Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Imaginary Interview Quotes That Make My Heart Burst Will Sheff / Okkervil River (December 2003) Tegan Quin / Tegan & Sara (October 2004) Rhett Miller / Old 97s (October 2004) Cinerama and the Wedding Present / David Gedge (November 2003 / March 2012)

Did you hear the news? June 2018 marks Three Imaginary Girls’ 16th birthday! We’re throwing a big New Wave Night party that will be imaginary to the max {performances with a live band, karaoke, a DJ dance party, a photo booth, and more!!!}. Please please please join us! {all the details}

All this celebration {and planning there of} has us waxing nostalgic about our favorite imaginary moments. Some of those moments include having some really funny and interesting conversations with some really talented and brilliant people {LIKE YOU!!!}.

Each imaginary interview has a special place in my heart and still leaves me shaking my head in disbelief that I even slightly held it together enough to form full sentences around those who happen to have written some of the best songs of all time. Here are some of my most memorable interview moments {in chronological order}:

{1} Will Sheff / Okkervil River (December 2003)

It only took one spin of Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See by Okkervil River (thanks to my then-dayjob-officemate / now imaginary staffer Andy Bartlett) for me to fall in love. So in love that I was convinced there was no way that this brilliant band would ever play Seattle (at that time in my life most of my favorite bands lived far away and/or never toured). The day I found out that they’d be at the Crocodile was like I won the lottery. And then when Okkervil River lead-dude, Will Sheff, agreed to meet up for an interview before the show it was like I had won the lottery and… got to interview Will Sheff. He was just as eloquent and disarming as his songs make him out to be and the show made my heart sour as high as I had dreamed. {read the full interview}

My favorite part:

[quote]Liz: And so was being a musician and going on tour and not having a fancy computer and all that stuff… is that what you were most frightened of?

Will Sheff: I am actually, scared of doing all this shit! I have had relationships that have come to messy ends because of being a musician. I’ve had to justify myself to a great many people. I’ve had to work really shit jobs so that I can tour. I don’t have money, I don’t have insurance. Health problems are sort of scary. Security is pretty scary. And I guess my number one fear is to do all that stuff and have it all come to nothing and wind up being a 44 year old burnout working at McDonalds. Something like that. But you know what? If it is important enough for me to do this, then that is ok with me and that is what I will do. I just think the most important thing is to believe 100% in what you are doing and be wiling to make those kinds of sacrifices.[/quote]


{2} John Flansburgh / They Might Be Giants (August 2004)

My head still spins when I remember how it all went down. At SIFF 2002 I saw the TMBG documentary Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns and it was one of the highlights of my life. A couple weeks later an email from John Flansburgh arrived in my inbox. I was stunned into not responding for a month. The only excuse I had was that coming up with a worthy response was too much for me to contemplate. I emailed back, a phone chat time was set up, and we ended up having an hour+ long incredible conversation. I transcribed the whole thing because there was not a single JF nugget that could be edited out. {read the full interview}

My favorite part:

[quote]Liz: We went with the name because of the Cure song and album, Three Imaginary Boys.

John F: Oh… OK. You could have called it Pornography and you certainly would have gotten more hits. [/quote]


{3} Tegan Quin / Tegan & Sara (October 2004)

We met up with Tegan at Mr. Spot’s Chai House in Ballard (RIP) on the afternoon of their Seattle show. For someone who was only a couple years into her super star career and just about to rocket onto most everyone’s conscious with searing songs like “Walking with a Ghost” *and* becoming a prolific social advocate – she was so open and kind. As with her songs, there’s no room for pretense or ego – we left the interview feeling like we had just chatted with a new BFF. {read the full interview}

My favorite part:

[quote]TIG: When was the last fight you and Sara got into?

Tegan: Oh, about an hour ago? {laughter} She’s been in a fucking terrible mood all day. She borrowed a bag of mine and I told her “I want my bag back. Put your shit in that broken rolly suitcase…” Fight ensued because she believed I was giving her attitude and that I’d been patronizing her all day. I told her she’s been in a bad mood all day and she said, “You’re in a bad mood all of the time.” And then I asked her for a shirt or something and she said “If you fucking ask me one more thing, I’m going to fucking punch you in the face,” and I said, “If you touch me, I’ll throw you into traffic and I’ll punch your fucking head in” or something like that. And our manager was like “Ok girls, take some time apart.” And I was like “Yeah, that’s right.” {laughter} [/quote]


{4} Rhett Miller / The Old 97s (October 2004)

The world needs more Rhett Miller. Thankfully he seems to love Seattle as much as we love him. He keeps adding to our record collection with new releases every few years{with the Old 97s or as a solo artist}. And why do we love him?

1) I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t want to listen to Too Far To Care on repeat.

2) The fella is a class act who writes amazing songs. He exudes a kind charm that makes everyone in the room feel significant and loved. And to meet him in person and chat eye to eye, he’s just as electrifying.

We jumped at the chance to meet him for an interview backstage at the Showbox before a show. We brought Top Pot doughnuts, homemade rum balls, and a lot of fangirl energy. I’m pretty sure he gets that a lot – and yet he knew how to interact with our effusive sugar and fandom highs without an ounce of disdain or exhaustion. He surpassed how wonderful and funny and kind we had expected to be. And when we asked him to pose for a photo to accompany the interview, he did not disappoint. If only every frontman/woman could go to the Rhett Miller School of Rock Stardom, the world would be a better place.

Our interview with Rhett isn’t all that “informative” and reading back through it I think the main thing you should be impressed with is how well we held it together and no one did anything we are embarrassed of now. Who needs deep insights when we were just trying to not scare Rhett with our super fandom?

If you want to hear a really great interview with Rhett (which is why you’ve made it this far in this blog post, right?), go listen to Marc Maron’s WTF interview with Rhett Miller – that’s actually the one you should take note of (that is, after listening to Too Far To Care on repeat). {read the full interview}

My favorite part:

[quote]TIG: begin the interview by passing out a box of Top Pot doughnuts and rum balls.}

Rhett: This is the place I went this morning and had the apple fritter!

So does that mean you guys are staying near Top Pot or did you just hear about it last time? (that’s not a weird question, right?)

Rhett: We’re staying at the Ramada. This morning I started to go to some little breakfast place across the street and then looked over and saw that huge window on the front and thought “that looks good”… plus they spell it right, with a ‘gh’-doughnut-and it’s got “pot” in the name![/quote]

That time we had dinner with Sean Nelson and John Roderick at Morton's Steak House. Photo: Brian Teutsch
That time we had dinner with Sean Nelson and John Roderick at Morton’s Steak House.
Photo: Brian Teutsch

{5} Sean Nelson / Harvey Danger • John Roderick / The Long Winters (July 2006)

You have probably heard the story about how the Three Imaginary Girls origin story involves a Long Winters show (it’s a good one!).

Not only that, it’s a safe guess that – in total – Long Winters / Harvey Danger / John Roderick / Sean Nelson mentions make up a sizable amount of TIG’s content. It was only a matter of time before we published an official interview with John Roderick and Sean Nelson and that it would be in the form of us eavesdropping on a conversation between Sean Nelson and John Roderick at Morton’s The Steakhouse. This wouldn’t be our last dinner with Sean Nelson and/or John Roderick – but sadly it’s the only one that made it to print.

The occasion for the dinner convo was that The Long Winters and Harvey Danger had separate releases hitting stores the same day: The Long Winters’ Putting the Days to Bed (Barsuk Records) and Harvey Danger’s Little by Little… (Kill Rock Stars). {read the full interview}

My favorite part:

[quote]Sean: You know that when you were talking about Nabil (Ayers) coming into the band, at first I was like “Gee, really? Are you sure?”

John: (imitating) “The nicest guy in Seattle rock? Why would you want him in your band? He’s gonna upset the balance.”[/quote]


{6} Cinerama and The Wedding Present / David Gedge (November 2003 / March 2012)

You can imagine my surprised delight when I found out one of my favorite British musicians moved to Seattle (for a short time back in the aughts). The campaign to set up an interview with him ensued shortly thereafter. When he agreed without much fight, I was even more surprised and delighted. We met at the Elysian (in Cap Hill) and there were moments that felt like I was living in my own Wedding Present song. David Gedge is the fella whose poetry has repeatedly helped me get back on my feet after staggering heartbreak and empowered me to love (and hate) again. The Wedding Present was a favorite of John Peel, so an added bonus is that now I’m a closer degree to John Peel. {read the full interview}

We met again at a Cupcake Royale (in Cap Hill) to chat nine years later in November 2013. This time, the nervousness was gone and we had a lot more fun. It was comforting to know that one of the greatest songwriters of our generation also has some challenges when it comes to impressing his parents. {read the full interview}

My favorite part:

[quote]Liz: Have you been in the audience for any game shows or talk shows?

David: Funnily enough, yes… I took my parents to see The Tonight Show while we were in L.A. and I think they were impressed because one of the guests, Patrick Stump [from Fall Out Boy] specifically came out of the green room to come and say hello to me. He did a cover of a Wedding Present song… “My Favourite Dress” for a video project organised by the Onion Magazine in Chicago… so it was nice to meet him.[/quote]


And these are just the tip of the iceberg of hundreds of “insightful” interviews Imaginary staffers have done over the last 16+ years. We’ve even had the pleasure of our favorite bands interviewing their favorite bands!

As I look back on them I have so many favorites there are too many to list here. But have no fear, you can/should view them all here! (prepare to be stunned)

Imaginary Interviews That Make My Heart Burst - Jason Priestley Jason Schwartzman Kevin Bacon Nikki Monninger of Silversun Pickups


Here’s a completely incomplete quickie list of other TIG interviews that give me warm-fuzzies just thinking about: