30 Is a Dangerous Age, Georgia (reprise)

For you late-comers, as Yo La Tengo draws ever closer to our 30th birthday, we’re taking a look at each day along the way. January 9 is the anniversary of one of our favorite stunts: new wave karaoke. Our pals at Tannis Root  asked us to contribute a song to their 1992 Planned Parenthood benefit compilation of new wave covers, Freedom of Choice, and followed it up in January with a benefit at CBGB. We opened with Hypnolovewheel’s  FoC offering, “Antmusic,” but otherwise played a regular Yo La Tengo set . . . until the encore. Armed with lyric sheets, we put out an open call to any audience member willing to sing any of the eight new wave songs we worked up for the occasion. (Joe Puleo had the unenviable job of stage managing.) If memory serves, our then-booking agent Bob Lawton led off with “Public Image,” and I’m pretty sure that all the other numbers were duets. I know Combustible Edison’s Michael Cudahy and Antietam’s Josh Madell took part, but I believe all the other singers were strangers to us (my apologies if I’m getting any of this wrong).  The repertoire: “Concrete Jungle,” “Cars,” “Warm Leatherette,” “Turning Japanese,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Dancing with Myself” and, most spectacularly, “Psycho Killer.” One of our singers on that last one made us all a little nervous with his dedication to craft, particularly when he suggested we play it a second time, and appeared none too happy when we declined. Well, it was for a good cause!