Known Johnson

March 29, 2008

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco speaks about migraines

Filed under: Migraine,Music — Tom @ 12:13 pm

Jeff Tweedy, one of the more widely known migraine sufferers, has written a piece for the New York Times about his migraine experiences. While his are far worse than mine have ever been, I identify with a lot he has to say in there. And I’m really glad to see that I’ve been right all along about “Less Than You Think”‘s noise-drone coda being his interpretation of a migraine. I’ve never seen any confirmation of that until now, but the moment I heard that I immediately knew I was “hearing” a migraine sufferer reaching out through music. And, yes, every time I get a fairly serious migraine, I feel exactly the same way he does – that any progress I’ve made has been dashed and I’m on the downhill slide. I guess we migraineurs are probably not the most positive lot around.



  1. Interesting.

    I’ve just started noticing how much I like music during and after a migraine. I’ve never suffered from much sound sensitivity during my migraines, so once the migraine has subsided enough that I can bear to look at my computer screen again, I’ll put on my headphones, load up iTunes, and let’er rip. If I can find the right type of music and the if volume is turned up loud enough, it’s almost hypnotic. It dulls the pain and makes me feel a little…well, high, I guess. This doesn’t happen when I’m not all migraine-y.

    Anything similar happen to you? Is there music you like to listen to during or after a migraine, or is that too much to handle until the migraine is gone?

    Comment by UncleMidriff — March 29, 2008 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  2. Yeah, it’s really weird – I often need very aggressive, extremely repetitive, and deeply textured music when I have a migraine. I think I’ve written about listening to Godflesh while enduring a migraine before and the interesting thing that just struck me is that now that I don’t have very many headaches anymore, I also don’t listen to very much Godflesh or really any extremely heavy music anymore. I also found a special sympathy for stuff like what is found at the end of that clip of “Less Than You Think” that the NY Times piece has, such as Robert Fripp’s soundscapes – really comforting expanses of sound without any strong markers to fixate upon. I also don’t listen to as much of that stuff as I used to. There are, however, points at which I simply can’t handle music – it doesn’t hurt so much as there is so much going on that I can’t handle it. Sensory overload, especially if I also have things to watch as well (I think I mentioned this happened the other day. That’s when I find myself very, very irritable.)

    They always say migraine suffers isolate themselves, but that rarely has been the case except when I have had a few extremely bad migraines. Most of mine are relatively low-grade in comparison to what Tweedy describes, but mine are often days-long headaches that simply wear me down. Now I get those a couple or few times a month rather than every few days, to the point that they all bled together so it seemed like I was constantly having a really bad headache (or a mild migraine, depending on how you want to look at it.)

    Comment by Tom — March 29, 2008 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  3. interesting stuff here. as you well know, i have nostalgia for many things…but migraines don’t make that list.

    i was one of those isolation people, mostly because i had sensitivity to light. i’d try to get to a darkened room, and place a damp washcloth over my forehead and eyes.

    ugh, i don’t miss those days at all.

    Comment by Mark Saleski — April 2, 2008 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: