Anonymous asked: EZ-RA! Is there anywhere I can buy / listen to Beat Beat Beat? The only thing I can find is the version of "I Wanna be Ignored". Which is awesome! Yet I still thirst.
“Beat Beat Beat” (2006) is the first CD that Ezra Furman & the Harpoons made. We recorded our songs in dorm rooms and ordered a CD of it from a website. We got all excited. But then we went on tour and sold all of the copies of it (and I gave many away, which was a bad decision financially). So now I don’t know where any copies of it are. The tour (our first ever) was between Boston and Chicago, so I guess most of them are somewhere in that geographical range. Occasionally I will run into someone who has a copy and then I will feel a little bit embarrassed. The album is quite sloppy. However, it did get us signed to a record label when we gave it to a record label guy in Evanston, IL. Somehow. And that’s when my life derailed. Anyway, to find it you’ll most likely have to find someone who saw us perform in 2006 (a VERY small group of people) and held onto the CD (perhaps a non-existent group of people).
Just to be clear, “Beat Beat Beat” is very close to the same selection of songs as is our first “official” album (“Banging Down the Doors”). If you take pains to seek out “Beat Beat Beat” you will be taking pains to hear songs you’ve already heard, played and recorded considerably worse.
There is only one song on “Beat Beat Beat” that is not on our debut (“debut”) album, which is called “On the Road no. 22,” something I wrote together with original Harpoons guitarist Jahn Sood. This is a good time to mention that, although Jahn left the band in 2008, he has continued to write and perform great songs. His most fully realized work is a “folk opera” called “The Disappearing Man” which is a set of rather stunning songs about characters who run away from their broken lives to join a terrifying circus. It’s a real opera and it’s been performed onstage in a few cities. “On the Road no. 22” is actually included in “The Disappearing Man,” though the title was changed to “Old No. 22.” All of this is highly recommended. Check it out: http://jahnsood.com/theater/the-disappearing-man-2/
Anonymous asked: What is rock n' roll to you?
Rock’n’roll is a kind of music invented by black people in Chicago in the mid-20th century. It is probably my favorite kind of music. It is definitely the kind of music I most enjoy playing. Listening to it, playing it, thinking about it and planning my life around it have occupied a huge percentage of my time, particularly over the past eight years. I think at its best it combines nervousness, anger and joy into one indescribable feeling that is not fully mental and not full physical. You could also call it the combination of joy and frustration.
I read that Pete Townshend started smashing his guitar out of pure frustration that he couldn’t make it sound the way he wanted it to—it was loud but not loud enough, it was alive but not alive enough. He started to shake it wildly, as though trying to shake a bigger sound out of it, and he crashed it into the low ceiling of a club where he was performing with The Who, damaging the guitar. At that point he got so frustrated he purposely destroyed the instrument, in a surprising blaze of rage and glory. That act, as I understand it, is the essential feeling behind rock’n’roll.
Anyone who tells you “rock’n’roll is dead” is not working hard enough to find it. It is living underground. I have tried very much to get down there and join that community of people who play it. But it’s not so simple. It’s hard to tell when it will show its face. Some people who say that they play rock’n’roll do not actually play it. Some people find themselves playing it almost by accident. Sometimes you are listening to something that is not rock’n’roll and then all of a sudden, POW! It happens.
For more information than I could ever provide, listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75RiHJGfyUE
Anonymous asked: Is there anywhere one can listen to "Happy New Year" anymore?
Well, there’s this video: http://www.wnurfolk.org/2010/01/04/happy-new-year-ezra-furman-video/
This was at Northwestern U.’s radio station, mere blocks from my parents’ house. My hair was upsettingly long. I’ve got a face for radio.
It’s got a different verse (“The scene by the graves…”) from the usual version that I play, but listening to it now I think that may have been an improvement. I scrapped the verse because it wasn’t clear that I was talking about Hamlet, or what the fuck I was talking about. Such are the songwriter’s constant concerns. Anyway, hope this satisfies. I’m sure there are other versions around, I just don’t have immediate access to one. They’re not on the Internet but I definitely recorded the song and gave it to some fans as part of the Kickstarter thing I did. BLAH BLAH BLAH
Anonymous asked: Are you still in love with Kirsten Dunst?
Kirsten, if this is you, you need to stop contacting me anonymously. This has gone too far. We had something special, but it’s over now. Please respect that I need some time before we can talk again.
Sorry, everyone, that you had to see this.
Anonymous asked: i found this video of you on youtube singing "Wild Feeling" (tumblr wont let me post the link, what? lame). the caption says you had written it about 3 hours earlier, and I was struck by how similar that version is to the final version on the album. I can see from a lot of the music your posting here that you rework songs quite often, so I was wondering how often you just let a song be, or rather, how do you know when a song is complete?
Here’s the video you mentioned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5ydsnYTE9w
It was more like 24 hours earlier, but yes, that song was very fresh that day. I don’t know how to explain how I know when a song is complete. It’s done when I don’t hate it. Which is saying a lot for me. I hate all the songs I posted, pretty much. Don’t get me wrong, I also like them in some ways. But I hate them all, which is why I didn’t put them on records. Songwriting for me is a process of continual humiliation, of listening to what I’ve got so far and feeling great shame and disgust. But then I get to a point where I say, hey, that’s actually not so bad. And that’s when it’s almost done.
The ones I rework repeatedly are like bad boyfriends or girlfriends. You kind of hate them, but you’re crazy about them. You want to make it work. You’ll try anything. But sometimes it’s just not meant to be.
I’m not as promiscuous as I used to be, songwriting-wise. But it is one way to meet that special someone. If you get my meaning.