INTERVIEW: Barns Courtney

Barns Courtney by Roger Ho_5243

Photo by David Ho / Lollapalooza 2017

The name Barns Courtney is quickly falling on to many people’s radars this summer. Many people know of him from his current breakout single, “Fire”, but he’ll always have some significance in Milwaukee by way of misfortune. His set at this year’s Summerfest ended with a broken foot, after jumping off of the stage at the Miller Lite Oasis. Courtney brought his set to Lollapalooza this past weekend, complete with a hospital bed and nurse to aid him throughout the show. When we caught up with him, we had to hear what happened from the source, as well as find out how he’s doing:

B&E: So, you’ve gotten to perform at Lollapalooza today. How’s your time here going?

BC: Great man, yeah. I’m just like really flabergasted to be here in Chicago at this crazy festival. I remember like, seeing it on YouTube and being like “Wow, that looks amazing, all of the huge skyscrapers and shit. Imagine playing that.” So it’s weird to be here, but I’m very happy.

B&E: Is this your first Lollapalooza?

BC: Yeah, first ever!

B&E: That’s awesome. We wanted to follow up with you, too, because we were in Milwaukee when you broke your foot at Summerfest. What happened?

BC: Well, I’m on stage, and like, they’ve got the crowd so far back from the stage, and I wanna connect with these people. I wanna go down there and get amongst them and get all sweaty and dirty. There’s all these camera guys in the photo pit, and I’m like, getting all indignant, waving my hand at these guys like “come on, get out of the way, get out of the way” and they weren’t understanding what I’m saying. So for the last song, “Fire”, they finally got the message and they sort of like back up, and I have this huge running jump where I have to like, jump over the VIP area, and I pull my legs in to try to make it look as dramatic as possible, and I slam down, and realized that it’s not grass down there, I’m in a concrete parking lot, and I felt my foot just popped. So I’m like “what the fuck just happened?”, and I’m in incredible pain, and I can’t stand anymore. I tried to like, stumble it off, but it’s like, ruined. Fall on the ground, finish the set. I was gonna go out drinking that night! I thought I just sprained it. And we go to LA the next day. I didn’t go to the hospital until that night, and they showed me the x-ray, and I was like “holy shit, that’s obliterated!”

B&E: Wow. Do you know how many bones you shattered?

BC: So, it’s like the bones in your hands, but in your feet, the metatarsils. I shattered the middle one, near the joint, in five places, and the rest are all fractured. They said that it was an injury more similar to vehicular accidents (laughs).

B&E: That’s a lot of impact. Props to you for being able to finish out the song. 

BC: I can’t believe I did that! I probably did loads of damage jumping around on it!

B&E: Yeah it was impressive. We saw all of the commotion from up front and then you finished the song. Did medical come and get you right away?

BC: No, we called them and they came out and looked at my foot. They couldn’t x-ray it, so they had no idea. We wrapped it up, and it was my drummer, Rob,’s birthday that night, so I was gonna go out and get some beers, but yeah, thank God I didn’t.

B&E: So, playing shows now. Is it tougher because you can’t move around as much?

BC: It’s a lot of fun. I mean, I did this setup that I did today with the hospital bed and stuff at The Grove in LA, which was crazy. But today we switched out the mic stand, and so like every couple of beats, this mic stand is getting lower and lower and lower, and so I’m having to bend down in the seat, and eventually I’m on my back in this weird yoga position, tightening my core like tighter than I’ve ever done in my whole life, and trying to sing notes at the same time. So that was a challenge, but you know, we made it work. We got it by the end.

B&E: Lastly, is there anyone else you’d like to see while you’re here at Lollapalooza?

BC: I’d love to. The ironic thing is that when you’re an artist you never have time to see other bands. You know, the nice thing about festivals, though, is that you get to stumble into a set of your favorite bands, or someone that becomes your new favorite band.

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