Wherein, as we run up to the 2015 CMJ Music Marathon, we shoot various participating Marathon artists the same eight questions and see what they have to say as they pack their bags in fevered anticipation of this year’s fest.
Today’s participant is Ezra Furman.
Describe your band in seven words or less.
Punk + soul + literature = freedom.
Have you received much regional press where you live? If so, what’s the best and worst things said about your band?
Plenty of fans and journalists have drooled over us and said nice things. I relish the occasional insults though. Someone wrote to a venue asking for a full refund. You can publish as much of this as you like:
“I had hoped to impress a woman friend from Evanston, by [sic] choosing a fun venue close to her home on a snowy night. But I wound up being genuinely shocked that SPACE or anybody would book Ezra Furman for anything other than a college house party with a bunch of rugby players who become giddy about hearing the word “F#$%” so oft repeated. Furman shows real talent when it comes to using this word so creatively. Verb, noun, adjective, adverb, whatever, he’s a real maestro when it comes to swearing in front of a paying audience. It must be comforting for him to know that when his songs? Fail [sic] to impress, he can reach deep into his trick bag and WOW the crowd with the showstopper of showstoppers, the old reliable F-Bomb. Wow didn’t expect that! In fact I am so shocked by his nervy insouciance, and that I almost didn’t notice that he only plays 8 chords. Obviously musical talent is subjective. So I will not argue that point. But to actually sell tickets to see this foul mouthed drivel is ridiculous. To pay to hear it is even worse. I resent that SPACE sponsored an act that ruined what was to be a fun night on the town and did not include any information whatsoever on their webiste [sic] about the vulgar nature of this show.”
Is college radio an influence on your local scene?
I suppose it probably is. I’m out of touch with the locals. I do like driving around Chicago late at night listening to the odd choices of college sophomores who have recently gotten into experimental music, or old weird blues or whatever it may be. Makes me want to make strange things.
Have you played CMJ Music Marathon before? If so, how was it? If not, what are you expecting from playing it?
We played in 2013. Played before that once or twice with my previous band, Ezra Furman And the Harpoons (R.I.P.). It’s always a little crazy. You squeeze yourself into some New York club at the last minute to a behind-schedule showcase. But I’ve always enjoyed it. New Yorkers like us. We pair well with a certain New York brand of insanity.
Are there other bands playing CMJ this year that you’re looking forward to seeing?
I do hope I get a chance to see Titus Andronicus. I’ve seen them at least thrice before, but I can’t get enough. Panda Bear would probably be great. But most of all I want to see one of the best New York singer-songwriters there is, Emily Einhorn.
What else, non-musical, do you plan on doing in NYC while you’re here?
I’ll be attending Shabbat services somewhere, having a few luxurious meals with other Jews. I still have to figure out where exactly, but I’m fairly sure it’s going to be the highlight of my week. Always is.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get back home?
Gotta keep writin’.
Anything random about the band you’d like to add?
We are the finest of all the bands. Every other band is trapped in some genre or in a bottomless pit of bad songwriting. We are free, we serve no masters, come watch us burn and glow.