Musicians Steven Tyler, Ben Harper, Joe Walsh, and others speak with candor about their journeys to sobriety and how they are in much better places, personally and creatively.
Paul McCartney, the type of man who washes out his one pair of socks after the gig, is polite, profanity-averse, and still a prolific performer to this day. In Chris Heath’s GQ profile, he talks about getting mugged with Linda while recording Band on the Run in Nigeria, killing frogs on his childhood estate to “toughen himself up,” and collaborating with Kanye West.
When musician Nick Cave’s son Arthur died, Cave dealt with his grief the only way he knew how: by continuing to write music. “Songwriting is an immensely positive act,” Cave said, “nothing to do with sadness or depression, no matter what you’re writing about.” A film made about the new album’s recording offers a penetrating portrait of tragedy, creation and grief.
An oral history of Prince’s life and career, as told by his friends.
Heath takes us through a careful account of the night a 45-year-old Uber driver named Jason Dalton murdered six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan while picking up fares. Dalton’s motives that night are baffling.
R. Kelly gave GQ reporter Chris Heath three days to interview him without any restrictions. The results are illuminating, if not occasionally baffling.
Sture Bergwall, known in Sweden as Thomas Quick, has confessed to more than 30 murders, eight of which resulted in convictions. Heath comes face-to-face with Bergwall as he prepares to make another startling confession:
“Here, five doors from the free world, it is hard not to feel a little apprehension. There is an odd moment after I first arrive when the translator has gone to the bathroom and the two people from the hospital who will sit by the door as we talk are not yet in place, and so it is just myself and Bergwall, meeting for the first time, exchanging stilted pleasantries. He takes a seat on one side of a low coffee table—a position chosen, I later discover, because he doesn’t like to see the staff who are monitoring him. I move toward the sofa on the other side of the coffee table. But then he overrules me. He gently taps on the chair right next to him. Okay.”
“Ayee-eeee…” Lars von Trier says, physically wincing, as it begins. (His ramblings are prompted by a question partly inquiring about the interest he had expressed to a Danish film magazine about the Nazi aesthetic and their achievements in the field of design.) “Yeah, okay. I remember that…” He asks me to stop it for a moment, then continues. “Terrible…” He sees the distressed look on Dunst’s face, helpless to stop the flow of disastrous words from the mouth of someone inches away from her. “I kind of didn’t look at her,” he remembers. “But I had a feeling that she was kind of reacting. But then I thought ‘Ah, these Americans, they’re always so scared of everything, you know…’ ” Just watching Dunst’s face, as it shifts between amusement, concern, bafflement, horror, compassion, and pain, without ever losing its dignity, tells you as much about what is happening as Trier’s words do.
As Don’t Ask Don’t Tell comes to an end, interviews with dozens of gay servicemen about their experience. Air Force #3: “I’ve had three deployments [while] with the same person. Every time it’s been ‘All right, see you later.’ All the spouses get together, do stu. He’s just there by himself, fending for himself.” Marines #2: “The relationship lasted for about four years, but I always felt like I was disrespecting him, to have to pretend he didn’t exist when I went to work. When I got deployed, he was there with my family when I left. It kind of sucked—to shake his hand and a little pat on the back and ‘I’ll see you when I see you’ kind of thing. And when you’re getting ready to come back, the spouses were getting classes—here’s how you welcome your Marine back into the family—and my boyfriend didn’t get any of that.”
The daring German filmmaker Werner Herzog once walked a thousand miles to propose to a woman. He once plotted to firebomb his leading man’s house and once ate his own shoe to square a bet. He once got shot in the stomach during a TV interview, then insisted on finishing. And despite it all, his latest adventure—a 3-D documentary about cave paintings—still sounds batshit crazy.