October 22, 2009

Judge Judy tell us if we’re wrong:

We finished our set at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, and returned to our dressing room, where we were greeted by this fan mail from some flounder:

front side
(click to see a larger version)

As none of the band members smoke, we didn’t think too hard about the communiqué, until we took note of the Vonnegut-like cross-out and turned over the note to discover:

back side
(click to see a larger version)

Apparently the first official act of former fandom is forgetting how to spell the band’s name. As our team of semioticians attempted to unravel the many mysteries within, we boarded our bus for the three-hour drive to Vancouver, a three-hour drive.

Yo La Tengo’s own cub reporter, front of house engineer Mark Luecke, was on the scene . . .

Traveling north on Canada’s delightful highway 99 towards Vancouver this morning we had an incident:

Minding our own business in the middle lane (of three), obeying the 100 kph speed limit (that’s 62 mph, for those of you without a slide rule), we were overtaken on the left by a semi truck traveling at an incredible rate of speed. It was weaving in and out of the breakdown lane, in the process kicking up a baseball-sized rock that broke our windshield. The glass flecks sprayed up in such a way that I thought I saw feathers, causing me to momentarily imagine that a bird had hit us. Glass hit Frank, our driver, and luckily did not get in his eyes, as he was wearing sunglasses, or in his hair, as he was wearing his flame-adorned skull cap (stickler for detail with a Blackberry, Gil Divine, points out that Frank in fact sports a “head wrap”).

A chase ensued, our bus blowing its horn, flashing its lights and increasing its speed. I looked at our speedometer, which stops at 80 mph, and it was pegged. 90 mph in a tour bus, who knew? In front of us, the semi swerved across three lanes of traffic towards an exit and we followed, slowing down slightly.  “Hold on, y’all,” said Frank.  We held on; I thought we might tip over.

We blew through two fully red lights before our prey was forced to stop at the third one. Sports-car-like, we cut in front of him in an effort to block him and commence with the ceremonial exchanging of insurance info. Frank jumped out of our bus and onto the side of the semi, nearly burning his hands on the exhaust stack. The tête-à-tête went well enough that the driver of the semi exited his cab and came over to look at the damage done to our bus. However, when asked to retrieve his paperwork, he decided to make a clean break instead.

The chase continued for about another half mile before cooler heads prevailed and the RCMP were called in to make a report.

Screen shot 2009-10-22 at 1.48.24 PM

October 20, 2009

We were thrilled to have Roy Loney join us during our encore last Saturday at the Rio in Santa Cruz.  Abetted by Endless Boogie‘s The Governor, we blasted through a couple of songs from the Flamin’ Groovies’ classic Teenage Head record: “Have You Seen My Baby?” and “Teenage Head.”  Neglected to get someone to send me a photo, but Google Images to the rescue.  A quick search for “Yo La Tengo,” “Roy Loney” and “Santa Cruz” came up with this shot, which I think should give you a pretty fair idea of the excitement.


October 15, 2009

I don’t think I can come up with the words to describe what NRBQ means to me (they’ve been broken up for years now, and I still can’t bring myself to use the past tense).   So we want to note the recent passing of not one, but two key players in the NRBQ saga: co-founder and original lead guitarist Steve Ferguson, and one-time manager Captain Lou Albano.  At the risk of disturbing the peace we dearly hope these two gentlemen are resting in, we post in genuine loving tribute our stab at NRBQ’s classic “Captain Lou,” yanked from our Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics.

September 29, 2009

Enjoying a few relaxing days off–spending an inordinate amount of time in uptown Manhattan: last Saturday night, we saw Extract (was that Mike Judge in a cameo?  We’d have consulted the credits but the cineastes running the AMC Loews 84th St. were in such a frenzy to restart the advertising that they turned off the movie somewhere between THE and END) and today we donned our berets and turtlenecks and took in the Robert Frank exhibit at the Met.  En route, was invited to “fuck off” while biking through Central Park.

And speaking of berets, we have some exciting news about our November tour of Europe.  Joining us on ten dates will be France’s own Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby!  Come early, stay late, follow the tour from city to city.  You’ll regret none of it.  More details on the Schedule page.

Wondered if I could find a photo of Eric and Amy on stage with us at Hanukkah, so I did a search at Google images.  I figured this was close enough:


September 22, 2009

Thought I’d pipe up to thank everyone who came out last night in rain-soaked Asheville to take in the rock show at the Orange Peel.  Endless Boogie started things out with a monstrous one-song 50-minute set, doing whatever they call “Sister Ray” when Top Dollar eschews all mentions of ding-dongs.  We brought Mr. Dollar on stage for the final number of our site-specific three-song meteorological encore: the Dils/Rank and File’s “Sound of the Rain” (pretty sure I was mixing and matching the lyrics), the Beatles’ “Rain” (featuring Greg Cartwright on upside-down guitar), and the Velvet Underground’s “Hey Mr. Rain.”  Then we repaired to the bar for a restorative drink and to listen to some Grateful Dead.

Our mini-tour of the ‘villes continues tonight in Knoxville.  See you there.

September 11, 2009

Best email we got yesterday was from our old pal Chris Guttmacher, former drummer of Cul de Sac and current man about Los Angeles:

“just bought popular songs …the reason i’m writing is that, as a fanatical collector/DJ of old reggae/ska/rocksteady records, it was a gas to open up the package and see the crystal records label design on the disc.

“this’s the obvious choice for your next one…or maybe for the condo fucks dub remix album:

“yes it’s real!”