Father John Misty

Josh Tillman’s journey to become Father John Misty was a roundabout, but fortuitous, one that began with the novel he wrote during his travels from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California. 

Despite a four-year stint as the drummer for Seattle’s Fleet Foxes, as well as releasing a number of solo albums, something was still missing for the performer – his own voice.

Photo: John Davisson

Father John Misty has given Tillman that voice and he has a lot to say through his songs and free-form banter between numbers.

Leaving gray-skied Seattle and settling in Los Angeles’ fabled Laurel Canyon area was one of the steps that opened doors for the singer-songwriter.

The result of Tillman’s taking the plunge is his debut as Father John Misty, 2012’s Fear Fun, with folk-rock hits including “Nancy From Now On,” “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” and “I’m Writing A Novel.”  

Appearances at venues as intimate as Slim’s in San Francisco to playing for thousands at major festivals including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk, Sasquatch, SXSW and Lollapalooza continued to spread the word.

Featured spots on “Late Night With David Letterman,” “Conan,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and others further upped Tillman’s profile.

Photo: John Davisson

His quirky, sometimes dark sense of humor is shared in various ways, such as serenading a pink-and-white unicorn head on a stick while fronting his band or performing an acoustic solo set while sitting behind an enormous iPhone-shaped frame as his own live stream. Anything is possible and his fans get it.

Father John Misty is on a solo tour of North American clubs, halls and theatres through early November.