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members present:
Damian Kulash

conducted on:
July 2002

by: Rocio Villalobos
official website
shout-out to PZO


PZO: For people who haven’t heard your music, how would you describe yourselves?
Damian: Uh, rock ‘n’ roll. Okay, you’re driving on a highway and there’s...it’s really too hot, kind of gross, and the person you’re with is smoking too much and you’re kind of disgusted by it, and then you notice that in the car next to you there’s someone just flying along in a convertible and is just like having the best time and their stereo is cranked; we’re on their stereo.

PZO: What’s your favorite 80s movie?
Damian: My favorite 80s movie...probably Pretty In Pink.
PZO: I like that one.
Damian: Yeah, it’s a really good one. And I love the soundtrack; it’s so awesome.

PZO: What’s one of the most embarrassing things that’s happened to you while you were onstage performing?
Damian: Well, I can’t think of anything embarrassing that’s happened to me onstage. This is sort of boring, but the most embarrassing things are just total equipment failure. One time we had a keyboard, like a sample, like a sampling keyboard completely lose all its memory and the drive, which we needed to load the stuff in, had broken. And we literally, as we went onstage, we learned that everything was broken and that it was going to take us about 45 minutes to an hour to get everything together. We were playing in this enormous college auditorium; it was a stadium basically. It held 6,000 people and there were like 40 people there; it was like this tiny show, and the poor suckers all had to wait for like an hour while someone went and got us a new disk drive. Which is not like that embarrassing, but it’s just kind of lame. Tim will probably remember something. <to Tim> Hey Tim!
Tim: Yeah.
Damian: Can you think of anything embarrassing that’s happened onstage?
Tim: Someone called me a fucking dork once.
Damian: Someone called you a fucking dork once?
Tim: Yeah, it was at a They Might Be Giants show.
Damian: Oh. Oh, but see, that was funny though.
Tim: I don’t think it’s funny. But of course he thinks it’s funny ‘cause he’s not getting called a fucking dork. Know what I’m saying?
Damian: Yeah, but it made for the best retort because I was like, I can’t believe a They Might Be Giants fan just called us dorks.
Tim: Yeah, right.
PZO: <laughs>
Damian: Of all people, you know? And the crowd loved that one; they went nuts because they’re like self-proclaimed dorks.
Tim: We don’t have embarrassing moments onstage.
Damian: <laughs> Yeah, we don’t really have embarrassing moments onstage.

PZO: Which other bands from the Chicago area do you think other people should check out?
Damian: The Lonesome Organist.
PZO: What kind of band is it?
Damian: He’s a solo artist who plays like, 4 instruments at once. Sometimes more. He’s a fucking genius; he’s unbelievable. He’s way better at all of his instruments than any of us are at our own, you know? He’s literally like, insane sort of genius and totally worth it. His records are good, but it’s so much...he really has to be seen live for you to understand how awesome it is.

PZO: If you had a choice, what time in history would you like to live in?
Damian: I’m not terribly un-fond of our own, actually. It’s hard for me to think of what I would enjoy more. Um, it might be kind of nice to live in like the Middle Ages, you know? Just like, in the deepest, darkest, historical pit and absolutely nothing happened and you could just sort of live in a hut somewhere and exist.
PZO: <laughs>

PZO: Do you have any pre-show rituals; anything you do each time before you perform?
Damian: No, we do...Tim and I and Andy just do vocal warm-ups, which are kind of funny ‘cause we always do them in our van and there’s always people walking into the show when we’re parked right in front of the venue, and so there’s always people...that’s probably the most embarrassing part of the show, actually. Just having people watch you go <starts making funny noises> in the van outside.
PZO: <laughs>
Damian: But there’s nothing else, really.

PZO: I don’t know if you guys have been doing that dance that I heard about...
Damian: Yeah, see, this is why we’re not embarrassed onstage ‘cause we purposefully embarrass ourselves. Like we do, we have that choreographed boy band dance. We don’t usually do that at rock shows though, we usually do that for like special, other events. We did that on tour with This American Life, which was nice. We got to do it on a Broadway stage. We do a scene from Les Miserables sometimes; there’s a rap that me and Tim have done occasionally and stuff. And all of those things would for most people be embarrassing, but the fact that we’re making fools out of ourselves is sort of the whole point of it. We’re not doing the dance tonight, though. There’s not enough room here. And it’s pretty...you kind of have to not be set up with instruments, you know? It requires a whole different scene.

PZO: Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
Damian: I don’t think I like, ranked them.
PZO: Well then one that you remember really well.
Damian: My very first, distinct childhood memory was my 4th birthday party in which I got like totally rebellious, like viciously angry because some other kid had opened my presents. And then, well he was like, “Look what I gave you,” and then started to open it, and then I was like you can’t do that, I’ve been waiting a year. And at that point a year was a whole quarter of my life, it seemed pretty...you know, like, I was really upset. And then starting from this, because I was on this plane already then any kid who wanted to use, there were like 15 kids from my pre-school that were at my birthday party and once you get the presents open everyone wants to play them, and then I had decided because I was so pissed off and jealous of this kid for opening my present that I wouldn’t let anyone play with any of my toys. Then my mom made me let them play and I remember the scolding and I remember having to watch all these kids play with my toys.
PZO: <laughs>
Damian: It’s a sad first memory to have, I think. That’s not a particularly fond one. I do remember vaguely from before that there was a chair that I used to stand on and look out my window and that’s a very fond memory, actually. But it’s not to a specific time; it’s just that I used to stand on it all the time. Most of my childhood memories are pretty embarrassing; I was a pretty embarrassing child. When I was like in 7th and 8th grade I really wanted to be a hip-hop dancer and I wore those patent-leather shoes with steel-toe on the outside, know what I’m talking about?
PZO: Yeah.
Damian: And did like routines to Kid and Play and Third Bass and stuff. It was...that’s embarrassing to think about and I spent most of high school with totally ridiculous hairstyles. I had bleached-blond dreads with copper winding in them and stuff and thought I was like totally crazy and I look back on this stuff and it’s sort of just cringe-worthy. But yeah, there’s my childhood for ya.

PZO: Have you chosen a name for the album?
Damian: It’s just gonna be called OK Go. <to mosquitoes> Stop biting me! It’s not fun for me. God, I’m getting shredded out here.
PZO: Yeah, they’re biting me too.

PZO: Are you planning on doing when the album comes out?
Damian: Yeah, we’re gonna tour. Tour like the dickens.
PZO: But nothing special on the day of...?
Damian: I think we’re playing in New York that day, so we’ll probably play like a midnight show the night before or something like that just for the fun of it. <sits on top of the table> Uh, and, sorry that I’m sitting up here, but I think that they like the floor better. I think we’re just having a record-release party in Chicago a couple of days later, so it should be fun.

PZO: What’s your favorite line from one of your songs?
Damian: "Mediocre people do exceptional things all the time."

PZO: If you could be any video game character, which would you be and why?
Damian: I’d be one of the dudes in Joust, you know, who gets to ride around on the birds. Just because I love Joust in general, and because flying would be fun in general, but being able to harness a bird and fly on it I think would be even more fun.

PZO: What’s your song "Shortly Before The End" about?
Damian: It’s about the end of the world.

PZO: You’re kind of close to the end of the tour; what have you enjoyed the most about it so far?
Damian: Well we have a keyboardist with us right now, and that’s really fun. Normally Andy, our guitarist, has to play all the keyboard lines as well and it can be a real pain in the butt ‘cause he has to do so many things all at once. But that’s kind of a lame favorite thing. What’s my favorite thing about the tour...um, well we got to go...in Birmingham, AL we got to go to a late-night karaoke place where Tim and I did a really drunken version of a Toto song. That was a lot, a lot of fun. I think that’s probably the most fun moment on the tour so far.

PZO: If you bought a personalized license plate, what would be on it?
Damian: It depends what car it was going on. See, I have a shitty little Geo Prism. I’ve never named it, like people always name their cars, because it’s just way too bland to even have a name. Tim and I have this rap group called Diamondz and we want to have tricked-out wheelchairs and if I had a tricked-out wheelchair maybe it would have my hip-hop name, which is Sir Airbag, on it. But usually you don’t put a license plate on a wheelchair, so I don’t know.

PZO: Which 4 musicians would form the perfect band when put together?
Damian: I don’t know. See I don’t usually think...you wouldn’t want the best of everything all at once. I mean, I have favorite singers and I have favorite guitarists and all that kind of stuff, but I think if they were put together they would be too...it would be a little difficult. It’s hard to find a better band than Queen, for instance. I mean, I suppose you could have John Bonham play drums for Queen and that might make it a little bit better. Or you could like...it would be pretty fun to see a collaboration between the Pixies and Prince maybe. But see, there you go again, none of them were particularly good at what they did, they were just an awesome, awesome band. I don’t think getting virtuosic musicians together actually makes a very good band. You wind up with things like Steely Dan or something like that. Not that Steely Dan doesn’t have some awesome songs, but...

PZO: What do you think is the best thing about your performance?
Damian: We just have a lot of fun.

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