted bands including Cursive, Desaparecidos, The Faint (who left to start their own label Blank.wav), Rilo Kiley (who left to start their own label Brute/Beaute Records), Bright Eyes, Two Gallants, Son Ambulance, Azure Ray, The Good Life, Sorry About Dresden, among others.

Oberst founded the Team Love record label to "do different things, or smaller things, that we couldn't get everyone to be into at the same time" at Saddle Creek.[9] such as Tilly and the Wall, Willy Mason,Taylor Hollingsworth and Jenny Lewis' solo album with The Watson Twins.

Influences

Oberst was drawn to music at a very early age, due in part to his older brother's penchant for bands like The Cure. He has cited their first singles collection, Staring at the Sea, as the first record he ever bought, as well as being one of his favorites. "It must have been third grade...I bought the cassette at a local record store chain called Homer's in Omaha. I just loved the sound of Robert Smith's voice. It just sounded good."[10]

Some of his biggest influences and favorite songwriters are local musicians David Dondero and Simon Joyner.[11] Joyner wrote the song "Burn Rubber", which Bright Eyes covered on the "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" single. The two used to do mini-tours together, usually on weekends due to Joyner having a family.

Oberst has also been heavily influenced by the 1960s folk revival, mentioning Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, and country singers Emmylou Harris and Townes Van Zandt.[12] He covered Neil Young's "Out on the Weekend", collaborating with Mike Mogis, Jim James and M. Ward in concert. Harris sang on a few tracks on Bright Eyes' I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.

Oberst was also greatly influenced by Daniel Johnston. A cover of "Devil Town" is featured on Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005).

Oberst was also profoundly influenced by the work of Elliott Smith, saying in an October 22, 2003 All Things Considered interview that "sometimes when you're not feeling good, you have to listen to really sad music like Elliott Smith's" and that [Smith] "wrote the sweetest, saddest, most gentle songs". Oberst also said he liked to "listen to Elliott Smith's songs when he [couldn't] find anyone to talk to on the phone" and thought that it was sad that, "through his music, [Smith] had the ability to answer feelings in others that he was unable to answer in himself".[13] A live cover of Smith's "The Biggest Lie" is featured on Motion Sickness.

Personal beliefs

Oberst used to be a vegan (he is now a pescetarian), and told Rolling Stone in an interview that he killed a scorpion. [14] He has also publicly supported PETA.[15] On January 1, 2008, Oberst performed at a rally in Omaha, Nebraska for 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama.[16] On February 7, 2008, Bright Eyes played at an Obama rally in Omaha, Nebraska.[17] While he was raised Catholic, Conor Oberst holds no specific religion, claiming he hasn't found one that "hit the mark" for him yet. He expresses disappointment in the narrowmindedness of major religions, and is fascinated and frustrated by "eternal" concepts.[18]

Discography

As Conor Oberst

Title Year Label Format(s) Notes
Water 1993 Lumberjack cassette
Here's to Special Treatment 1994 Sing, Eunuchs! cassette
The Soundtrack to My Movie 1996 Sing, Eunuchs! cassette
Kill the Monster Before It Eats Baby 1996 Sing, Eunuchs! 7" Split EP with Bill Hoover
Conor Oberst 2008 Merge Records cd, vinyl
Gentleman's Pact 2008 no label cd, vinyl
Outer South 2009 Merge Records cd, vinyl

In bands

Guest work

[The Album Leaf]-"Hungry For A Holiday

References

  1. ^ Lazy-I Interview: Bright Eyes (December 1998) Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  2. ^ Norris, Chris" (June 25, 2009), "CONOR OBERST'S MYSTICAL AWAKENING". Rolling Stone (1081):
  3. ^ Aversion.com – Clear Channel Ties Cancel Bright Eyes Gig. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  4. ^ Hildy Johnson. "Waiting For ‘Free Life’". Omaha City Weekly. http://www.omahacityweekly.com/article.php?id=4286. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  5. ^ Matthew Solarski (2007-11-27). "Bright Eyes' Oberst Forms Band With M. Ward?". Pitchfork Media. http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/47290-bright-eyes-oberst-forms-band-with-m-ward. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  6. ^ Chris Riemenschneider (2007-12-30). "Indie rock's Conor Oberst still bright at 400 Bar". Star Tribune. http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/music/12926476.html. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  7. ^ http://www.nme.com/news/bright-eyes/45304
  8. ^ Best Songwriter: Conor Oberst : Rolling Stone
  9. ^ Richard Harrington (2005-11-18). "A Musical Vision Comes Into Focus". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/17/AR2005111700475_2.html. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  10. ^ RollingStone.com – Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes on the Cure's Standing on a Beach. Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  11. ^ Comes With A Smile – Interview: Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst) by Mariko Sakamoto Retrieved on January 4, 2008.
  12. ^ Conor Oberst. Interview with Craig Ferguson. The Late Late Show. Retrieved on 2008-02-20.
  13. ^ Singer Elliott Smith Dead in Apparent Suicide Retrieved on May 30, 2009.
  14. ^ "Q&A: Conor Oberst". http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/22851128/qa_conor_oberst/print. 
  15. ^ "Conor Oberst — Exclusive Interview". PETA TV. http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=conner. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  16. ^ "Bright Eyes man supports US presidential hopeful". NME. 2008-01-03. http://www.nme.com/news/bright-eyes/33418. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  Kim Davis (2008-01-03). "Bright Eyes Shines for Barack Obama". Spinner. http://www.spinner.com/2008/01/03/bright-eyes-shines-for-barack-obama/. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  Fred Mills (2008-01-03). "Oberst Stumps for Obama in Iowa". HARP. http://harpmagazine.com/news/detail.cfm?article=12105. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  "Conor Oberst sings for Obama". TV3. 2008-01-03. http://www.tv3.co.nz/News/Story/tabid/209/articleID/42815/cat/41/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  "For The Record: Chris Brown Sued For Breach Of Contract; Plus Nate Dogg, Bright Eyes, Barack Obama, Foo Fighters & More". MTV News. 2008-01-04. http://www.mtv.ca/news/article.jhtml?id=6040. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  17. ^ Charles Babington (2008-02-09). "Obama: Rockin' in the USA". Associated Press. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hm1KHbQ9mDb5fx-TiTYXZ2g2lOrgD8UMPU0G0. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  18. ^ Josh Jackson (2008-07-22). "Conor Oberst on Religion and Politics". Paste Magazine. http://www.pastemagazine.com/high_gravity/2008/07/conor-oberst-on-religion-and-politics.html. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 

External links

Interviews


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

You mean nothing to no one but that's nobody's fault.

Conor Oberst (born 1980-02-15) is an American singer-songwriter best known for his work in Bright Eyes. He has also played in several other bands, including Desaparecidos, Commander Venus and Park Ave.

Contents

Sourced

  • I never fuck with Facebook. I absolutely despise social networking. I think it's truly going to result in the destruction of mankind. Sometimes I just wish I didn't live in this time. Before, there was so much more freedom and privacy, and you could truly escape places.
    • As quoted in "Conor Oberst's Mystical Awakening" by Chris Norris in Rolling Stone (25 June 2009), p. 66-84

A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997 (1998)

  • The world's become a little too mean.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • And me I'm in my bedroom drawing in my notebook
    Because my hand thinks I'm an artist
    But my heart knows I'm a poet
    It's just words they mean so little to me.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • My Brother went to college
    To become a doctor
    And if he studies hard enough
    He'll end up just like papa, who hates his life.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • And me I'm in the bathroom
    crying out my eyelids because it's hard to be a man
    when you're scared, just like a little kid.
    • Saturday as Usual

Letting Off the Happiness (1998)

  • I swear that I'm dying
    slowly but it's happening,
    and if the perfect spring is waiting somewhere...
    just take me there.
    • If Winter Ends
  • In a coma, you don't dream,
    you just hope that someone sits with you.
    • Padraic My Prince

Insound Tour Support No.12 (2000)

  • Well morning came, and it dressed the sky in a lovely yellow gown.
    Shopping malls are opening in that narrow hallway of downtown,
    filled with people who are shopping for their lovers and their friends,
    singing "I won't ever be lonely again"
    • I Won't Ever be Happy Again
  • There's a cat in the window, of the house of my lover.
    Well she sleeps there alone now, or perhaps with another.
    Oh I try no to think about that, I try not to think at all!
  • My parents ask if I'm alright; I say "I've just been staying up too late.
    I need to sleep" I need to do something!
    To get this awful weight up off my chest,
    keep her pretty ghost from chasing me!
  • So you say there are spaces, opening wide?
    Oh believe me, there's day longer than nights.
    And you could be happy, if only you'd try.
    But you don't try. No you don't try.
  • And you speak of a fever, that burns you inside,
    as you explain to your mother, how you've wanted to die.
    So she kisses your fingers, and says "My darling, but why?
    When there is so much more. There is so much more."
  • You could be happy, the minute you try.
    Why won't you try? Oh won't you try?
    • The Joy in Forgetting - The Joy in Acceptance

Fevers and Mirrors (2000)

  • And the sad act like lepers
    They stick to the shadows
    They long to ring bells of warning
    To tell of their coming
    So that the pure can shut their doors.
    • Arienette
  • I drug your ghost across the country, and we plotted out my death.
    Every city and memory we whispered "Here is where you rest."
    Well I was determined in Chicago but I dug my teeth into my knees
    And I settled for a telephone, sang into your machine:
    "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine."
    • The Calendar Hung Itself
  • And I sing and sing of awful things
    The pleasure that my sadness brings.
    • Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh
  • For a sunrise or a sunset, you're manic or you’re depressed.
    Will you ever feel ok?
    • Sunrise, Sunset
  • I think it is more like a ghost
    that has been following us both.
    Something vague that we're not seeing,
    something more like a feeling.
    • Something Vague

Don't Be Frightened of Turning the Page (2001)

  • There was this book I read and loved,
    The story of a ship
    Who sailed around the world and found
    That nothing else exists
    Beyond its own two sails
    And wooden shell
    And what is held within.
    All else is sure to pass.
    We clutch and grasp
    And debate what's truly permanent.
    • Oh, You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place
  • I sing and drink and sleep on floors
    And try hard not to be annoyed
    By all these people worrying about me.
    So when I'm suffering through some awful drive,
    You occasionally cross my mind.
    It's my hidden hope that you are still among them.
    Well, are you?
    • Oh, You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place

Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002)

  • If you wanna see the future,
    Go stare into a cloud.
    • The Big Picture
  • If the world could remain within a frame
    Like a painting on a wall,
    Then I think we would see the beauty, then
    We would stand staring in awe
    At our still lives posed
    Like a bowl of oranges,
    Like a story told
    By the fault lines and the soil.
    • Bowl of Oranges
  • Ambition, I’ve found, can lead only to failure. I do not read the reviews. No, I am not singing for you.
    • Let's Not Shit Ourselves
  • Love's an excuse to get hurt and to hurt.
    Do you like to hurt?
    I do, I do
    then hurt me.
    • Lover I Don't Have to Love
  • So you think I need some discipline, well, I had my share. I have been sent to my room. I've been sat in a chair. I held my tongue. I didn't plug my ears. No, I got a good talking to. And now I don't know why, but I still try to smile when they talk at me like I'm just a child. Well, I'm not a child. No, I am much younger than that. And now I have read some books and have grown quite brave. If only I could just speak up I think I would say that there is no truth. There is only you and what you make the truth.
    • Don't Know When But A Day is Gonna Come
  • He once cut one of my nightmares out of paper.
    I thought it was beautiful, I put it on a record cover.
    • Waste of Paint
  • My head's a carousel of pictures and
    The spinning never stops.
    • Nothing Gets Crossed Out
  • For a song I was bought
    Now I lie when I talk
    With a careful eye on the cue card.
    Onto a stage I was pushed,
    With my sorrow well rehearsed.
    So give me all your pity and your money, now (all of it).
    • False Advertising
  • But where was it when I first heard that sweet sound of humility?
    It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody!
    How grateful I was, then, to be part of the mystery,
    To love, and to be loved!
    Let’s just hope that is enough.
    • Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and to Be Loved)
  • But you should never be embarrassed by your trouble with living
    Cause it's the ones with the sorest throats Laura,
    who have done the most singing.
    • Laura Laurent

There Is No Beginning to the Story (2003)

  • We're all too busy working, entertaining ourselves
    With forty hours of television and prescription pills
    Well, I take two a day to help my brain behave
    It never does, but who's to say? At least my doctor gets paid.
    • Loose Leaves
  • 'Cause a costume can be comfortable
    It can make you feel more beautiful
    It can even make you look like someone else
    But it's still you, so there's nothing you can do
    Like a bad habit, the one you couldn't kick, there it always is
    And it's nothing that no doctor's gonna fix.
    • We Are Free Men

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)

  • I know you have a heavy heart, I can feel it when we kiss
    So many men stronger than me
    Have thrown their backs out trying to lift it
    But me I'm not a gamble
    You can count on me to split
    The love I sell you in the evening by the morning won't exist.
    • Lua
  • I'd rather be working for a paycheck, than waiting to win the lottery.
    Besides, maybe this time it's different, I mean,
    I really think you like me.
    • First Day of my Life
  • And there's kids playing guns in the streets
    And one's pointing his tree branch at me
    So I put my hands up I say
    "Enough is enough,
    If you walk away I walk away."
    And he shot me dead.
    • Landlocked Blues
  • And I never thought this life was possible,You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for.
    • Poison Oak
  • Well, I could have been a famous singer
    If I had someone else's voice
    But failure's always sounded better
    Let's fuck it up, boys, make some noise!
    • Road To Joy
  • i keep drinking the ink from my pen
    and i'm balancing history books up on my head
    but it all boils down to one quotable phrase
    if you love something give it away
    • landlocked blues
  • a good woman will pick you apart
    a box full of suggestions for your possible heart
    and you may be offended. and you may be afraid
    but don't walk away, don't walk away
    • landlocked blues
  • we made love on the living room floor
    with the noise in the background of a televised war
    and in that defeaning pleasure i thought i heard someone say
    if we walk away they'll walk away
    • landlocked blues

Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (2005)

  • I want to be the surgeon who cuts you open
    Who fixes all of life's mistakes
    I want to be the house that you were raised in
    The only place where you feel safe.
    • Ship in a Bottle
  • I hear if you make friends with Jesus Christ, you will get right up from that chalk outline. And then you'll get dolled up, and you'll dress in white all to take your place in his chorus line. And then in you'll come with those marching drums in a saintly compromise. No more whiskey slurs, no more blonde-haired girls for your whole eternal life. And you'll do the dance that was choreographed at the very dawn of time. Singing "I told you son, the day would come you would die, you'd die you'd die you'd die you'd die".
    • Arc Of Time
  • Sometimes I worry that I've lost the plot
    My twitching muscles tease my flippant thoughts
    I never really dreamed of heaven much
    Until we put him in the ground.
    • Easy/Lucky/Free
  • You took off your clothes and left on the light,
    You stood there so brave, you used to be shy,
    Each feature improved, each movement refined,
    And eyes like a showroom.
    • Take it Easy (Love Nothing)

Cassadaga (2007)

  • It's exploding bags, aerosol cans
    Southbound buses, Peter Pan
    They left it up to us again
    I thought you knew the drill
    It's kill or be killed.
    • Clairaudients(Kill or Be Killed)
  • The squatters made a mural of a Mexican girl
    With fifteen cans of spray paint and a chemical swirl
    She's standing in the ashes at the end of the world
    Four winds blowing through her hair.
    • Four Winds
  • On a detox loft through a Glendale Park over sidewalk chalk
    Someone wrote in red, "start over."
    • Cleanse Song
  • Oh, I've made love, yeah, I've been fucked, so what?
    I'm a cartoon, you're a full moon, let's stay up.
    • Hot Knives
  • You mean nothing to no one but that's nobody's fault.
    • Soul Singer in a Session Band
  • Little soldier, little insect
    You know war it has no heart
    It will kill you in the sunshine
    Or happily in the the dark
    Where kindness is a card game
    Or a bent up cigarette
    In the trenches, in the hard rain
    With a bullet and a bet.
    • No One Would Riot for Less
  • Everything must belong somewhere.
    I know that now, that's why I'm staying here.
    • I Must Belong Somewhere
  • Don't be so amazing or I'll miss you too much.
    • "Lime Tree

Conor Oberst (2008)

  • You’ve been a father to me.
    In 1960’s speak.
    Give me comatose joy like we’re on TV.
    While the mountain’s side was shining.
    Wild colors of my destiny
    • Cape Cañaveral
  • And in the morning when the sun rise.
    Look in the water, see the blue sky.
    As if heaven has been laid there at our feet.
    • Sausalito
  • I wanna be your happiness.
    I wanna be your common sense pain.
    • Get-Well-Cards
  • If I loved you, well that's my fault
    • Lenders In The Temple

Unsourced

  • Alright this is a love song; I don't know if you guys are into love around here or what but.. I don't know, it's pretty rad.
    • Introducing "First day of my life" in Paris, November 2004
  • Do you guys consider yourselves to live in the country? [audience reaction]... I heard half "yes"es and have "no"s, so I guess you're confused.
    • Live in Fargo, North Dakota November 3, 2007.
  • Don't listen, just leave.
    • A response to an audience member who cried out, "Don't play, just drink." at a concert in New Hampshire, November 2005.
  • I can almost listen to a whole Justin Timberlake song without cringing. I do get a bit bummed out when it comes to Ashlee Simpson though.
    • When asked his opinion on current popular music artists
  • I feel like we've got a lot of good karma stored up here in Columbus. A few years ago we played here and got kicked out of this club because we started a riot while we were playing, a cop threw Mike over a bike, and like, I pushed a cop, so we drove off in our van, playing our song, and wecome back the next day to load all our stuff, we realized left this unmarked, black bag. It's got all our contracts from the shows we played, $12,000 cash, half a bottle of wine, a bottle of vodka, and a joint. And we realize we left it on the sidewalk. We go back to get it, and of course its gone, so I feel like we've got all this good karma here because we probably made someones day. I'd like to think that a single mom picked it up..and.. sent her kids to.. the doctor or something. But uh..probably not. Probably someone just had a big fuckin' party.
    • May 20,2007 Columbus, Ohio
  • I like to feel the burn of the audience's eyes when I'm whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone
    • A scripted quote from Todd Fink (of The Faint) playing Conor Oberst in a fake interview on the album Fevers & Mirrors
  • I'd rather put a fucking gun to my head than live in your state
    • To concert goers,after finishing a show in Texas
  • Craig Ferguson: See, I love your work, and I-I'm reading that they're comparing you- saying you're the new Bob Dylan and all that, how does that stuff kinda get you, do you like that? Do you not like it?
    Conor Oberst: Uh, I mean... There's certainly worse things to be called.
  • Screaming is bad for the voice, but it's good for the soul.
  • The whole ideology of indie rock doesn't hold any water anymore; it's not that clear-cut. Every time we sell a record, Time Warner gets a dime from our distributor. I already give a ridiculous amount of my income to the United States government, which is probably the most evil organization on the planet as far as killing people; I don't know how many bombs I've purchased with my tax dollars. Unless you're gonna live on a mountain somewhere, you're not gonna be free of the modern world and all the evils that go with it. What you can do is operate with intelligence and be compassionate, help people when you can. Do things not just for money, but for the craft of it.
    • From an interview in "Spin" (April 2007)
  • This next song is about train hopping. I don't know if there are any hobos in the audience...
    • Before singing "If the Brakeman Turns My Way", live in Ferrara, Italy, 17th July 2007.
  • This one goes out to Dick Cheney and his army of satan.
    • In Iowa City before singing "Lets not shit ourselves"
  • This song is about waking up from a really, really long nightmare
    • Before Singing "First day of my life" in London July 2007
  • We're all a little broken. We're all a little twisted. We're all less than we could be or want to be.
    • From an interview in "Filter" (February 2005)
  • Well, I mean...there are certainly worse things to be called
    • When asked by Craig Ferguson about the comparison between him and Bob Dylan.
  • When it rains it pours, they say. My guess is that its those damned English terrorists with their weather machine, trying to ruin our fun.
    • After the roof of the tent collapsed and Oberst was drenched with the collected rainwater. Oxegen Festival, Dublin, July 2007.
  • Well, if you die... that's a bummer...
    • When asked "How drunk is too drunk?"
  • I don't know where those hippies went.
  • You don't even know me.
    • In response to an audience member who screamed, "I love you, Conor!" at a concert in Philadelphia, 2002.
  • I think your Mom is out front to pick you up.
    • A reply to a young girl who asked 'Is Kirsten Dunst in the audience?'. At a show that Kirsten Dunst was attending.
  • You're a pretty sweet son of a bitch London. I'm talking about the queen.
    • London, November 2009.

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