Monday, February 11, 2008

"Smurf music": yet another tribute to Neutral Milk Hotel

No, I haven't shut up about it just yet. Sorry.

The music media's still celebrating the tenth anniversary of Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (as well they should...), and today Pitchfork put up this interview. When I first saw it, I thought for a second that it was a recent interview with Jeff Mangum and nearly fell out of my chair. It's not. It's from '97. But it's still interesting! The best part is toward the end (and please read the rest as well. Click on link above.), when the writer reprints a fax of Mangum's interview responses he found from a decade ago. Mangum didn't reproduce the questions when he responded, though, so they're answers without questions.
Here they are:

"Answers Without Questions: Jeff Mangum Interviewed via Fax Machine
by Mike McGonigal

The other week I found these sheets where Jeff Mangum had typed up a bunch of questions to answers that I'd sent to him. Number 45 is likely, "What's the last lie you told?," a question I asked a lot of people around that time. The faxed interview appears to date from in between the release of Avery and the recording for Aeroplane. He didn't answer all of the questions.
1. 25

2. My earliest memory is of going to the potty all by myself for the first time while my parents were out to dinner. I remember the difficulty I had of knowing whether or not I was doing it right and of wiping my ass a hundred times to make sure something awful didn't happen. Later that evening, I remember telling my mother of what I had done and she placed her hand on my head and told me how proud she was of her little boy.

10. Since 1983

11. Since 1989

14. My oldest living relative is Jefferson P. King who is 86 years old and lives in an extremely small Texas town with a player piano and an assortment of animals that are no longer living and most mornings when I would visit, I'd hear him in the other room talking to old photographs of the only girl he ever loved and who he married in the early 1930s. She passed away two years ago in a hospital in Dallas saying she was the descendant of an old world ruler of the planets and told the nurses not to fool around with her or she'd put a hex on them all. She was a sweet woman with a strong belief in angels and I'm sure she's on a cloud or in a baby carriage waiting for my grandfather to show up on the side that she now exists in.

16. For some reason my father seems to like the noise the best. He says it sounds like Buddhist monks chanting which I don't particularly understand, but I'm happy he doesn't hate it. It's a little embarrassing because my father is sending CDs to my aunts and uncles and I'm hoping they don't read the lyric sheet and get creeped.

22. The basketball game where you punch your opponent.

24. Chicago

25. I was a telemarketer in Denver spending most of my time with my phone disconnected or hanging around in the bathroom pretending to have had an upset stomach. Eventually I was physically thrown out of the place by my boss who didn't appreciate my appearance and for some reason seemed to think I was a drug addict.

27. That song by Faust about the banana.

28. I prefer for people to make up their own meanings to my songs and apply them to their life and relate to them the way that they choose.

31. I have pretty specific visions for the next two "pop" oriented albums, and then I'd like to just set up a little musical workshop somewhere and record whatever comes to mind. I'm also working on an organ-oriented album about a horse's life and his interaction with the other animals on the farm and in the end he gets sent to the glue factory and ascends to heaven. This particular one won't end up under the Neutral Milk Hotel name since it's a little ridiculous and some of it sounds like Smurf music.

32. We will soon be getting a little group together with Scott playing the guitar and hopefully baritone if we can dig one up and Julian playing his little French accordion, banjo, and air organ and Jeremy on the drums. We'll be traveling to Arizona soon to practice and we're hoping to come up with something we all like enough to take on the road.

33. The cover is an old photograph from 1910-- and unfortunately I don't think the photographer's name is known although I am researching it-- and the back cover is from the late 1800s.

45. I told my grandfather that his driving wasn't scaring me."

Three unrelated but enjoyable things:

1. Reggie Youngblood of Black Kids answers a ridiculous question for The Guardian

2. I'm not sure I ever posted this when it surfaced in the fall, but it's funny.

3. Grizzly Bear's MySpace. Enjoyable because in the spot where you can put forth a motto or favorite quote or album release or whatever (ex. "Because I said so..."), Grizzly Bear has simply declared "Yay!"