My Life with Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fandom


Now that James Dedman has outed me as a total diehard Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan (I have mentioned them before in other posts) I will now comment on what’s so amazing about the YYY.

I first became really aware of their music one night when P-dizzle and I were up at Chez Maman up in Potrero. He and I had showed up in the later evening and we were sitting there eating when this beautiful dark-haired Prosperina type entered the restaurant (which, to be truthful, is a glorified hallway with stools).

Being of the genetic disposition to find beautiful dark-haired Presperina types enchanting I waited until she ordered, assured she wasn’t waiting for a boyfriend to show up, and then invited her to join us at our table (she was alone).

We chatted a bit and started talking about Hollywood films and, invariably, Steven Soderbergh

This led to my (now-retired) “Soderbergh hasn’t done anything good since Sex, Lies and Videotape” (in my hyperbole I forget about “Out of Sight” and I must say that “Ocean’s 11” renewed my respect for him and renewed the caper film - in short, I was wrong.).

She asserted he was “indie” and I said he had lost it.

{anyone that is producing Dick’s A Scanner Darkly can’t be all Hollywood}

Well, whaddaya know, she had acted in one of his films, playing one of the infected victims in “Erin Brockovich”. So she, certainly, was in a much better position to know than your humble armchair film critic.

But she didn’t seem too put off and went on to tell me that she had just seen her brother’s band’s show just a bit earlier down the hill at Bottom of the Hill.

The girl? Meredith Zinner. Her brother? Nick Zinner. His band. The YYY. Fate had stepped in.

The next day I went down to Amoeba and picked up the YYYs’ “Master” EP. I loaoded it into the iPod and played it the next morning on my commute on the Caltrain.

The Master EP

Holy jhonka (apologies Strongbad)! I’ve never heard so much lo-fi libido in a song.

As far as I can tell, this EP was designed for one purpose: to inflame libidos wordlswide. Hell, the first line you hear on the album is “Bang bang bang, the bigger the better”.

It’s an art-school Janis Joplin, but instead of beguiling you, and weakening you, and delivering you a peace, love, and happiness-ing “come hither’ - Suzy O is filling Molotov cocktails and is prepared to beat you senseless, burn down your house, club you, and drag you back to her filthy west-side crash pad. When you hunger she’ll give you animal cookies, when you’re thirsty it’s brown water or beer (beer would be the better option), and rest assured, you will be … sometimes only the Dutch word works … vernietigd … turned to nothingness.

Here are the lyrics to Bang! (naughty talkings inside!).

And she’s not bi or gay or straight, she’s just an out-and-out-pure sexual dynamo. Her lines about the “Mystery Girl” are poetic and sensual:

the girl hit hot like a barracuda baby she floated on air like a crest of wave she was a primal instituation she was a danger to herself yeah … Not a day goes by i wanna disappear Into her eyes a mother pearl and my head feels dead with all this useless fighting But my heart aint dead cuz it keeps on loving

But at the end of this mini-opus EP on sex and art and NYC there’s an uplifting and daunting anthem to the generation in “Our Time”.

I was hooked.

Suzy O’s beer froth.

Famed for drinking incessantly, jumping around, spitting, swallowing beer frothing it and spitting it back out - Suzy O has all those dynamo, crazy, holy shit what is that girl doing on stage antics that make for a great show.

On the flip side, she says that she loves being onstage because her parents are coming out to see showws and she thinks it’s good for them.


Nick Zinner’s guitar work is stellar. For just one guy on the stage his guitar work is absolutely brilliant. So much noise and anger and sound. Such brilliant melodies. Such crushing noise. It’s similar in the density to Phil Spector and The Raveonettes.

Brian Chase’s four star drumming. His drums are hollow, powerful, precisely-hit. They anchor the entire sonic barrage that Suzy and Zinner deliver. Without it it would be noise beyond balance and containment but the drums, thos fabulous drums tell us where we are and give the air-element fresy the earth needed to stay in this sonic sphere we live in.

A few months later they released their full-length album and we continue to be amazed. It has touching songs like “maps” (which has an equally touching video to go with it!). More generational anthems like “Y Control” and a cadre of “Take off your clothes, light some stuff on fire, and worship Dionysus” hymns.