VAMPIRE WEEKEND - an interview with a fan
As a lawyer, a television producer and an entrepreneur, Michael knows what it means to be busy. This, for him, is why it’s ever so important to enjoy the simple moments with his kids. He finds solace in music, and he finds it important to enjoy music with his kids. He wants them “never to have a worry or a stress in life”. However, being of a logical mind (read: lawyer), he knows that he can’t protect them from everything so he will continue to teach his kids to take advantage of having the freedom to live the life they want.
In our conversation, he’s revisiting two different music-memories: the most memorable day of his daughter’s life and one of his own. One is a day of pure happiness and elation, while the other is filled with a mixture of emotions: fear and hope, anger and peace, isolation and community.
This was her first real concert. Lyla is a sponge for music. Whatever I play for her, she likes. Vampire Weekend, though, she especially gravitated to.
We're at the 13th Freedom Fest to see them. Lyla is 8 now. She was only 6 at the time of the show. She had been to a couple kiddie-concerts before. There were a lot of bands at the show, but we're here just to see Vampire Weekend. There were a bunch of other bands, but none that we cared about. There was MGMT...they were pretty cool. The Avett Brothers were pussies.
Vampire Weekend is Lyla's favorite band, and we had an opportunity to be front row, center. You don't always get that opportunity to be 5 feet away from a passion, so it's worth waiting for. It's a cold day; cold and rainy. She's a trooper and she's in it for the long haul. We’re soaking wet, warm, but drenched and excited. When she first got up front, there was a lot of screaming. There was a lot of screaming and dancing. Everyone up there was really nice too. All the other fans were very kind and moved out of the way. They even offered to help hold her so she could see. She just wanted to sing and dance and have fun. She said, not that it was the best thing she's ever seen, but that it was the best day of her life. She's generally a very happy kid, but I can actually believe that this was maybe, just maybe, the best day of her life….her short, 7-year old life.
I think [Vampire Weekend] have a unique sound, and great lyrics. They've evolved a lot as a band over the last 5 years. They've gone from sort of pretentious, Ivy-league kids, to, legitimate rock stars. They seem real and approachable and there's nothing fancy. No bullshit. They just love music, and they're super-talented at it. Seeing them live is what it's all about. I like what they do on stage. I like the music that they send out. I like their image.
My first concert ever….well, my parents took me to some bad stuff. The first one I remember going to on my own, was Huey Lewis and the News. We went to the old Capital Center. I was 14 or 15. We had a friend with an older sibling who could drive. That was it….that was where it all started. It’s where my love of music was ignited.
It just fills in the empty spaces, you know. You're driving in the car, there's music. You're shopping in the store, there's music. I think slowly, it takes hold of you and you learn to respect the talent. And you need that color, that filler. Certain songs make you think of certain times and certain days, and...music can enhance or decrease your mood. Or it can create your mood. It's just amazing. And I wish I had talent for it….but since I don't, I'll be a consumer of it.
I have an eclectic taste. I think any music-lover would say that about them. My top 5 list of musicians is an evolving list. Permanently, and right now, it’s My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, uh...Springsteen is always hovering in there somewhere. What else am I listening to a lot of these days? I really like Silverspun pickups...um, and I don't know. There's always a spot for some rapper...these days it's been Eminem…..going old school with Em.
I'd love to see a show at RedRocks, but I never have. So, my favorite place to see a show is probably the 930 Club. There are a lot of good memories there; I've seen some amazing shows. It's a comfortable space and the sound is great. It's local, authentic. I don't have to get on the road and go to Philly or New York.
I saw Wilco at the 930 Club, about 10 days after the September 11th attacks and it was like the first, kind of, group-social thing I had done. You know, being in a large group of people and everybody was sort of in the same boat. It was just this really cool energy. You could feel that everyone was bonding by being in this big space together unafraid. For the last week, you had been afraid to be alone next to anyone...scared that they could have a bomb strapped to their back. You were untrusting of everything. It was their Foxtrot tour. While most of that album was recorded well before 9/11, a lot of those songs had a resonance about the attacks. So, that's a show, and a day, that I'll never forget.
On 9/11: I had just taken the bar. I was a week away from starting my first law job, so I was just dicking around in my apartment in Arlington; I lived a mile away from the Pentagon. I don't remember where I had to be that morning, but I know I had to be somewhere, so I had an alarm clock set. It was set to Howard Stern, so I woke up listening to Stern, right after the first plane hit the first tower. Everyone thought it was a commuter plane, a little small plane hit the tower and there was a little smoke. I turned on the TV right away, and immediately saw the second plane plow into the other tower. And even then, they still didn't think it was terrorists. They were saying the 2nd plane must've gotten lost in the smoke of the first crash. They were saying, 'this is crazy, a tragedy'. But no one had any idea to the extent of it all. And then it all went to hell. This is the most vivid memory I have of my life, I think.
I want my kids to understand that there are bad people in the world and that they could hate us for no reason. But that’s no reason to live in fear. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a national and world level, or on an individual basis. I want them to live the life they want, no matter what other people say.
We can't worry about [other people’s beliefs]. We have to live our lives, and enjoy it. We have to live every day like it's our last. Enjoy life. Enjoy music.