[vimeo 59265413 w=500 h=375]

The new Howling Hex record, The Best of the Howling Hex, is not a greatest-hits compilation; it just happens to be the best set of songs that Neil Michael Hagerty has recorded with his post–Royal Trux outfit. The album comes out out this week from Drag City, and The Believer Logger is proud to premiere this video for the album’s first single, “Primetime Clown.” Yesterday Hagerty answered a few questions about the video over email.

—Andrew Leland

What does George W. Bush have against Kurt Cobain? What’s at stake in their bout?

Bush and Cobain bear no personal malice towards one another—they are merely gladiators forced to fight in order to maintain the balance of energy in the engine room of the cosmos, to perpetuate what the French call “Destin des Fous,” or Fools’ Destiny.

Who is the Primetime Clown?

Well, we’ve all been there—it just refers to that phase in a person’s life when they feel that their issues are so intense and interesting that they would be worthy of a partially scripted reality show.

I wonder if the intentionally painful and messy vibe of this video comes from some anger you have toward digital culture. Do you hate the internet? Is TV still worth fighting against? How can we strike a meaningful blow against the cheese we ought to resist?

First, let me say that I disagree with the characterization of the video as “painful"—in my defense I think you have to understand that my techniques sit on an historical visual continuum running from Méliès through my own father’s video work, most notably "Easter Egg Hunt/Nova Scotia Trip” from 1989. That being said, I hate the internet because my connection is always too slow. I feel like somewhere there are people with much faster connections who will always have an advantage over me. “Media culture” is always worth fighting but resistance isn’t the way to go, we need to embrace, consume and process everything we’re allowed to access. But it is a bit futile as long as internet speed and quality are unevenly distributed.

Why is this choppy, grainy imagery better than the moist and glossy narrative shorts that most bands produce for their music videos? What does a good music video do to its viewer?

I think this kind of video is better since it can inspire the technically or financially deficient to now finally and completely give up the dream of hanging on to the last shred of that ghost of a thought about pursuing their creative impulses. It’s better than those slick videos which just put off that inevitable soul-crushing. To understand what a good music video is, imagine a “buy button” clicking on a human face—forever.

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