There are but five Yo La Tengos

One of the perks of being in a rock band that you don’t hear about that often is that only very rarely is one called upon to submit a grant application.  Yet that’s just what we did in advance of our UK tour of May 2000.  A national arts council with money to allocate wanted to know what uniquely English thing we’d do with it.  Persuaded that our first concept, a rock opera starring Susanna Hoffs and Jamie Farr entitled Bangles and M*A*S*H, was a nonstarter, we decided instead to add a couple of Brits to the lineup.  We had done something similar in the U.S. in February/March with our friends, Mac McCaughan and David Kilgour.  But in this case, we went further afield.  It was hard to imagine what Neil Innes and Sonic Boom had in common, other than that we were fans of them.  (And in the case of Neil Innes, that’s an understatement–I had been obsessed with the Bonzo Dog Band since high school.  As much as I liked Monty Python, I went to their NYC live show strictly because Neil was part of it.)  A week into a European tour, we scheduled two days in London for intensive rehearsal before our show in Cambridge, on this day fourteen years ago.  The two-set performance ran close to three hours, with both Neil and Sonic singing a few of their songs (as well as us singing Spacemen 3’s “Walkin’ with Jesus” and the Bonzos’ “Ready-Mades”).