There was this summer a bunch of years ago when I was off from school, my parents were away, I'd just turned 21, my job was flexible (I was the ice cream man), and I first met certain people who would be in my life forever.
The year was 1995, and we spent many nights awake, smoking Camel Lights, laying in fields and golf courses, watching fireflies and listening to trains until the sky brightened and the sun rose. It was glorious. And the soundtrack to that summer was an integral part of it -- listening to that music takes me right back to that time. We'd sit up in my room and watch the light outside change until it was the same shade as the walls, listening endlessly to Sonic Youth, Pavement, Neil Young, Jeff Buckley, Jane's Addiction, Grant Lee Buffalo, Morphine, Luna, Sebadoh, Leonard Cohen, Smashing Pumpkins, Phish, Weezer, and Nick Drake. For my money, it doesn't get any better than Nick Drake.
But the music that's accompanied more ups and downs in my life than any other is by a dorky band of Jews from New Jersey called Yo La Tengo. Wherever I am, wherever I go, Yo La Tengo will always remind me of people and places and crazy, sad, euphoric, and truly remarkable times.
So last week I got an email from a friend who I'd met for the first time that summer, telling me she's interviewing Yo La Tengo for the music paper she writes for. We share the same feelings for YLT, so she asked me what kinds of questions she could possibly ask them without sounding like a sycophant. When you've made that much of an emotional connection with the music of people you've never met, it's virtually impossible to prevent yourself from coming across as a sycophant, as she truthfully pointed out.
I thought the best question might be to turn it around and ask them what kind of emotional connection they've made to music over the years. Who's made music that keeps coming back to them, what can't they stay away from, what songs meant the most to them in dire times and times of ecstatic liberation? It's a question I think most people can answer, so whoever's reading this, leave a comment. It's interactive time!
And Amanda, let me know what they say.