“Why does the United States of America…take an interest in Canada?”; “Would it be right to suck up to little reporters, and lick them?”; “Is Sonic Youth a logical extension of Yes, Gentle Giant, and Crimson?”; “Don’t you feel bad at the bank taking property from people who have nowhere to live?”; “Is there a cure for the summertime blues?”; “Do you really love drugs?”; “How can anybody top the Snoop hotdog?”; “Doot doola doot doo…”
Find the answers to all these questions and more, true believers, in Welcome to My Castle, the latest Nardwuar the Human Serviette DVD and thrilling followup to Doot Doola Doot Doo…Doot Doo!. Boasting five-and-a-half hours of footage split between two DVDs, Welcome to My Castle is a wickedly funny film for pop culture junkies. Nardwuar’s interviews tend to either go one of two ways: either folks can roll with his elaborately interconnecting questions and shrill voice (Courtney Love, Ron Jeremy and, oddly enough, former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner) and those who can’t (Sadly, Sonic Youth and Jello Biafra are dicks here). Either way can be entertaining, although Sonic Youth’s responses are awfully asinine.
Nardwuar’s better interviews tend to be the ones that blindside his subjects, like his meetings with Turner, former President Gerald Ford and a variety of folks at the Junos, but his ability to shine is dependent on cooperation. So while Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic can’t get a grip on how Nard works, Courtney Love’s series of interviews are all great, whether she be drugged out of her gourd (post-Kurt Cobain’s death) or happily married. Nardwuar is addicted to pop culture of all kinds, so much so that at one point he even tracks down pen pals listed in teen magazines, and it is because of Love’s similar interests and attention to details that the two make such great conversationalists, whether they're arguing, falling over or just talking straight. Also, there is a deeply, deeply weird sexual chemistry going on. Regardless of whether or not I'm imagining that, Nardwuar somehow captures her at her most human.
Another choice interview comes courtesy of porn star Ron Jeremy. Willing to mock everyone in the room, including himself, Jeremy responds to Nard’s queries honestly and humorously. It’s also the only time Nardwuar actually seems out of his depth, as one question about the “unsung legends of porn” prompts Jeremy to scoff the reporter’s picks. It’s like watching two music snobs go at it in a record store…only they’re talking about fucking instead of Lou Reed and Robert Johnson.
Viewers, like some of Nardwuar’s interviewees, may find the schtick tiresome after a while, though. While I can honestly say I dig the guy’s thorough research, guerilla reporting and bait-and-hook hard-hitting journalism, five-and-a-half hours is a lot of time to dedicate to inane questioning. Sometimes, the people just run out of steam; other times, you just wish they’d shut up (the Monkees’ Micky Dolenz is a real ass-hat on Disc 1). But when spread out over multiple viewings, there’s plenty of wit and information to behold. Also included are bonus videos ranging from Nardwuar getting spat on to performances from his band, the Evaporators. Also included is a preview interview with Snoop Dogg from Doot Doola Doot Doo…Doot Doo!, and it is hilarious. Sonic Youth might not get Nardwuar, but somehow a hip-hop heavy like Snoop is totally locked in, and it’s these random, odd connections that make Welcome to My Castle such a joy to watch.