April 16, 2004

Hi everybody,

Well, here we are, springtime again. It’s nice. Here’s what we’ve been doing. Mostly we’ve been watching our Freaks & Geeks DVDs. Some of us were so caught up in Freaks & Geeks fever that they even went to see Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, and oy, such a mistake that was. To wish Jose Reyes a speedy recovery, we’ve all pulled our hammies. What else, what else . . .

At the end of February, we played as part of the Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall — and we weren’t even asked! We just showed up! We figured that’s how you do it. Kidding, of course. We did “Autumn Sweater” (Ira playing Philip Glass’s piano), “From Black to Blue” with acoustic guitar by M. Ward (on loan from Bright Eyes), and “Tears Are in Your Eyes” featuring the natty Mr. David Byrne on guitar and vocals. Not only did we fulfill the life-long dream of playing at Carnegie Hall, we also fulfilled that of sharing a dressing room with Keb’ Mo’. Namaste, bitches!

The next day it was off to the sunny, tropical United Kingdom. We spent two weeks on tour with the flabbergastingly great Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. We had a great time with them, and on the tour. Both bands celebrated St. David’s Day in Wales by playing “Rebel Rebel” together. Highlights included our first ever appearances in Cardiff AND Basingstoke! And meeting the Terraplanes and John Perry of the Only Ones! James bought the Thin Lizzy box set! We ate haggis! It rained a lot! Then we came home!

We got home and found out we had a book out. The highly-motivated staff at Map have devoted their Special Issue #1 to us! It’s filled with tons of info, exclusive interviews, reprints of old YLT Gazette stuff, a Gorky’s board game, photos, color reproductions of posters, a manga comic adventure, cut-out figures, and 2 super-color postcards of Jad Fair’s YLT portraits. Oh…did we forget to mention it’s all in Japanese? Well, it is. If you ever learned how to read Japanese, this could be the reason why. Or it’s a good reason to start, if you need something to do this summer. Check out mapup.net if this applies to you, or if you just like looking at things.

We got home and found out we had a new record out. Or at least a song on a record. It’s called The Q People: A Tribute to NRBQ, and we perform “Magnet,” sung by Georgia, with Lambchop/Calexico member Paul Niehaus on pedal steel. You’ve got to hear the Spongebob Squarepants track to believe it.

The next weekend we returned for our annual set on the beloved WFMU. For the ninth time, we took requests live on the air in exchange for pledges. Joined as always by the intrepid Bruce Bennett on guitar and vocals, we grappled with such requests as “White Light/White Heat,” “Hey Ya” and “Close to Me.” We were even joined by a few special guests — our own Leila Rosenthal Singers on “Build Me Up Buttercup,” and DJ Tom Scharpling’s velvety rendition of Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s The Night.” Thanks to everybody who called in — sorry if we didn’t get to your request (Larry from Summit, NJ, we owe you one), and most likely, sorry what we did to your request (Al from Edinburgh, Scotland, we definitely owe you one).

Now when we’re not listening to Air America, we’re rehearsing for some upcoming dates. Where, you ask? Check it out. We’re thrilled beyond belief to announce we’re bringing with us legendary NYC rock band Antietam, who’ll be promoting their first record in way too long, Victory Park (including Ira on “Chronicle of a Gift Horse”). Hope to see ya soon.

Go Knicks,