Taika Waititi: ‘As someone who feels a real ownership of Kate Bush music… I’m annoyed’

Taika Waititi feels very strongly about music. That’s not unusual, many people do. But Taika is known for his dedication to it. He sold himself into the director’s chair on Thor: Ragnarök by putting Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song on his sizzle reel and then spent the entire production trying to convince the band to give them the rights for it. It almost pushed back their opening because, allegedly, Taika wouldn’t open the movie without it. Must be nice to have Mouse money to make those kinds of demands. When the Thor: Love and Thunder teaser came out, the recognizable guitar of Sweet Child of Mine from Guns N’ Roses appeared almost like a guest star. While being interviewed by NME, Taika was asked if he thought G N’ R would get the Kate Bush treatment with Love and Thunder. Taika responded by saying that Stranger Things “ruined” Kate Bush. With what I can only assume was a fist clenched and raised to the sky he clarified that while he loved the show, “these kids” don’t get Kate Bush because they never listened to her before the show and only Taika knows the real Kate Bush – or something like that.

How’d you manage to fit four Guns N’ Roses songs in?
We actually wanted five [songs] but that might have been overkill. It was a real triumph, having one of my favourite bands from when I was a kid, the band that really informed the soundtrack to my life. Still at 46, usually at about 3am when I’m in bed, I’ll watch GNR music videos. I don’t go on one of those porn sites, I go and watch Axl Rose in the ‘Paradise City’ music video!

Love and Thunder do for GNR what Stranger Things did for Kate Bush
You mean how they ruined Kate Bush? I love that show, but as someone who feels a real ownership of Kate Bush music… I’m really annoyed! I’ve become one of those old arseholes who’s like: ‘These kids never listened to Kate Bush, they’ve heard one song on a TV show! They don’t know Kate Bush! I know Kate Bush!’

Christian Bale said you were supposed to have a Kate Bush dance scene in Love and Thunder?
Before Stranger Things! Yeah, there were a bunch of Kate Bush songs I wanted to have in there. We were gonna have ‘This Woman’s Work’, which was gonna be great for [a scene with] Natalie Portman’s character. There was actually gonna be a lot of ABBA in the film as well…

I’ve been thinking about director’s cuts. I watch director’s cuts of a lot of other directors. They suck. Director’s cuts are not good. Directors need to be controlled sometimes and if I was to say, ‘ah you wanna watch my director’s cut? It’s four and a half hours long!’ It’s not good, at four and a half hours. There’s a lot of cup-of-tea breaks in there, you don’t even have to pause it.

What would your Love and Thunder cut look like?
I’d say my cut would probably have a few more jokes in there. There might be a couple of deleted scenes but as I always say, a scene is deleted because it’s not good enough to be in the film. I think the deleted scenes section on the DVD, not that they use them anymore, should just be a list of the scenes and no links so you can’t click on them!

[From NME]

Most outlets are going with Taika’s comments about Kate Bush being a joke. I’m sure he was being cheeky, but I’ll bet you there was truth to his words. I think if he was truly joking, he wouldn’t have qualified that he loved the show. Plus, I’ve read similar comments from people around Taika’s age believing they had ownership to Kate’s music, just like he did. But that’s not how music works. It touches people for many reasons at different times and nobody gets to dictate whether a person’s feelings about a song are valid. There are songs from my own generation that I didn’t ‘get’ until now for whatever reason. Music is art and it speaks to all of us when we are open to hearing it.

I’m a little curious about this Kate Bush dance party that they talk about in the second question. I wonder if that’s where Taika’s annoyance truly comes from. Did he want to be the person responsible for putting Kate back on the musical map? Did he fantasize about reintroducing the world to her and Stranger Things stole his *ahem* thunder? Because I have news for everyone getting credit: Kate Bush is why her music is trending with the new generation. End of. Fortunately, she has almost $3M in new royalties to keep her company while these boys duke it out for who ‘gets’ her more.

But then Taika’s director cut responses are cranky too. Maybe wedding planning is stressing him out.

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82 Responses to “Taika Waititi: ‘As someone who feels a real ownership of Kate Bush music… I’m annoyed’”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    People really are so weird about music. If someone likes a song, or an artist, who cares how they discover it? Maybe some of those new Kate Bush fans will just hear Running Up a Hill and that’s it. But maybe some will plug her name into Spotify or Apple music or whatever and then think, hey, all these other songs are great too! Good music is good music and IMO part of what MAKES something good music is that it can reach across genres and generations and still make the listener feel something. That’s why Ode to Joy is still so well known today, it makes you feel something. Is it wrong of me to listen to Beethoven because he died 200 years ago? (I know that’s an extreme example but OMG this topic annoys me so much.)

    So yeah he sounds like a crankypants who wanted to “reintroduce” Kate bush to the world and instead Stranger things beat him to it.

    I actually agree with his comments about the director’s cuts, lol.

    • IForget says:

      Exactly this. Plus, she owns her masters, so, double win for her.

      • Michael says:

        It is a very good thing she does own her masters. I read somewhere that she is making about $350 thousand per week off of that song’s resurgence. Classic lesson for all young musicians out there

      • CocofromCanada says:

        I read an article actually interviewing Kate Bush. She is absolutely delighted about a new generation of fans.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Re: Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, a version (Trent Reznor and Karen O) was used in the intro to the HW version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – someone is just butt hurt the band likely wouldn’t approve its use for a Marvel movie.

      He’s turned into quite the brat.

      PS. Kate Bush is on record saying that she’s loving that the song is being heard by a new generation. He needs to sit down.

      • Trillion says:

        I completely took his comments as comedy. I’m very precious about certain bands and make similar statements – all in good fun.

      • Rosa says:

        I’ve always been a Kate Bush fan. I went through a stage, around 4 to 5 years ago, when I was listening to running up that hill all the time. But Wuthering Heights is by far her best song- one of the best songs ever recorded in my opinion. Many artists have released their own versions of it over the decades! Everyone loves Kate! What’s he going on about?

      • tealily says:

        It is actually in the movie though.

    • agirlandherdogs says:

      Artists put their music into the world for people to enjoy. If he really loved Kate Bush so much, he’d be happy that her music has been introduced to a new audience.

  2. Nev says:

    Oh geez.

    • KASalvy says:

      The only person who can claim ownership of Kate’s music is Kate.

      Taika needs to sit down.

  3. crogirl says:

    Metallica gave a great answer when oldschool fans tried to say something like Taika did here.

    • StellainNH says:

      Yes! I was happy to read their response. I get excited when I see younger generations enjoying music of my youth. I could never claim ownership of it.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree, I loved their response. No gatekeeping nonsense like he’s doing here.

  4. Amy Bee says:

    Kate Bush is not upset so what’s the problem?

  5. Lady Esther says:

    Taika needs to take a seat and let Kate 1) earn money and 2) do what she bloody wants with HER music. Not his. I can’t even with his macho bullshit

    • Michael says:

      I agree with the comment above that he wanted to be the one getting the glory for making Kate Bush cool again but Stranger Things stole his thunder (His Love and his Thunder)

  6. Shawna says:

    The message I hear under statements like this is “I don’t want to admit I’m aging.” Even if you’re a hot shot director with a best-streaming tv show and new romance, you can’t shape culture entirely, all by yourself. There are other influencers.

    That said, his uncontrolled answers in interviews have been really enjoyable to follow. Totally madcap even if messy. When other big franchise dudes had run their mouths, the result is usually a lot more offensive. Check out the videos recapping his bromance with Rhys Darby!

  7. Hannah says:

    Why does he always come across so condescending and self-centered?

    • Levans says:

      This!! He has squandered any goodwill I had for him. Between the manner in which he left his wife, his jerky responses and general behavior, he’s become a real a-hole.

    • LightPurple says:

      Because he is.

  8. Watson says:

    There is something to be said when you’ve lived through the era of the music vrs experiencing it via a tv show. Shit just hits different.

    Kate is a genius and deserves to get her flowers tho. I’m so pleased for her!!

  9. nikomikael says:

    I feel like americans always take everything so literally, no understanding of sarcasm, irony etc :p

    • Kirsten says:

      Yeah I can hear him saying this, and he is not being serious.

    • Driver8 says:

      I’m American and I agree.

    • Colby says:

      Not all of us!

    • Keekey says:

      Yeah, as a writer, I thought his comments about the director’s cut were very funny (and true). My “writer’s cut” books would be 700 pages long. Every creative needs a “get a grip” person to tell them when to STAHHHP.

    • Coco says:


      You sound extremely xenophobic with your comment. Assuming that everybody who didn’t share your opinion is American while the others who do or not.

      • nikomikael says:

        Where in my comment did i say anything even remotely close to that?

        Every country and culture is different, and you can usually see things in common with people from the same country etc. Different kind of humor is one of those things, and I’ve noticed that americans are often very literal.

      • Coco says:


        “americans always take everything so literally, no understanding of sarcasm, irony”

        You could have just said people take everything so literally, no understanding of sarcasm … you have no idea where the people who made those comments are from.

      • poppedbubble says:

        No different than how we talk about Brits when discussing royals. We all know (or should know) it’s not all Brits.

    • TrixC says:

      I agree, his remarks are clearly completely tongue in cheek.

    • Jo says:

      Exactly. Plus there is some ill will re: Waititi here because of his behaviour with his ex-wife. Therefore any opportunity to show discontent is a good one.
      He comes across as a bit in love with himself at times, super confident and affirmative, taking space, perhaps too much but he also at times says interesting stuff (like the director’s cut comments which imply his recognition of team work and expertise).
      He was clearly playing the “old fart” gag and running with it. I am pretty sure he is stoked for Kate Bush.

    • Trillion says:

      Well, I’m American and got the humor instantly. We don’t always know who is from where on these posts.

    • Wilma says:

      I always feel like people use the sarcasm defense too easily for people they like.

    • Joanna says:

      Yeah I’m an American and I have a sarcastic sense of humor. So many times, people don’t get it or think I’m being serious.

  10. girl_ninja says:

    This is Kate’s music that she shared with the world and it became something we all enjoy. Taika should understand this as an artist himself. Music should be shared generationally and I am glad that it is. Such a weird (and not just cheeky) response.

  11. Ladykatan says:

    The recent rediscovery of Kate Bush reminds of this fantastic Big Boi versus interview from a few years ago, where he talks about how she has always been one of his biggest inspirations. His joy while breaking down the song makes me so happy, and his insights as a fan and fellow musician are lovely. He talks about cranking up her songs and riding his bike to school as a kid. We need more of this and less of the hipster “you can’t play with my toys” nonsense of music fandom.


  12. Driver8 says:

    I’m almost 50 and recently discovered the music of Sparks because of their Netflix documentary. You’re never too old or too young to discover and appreciate music that is new to you. There’s just so much out there to be found! That said, I don’t think TW was being serious.

  13. M says:

    Y’all. I know people are getting tired of Taika, BUT as someone who feels protective of songs, I get what’s he’s saying. It’s feeling a little protective of the emotions that have been elicited through music for years. For example, I loved Talking Heads forever and a friend of mine ignored them…until Phish covered them. And suddenly he’s the biggest fan of them ever. I understand the weird feeling of “I’ve been having emotional responses to their entire catalog of music for years and now you get to crow about Talking Heads because you now love ‘Once in A Lifetime’. Do you even KNOW ‘I Zimbra’? Deeper cuts?!”

    I do think tone is everything and it’s so flat when you read the quotes versus hearing his actual delivery. knowing his sense of humor, he is joking about getting older.

    I do think we need to retract the claws on this one tongue in cheek comment.

    • Becks1 says:

      Kaiser literally says in the article that she knows he was being cheeky, but there is some truth to his comments.

      I mean, like I said, people can be weird about music. I love music. My favorite band is Fleetwood Mac. If someone “discovers” Fleetwood Mac, I get excited and want to talk to them about the band, its history, starting back in the 60s in London (no Santana did not write Black Magic Woman.) When “Dreams” blew up on Tiktok last year or whenever, I was SO pumped to see so many people listening to it and talking about Stevie Nicks. I didn’t shame them because they don’t know Rock a Little or Ghosts or Alice.

      I don’t feel “protective” because they aren’t my songs, I didn’t write them. Sure, they bring me back to different times in my life, but I don’t feel like other people can’t experience those same emotions. Maybe its because I tend to like older bands where I missed their initial popularity anyway? but I’ve been to FM concerts and the older fans have always been so excited to see new fans. There’s no gatekeeping. It’s “omg you’re going to love this!!!!!”

      • Valerie says:

        Long Way to Go from TOSOTM is a banger. One of my favourites.

      • Becks1 says:

        YES! TOSOTM is probably my favorite solo album of hers, or at least a really close second to Bella Donna. and In Your Dreams. Okay I love them all.

      • Valerie says:

        I liked IYD when it came out, but I don’t listen to it much now! I’ve been thinking about the way she rewrote Moonlight and turned it into a Twilight theme. She’s been talking about it again, and she said that she’s written another Bella and Edward-inspired song that might be the best romantic song she’s ever written. So funny, lol.

        Trouble in Shangri-La is another great one. <3

    • America Chavez says:

      Cosign, M.

    • Driver8 says:

      Omg, I LOVE Talking Heads!!! I’ve seen David Byrne twice, both shows were phenomenal! Have you read Chris Frantz’s autobiography? It is so good! I have to disagree with you a bit though. I get what you are saying about being protective of music, but it has to hit you at the right time. My bff always hated REM, but I recently played New Adventures in Hi-Fi and she loved it. It made me so happy!!! I get that music is an emotional art form, but we should be welcoming of those who come to appreciate the bands we love. And if they don’t, that’s fine too.

    • manda says:

      I agree with your entire comment!

    • michyk says:

      i’m the same way about books and authors. i don’t feel protective of the material, really, but i also don’t want to be ‘schooled’ by someone who’s just discovered an author or material i’ve known about for ages. i have a coworker who just started reading the discworld series by terry pratchett. and she loves them. and i am very happy for her and excited that she gets to enter this whole world that i love. but then she starts lecturing me on what it means and the genius of pratchett and on and on, and i’m like, i’ve been reading him since i was 15. heh, that sentence sounds super cranky. i like that people are always discovering new things they love, and i love how different people and generations, etc., can interpret things in so many different ways. i don’t always love the sense of superiority that can sometimes come with it, i guess is what i’m saying. maybe?

      • girl_ninja says:

        That’s fine. Just let the person trying to “school” know what’s up. One of the young women that I worked w/ and I were having a conversation and Madonna was brought up. She said “Do you know that this woman was on MTV rolling around the stage singing “Like a Virgin?!?!” I said “not only do I know that, I watched it LIVE.”

        It’s just history and sometimes WE as an older generation are the historians.

      • Sunnydaze says:

        @michyk, I feel the same way about books, particularly the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I was borderline rage fueled when the American film came out. My husband talked me into seeing it, so in the spirit of giving it a chance I went, and left at the assault scene. I feel like Lisbeth was such an important character to me, and the film using gratuitous violence was such a betrayal. (The book does have violence for sure, but it’s with purpose and intent…this was dragged out and gratuitous). I feel differently about the Swedish version because I feel like they captured the cultural aspect better, but I’m still angry whenever someone talks about liking the American version and never read the novels. With music, I think I would have the same reaction as he is having if suddenly everyone was talking about Ani DiFranco. Especially for artists that are a bit lesser known there’s a sense of (for me anyway) “I managed to find this little slice of connection, a community, when the rest of the public couldn’t care less” so when said entity blows up, especially through such a commercially successful medium, I can see how it might feel like, you only like this because a popular show put it in your face when I loved it even when people rolled their eyes at my affection. It feels like supporting and loving and connecting to something that was special because of it’s counter-culture appeal, and having hard feelings when it becomes ubiquitous in pop culture. I get it, it sucks, and I’m sure I’ve jumped on a bandwagon or two, we all have.

    • Ang says:

      That’s funny you mentioned Phish because their fans are some of the biggest gatekeepers around. I used to follow them 20 years ago and I still have friends that get upset when new people discover them or even get mad when they play the only commercial hit at a show “bouncing round the room” it’s hilarious how seriously they take themselves.

    • Ines says:

      “For example, I loved Talking Heads forever and a friend of mine ignored them…until Phish covered them. And suddenly he’s the biggest fan of them ever.” Sorry… and what is the problem?

    • Moneypenny424 says:

      @M, you nailed it. I have certainly felt this way about music before—and you’re right, it feels like people taking something you have an emotional connection to. It is silly of course, and he is joking, but there is def some truth in this for him.

  14. Flowerlake says:

    Older generations to younger generations: “our music was far superior”.

    Also then: gatekeeping said music.

    (Will also happen when Gen Z grows old to even younger generations)

  15. Cinders says:

    I do think the man’s a bit of an arse, but I do think he was half joking here. Also, he’d have been only 2 or 3 years old when Kate had her first big hit, so by his own logic he’s a “latecomer” too.

  16. detritus says:

    Let the woman make her bank. The only one who owns Kate Bush’s music is Kate Bush.

    This interview reads like he’s in an ADD overstim moment, or on coke.

    I’d like for him to stop doing interviews and see his kids. Maybe reflect on how cheating on his pregnant wife with his assistant and abandoning his children to gallivant around the world wasn’t a good call.

    I sometimes think he believes what Stede Bonnet does. That another man can act as father and it’s no big deal. ‘It’s better for everyone’. Except the kids

    • TrixC says:

      His children were with him at the Love & Thunder premiere in London last week, they posed together on the red carpet. And I believe they had small roles in the film too.

  17. M says:

    I should clarify that “protective” doesn’t mean gatekeeping—so I would never shut someone out from joining the appreciation party with me—but yes I think “schooled” by the new appreciator is the term I was thinking of and didn’t mention of, and that is where I think some of that sentiment comes from.

  18. Wilma says:

    Dude, only Kate Bush has ownership of Kate Bush. 🙄
    I love it when my students discover music from my youth, it gives us something in common to geek out about.

  19. C says:

    I always loved silent movies and whenever anyone else ever liked them I was ecstatic, it meant I actually had someone to talk to about it no matter how little their exposure, lol.

  20. Case says:

    I think true music fans are just happy when new fans are exposed to older favorites. How many young MCU fans have been exposed to Led Zeppelin because of Thor 3, for instance?

  21. Lucy says:

    I read this as him being mostly sarcastic. I think there is an undercurrent of real emotion under it, but I also think that’s ok. Personally, as a long time Kate Bush fan, I can understand having complex feelings about this moment. On the one hand, I love that Kate Bush is making money and I love that people are being introduced to her. (She is so wonderful.) on the other hand, music that felt private and intimate and unique to me since my teens is suddenly being consumed in more casual ways. There’s nothing inherently bad about that, but it does feel odd. (I hope that makes sense! I genuinely don’t want to gatekeep Kate Bush or anything like that.)

  22. Annaloo. says:

    For the lack of attention or recognition Gen X consistently suffers from in the media, I completely get gatekeeping. It’s useless, of course, so no sense in debating it, but it would be nice if the world acknowledged this: sooooo much of its cool stuff in pop culture now is mined from generation X

  23. Michelle Connolly says:

    He seems to have got quite up himself since he got ‘big’. On reddit someone in the Tales From Your Server mentioned earlier today or yesterday (not by name but everyone in the comments immediately guessed) that himself, Rita and 3 others had been given a very, very expensive fully comped meal both pre- and post-Wimbledon watching, and left no tip at all. They were with Americans but everyone in the UK (Rita) knows you tip on meals, especially comps.

    It’s a shame because I’d always really loved his work in the past. It’s not nice to see such a gatekeepy/nasty side of someone you admire.

  24. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I have to admit, there’s nothing which excites me more than hearing an old favorite played by someone much younger. When I heard KB was trending, I was stoked. KATE BUSH! Seriously. Who could’ve called that?

  25. FF says:

    He’s not wrong but that’s life. Kids can’t go back in time and be born in the 80s just because someone wants them to get an artist of that era “in context”. (But he made that clear when he said he was that old guy.)

    Stranger Things just put one song into an accessible context for them. Some of them will think nothing of it and some will find their parents’ album of Kate Bush’s songs and enjoy it. Some may have even done that already.

    When it’s in a public forum you can’t control how people choose to interpret music or art. He knows that he’s probably just attached to Bush’s music in a way that’s important for him. Literally everyone has something like that. If it’s suddenly all over the kids sm-du-jour you get salty even when you know it’s ridiculous.

    Tbh, I, personally, wasn’t impressed with him using a Black child to simp for racist Guns ‘n’ Roses in his film but here we are, he did that.

  26. Jeanne says:

    Holy hell I never knew that kate bush wrote womens work?!! I just knew it as the song in she’s having a baby that makes me cry every time! That is literally like one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Kate bush is my new crush. I’m 39. I should know better.

  27. Silent Star says:

    I am original-Kate-Bush-era age, and although I’m never thrilled when a good song gets overplayed, I’m pretty thrilled that my young kids have embraced this song and love it as much as I do. They would never have liked it if I had introduced it to them! 😄

    Yeah Taika is butthurt because he wanted to show off his esoteric taste. I predict he will try to do the same with a different off-beat 80s artist on his next film to make up for it.

    It’s weird that he has inserted himself into this trending topic on the first place.

  28. AppleCart says:

    He’s being snarky, it’s no different when Indy bands go big. People were like, but i loved them first! I remember when Kings of Leon had their hit record. And people were all fussy since it was their pocket music for years before.

    I loved the remix Stranger Things did for her and Journey’s song. Kate pocketed about 2 million from the bump up. Good for her.

  29. Colby says:

    I think he’s making fun of himself in a round about way. He is purposefully exaggerating and specifically calling out his “old arsehole” vibes.

    He is feeling protective of an artist who has clearly impacted his life, and hes feeling annoyed about something he knows he shouldnt. That happens to everyone. At least hes owning it and laughing at himself

  30. Nina says:

    I used to really like Taika but my opinion of him is plummeting. He comes across as arrogant, the way he left his wife is sketchy and recently he was bad-mouthing the CGI work in Thor: Love & Thunder. CGI artists are incredibly overworked and underpaid so this millionaire jerk publicly criticizing the work of the people who practically kill themselves to meet Hollywood’s ridiculous standards and deadlines is just .. awful.

  31. Imara219 says:

    Metallica had the best response to this situation. A fan twitted they were mad that the use of their song in Stranger Things meant an uptick in non-fans buying their music to pose” and Metallica was like “cool. I’m glad more people are discovering us and that’s ok” 😄

  32. jferber says:

    His match with Rita Ora is odd to me. I don’t see what they really have in common.

  33. Gubbinal says:

    I would give him a pass. When the Beatles came out in 1963- 1964 in the USA I felt deep sorrow for anyone too young to get to hear them develop musically. It was fantastic to watch them grow. I sort of get “feeling ownership” of following their career organically.

  34. Gelya says:

    I think he was joking. He needs to be quiet, lol. I have been trying to get Kate in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame for years. Every time she is on the ballot I am voting. I am hoping 2023 will finally be the year.
    I am four years older than Taiki. I love seeing this resurgence of Kate’s music. She is special, timeless and her music should be loved for centuries. 🙂
    I was listening to GnR last night. I was thrilled to hear their music in the new Thor trailer. I am excited there are four songs in the movie.

  35. Lou says:

    I missed the boat on Kate ambush the first time around because I was a kid, but I got into her after Placebo covered Running up that Hill on The OC. So these stranger things fans have discovered Kate in the exact way I did – an iconic moment in a popular teen tv show. It’s how cycles work, it’s cool. There’s enough music for everyone!

  36. jazzbaby1 says:

    The only person who gets to feel “ownership” of Kate Bush’s music is Kate Bush.