tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus Loves Puppetry, and Other Quirky Facts

Categories: Interview

I guess I can assume you're a fan of Yo Gabba Gabba?

You know, I've never seen Yo Gabba Gabba! That's really funny that you say that because you're not the first to suggest such a thing. We actually did these Arcade Fire shows and Kid Koala was opening with us, and I guess I didn't realize he had been around for Yo Gabba Gabba. [He went on tour with the show.] Yo Gabba Gabba has been following me around, but I've never seen it.

I think you'd really like it. It's right up your alley.

Well, now I'm gonna take your recommendation.

I read that you used to do puppet shows. I think that's really cool. Not a lot of people do that. What do you like about puppeteering?

It's funny, I think a lot of people do do puppetry, just no one knows where to see it because it's a really small world. I know so many puppeteers and a lot of them are ... I think the ones you see the most are TV puppets, shows on TV using puppets in that form. But I do look at companies that do puppetry as adult theater and that's something that people don't really talk about at all. Puppets are generally for kids and for silliness and funny things.

What I think is amazing about puppetry is you can use a puppet for really metaphorical things that human beings can't do. You can make a puppet stretch its limbs out to an absurd extent and the puppet can drop its foot off, the puppet can do these really super human things that lend themselves to, I guess metaphor is the word I would use. It's not as conducing as we as humans can't or wish we could [do] or horrified to think might happen to us. I think they're really interesting in that way.

That's really insightful. I like that. Some might describe your music as kind of ADD. Would you describe yourself as having trouble concentrating or getting bored with things easily?

That's a good question. I think I'm pretty focused, but I do think that maybe I'm aware of a lot of things at the same time. I think the world is complicated and maybe I like to reflect back my view of the world or how I'm experiencing the world or a lot of times in this day and age, that's pretty chaotic. I think that's more where that comes from, more than my inability to concentrate. It's more of that, of how I view the world.

That being said there's a song where I say "I never seem to focus on the task at hand" and I think that is often true. Maybe more in a bigger sense where, you know, while I was making this album I was OK, I'm a musician so I should be making music and in the middle of the day I would be like, "Why am I a musician, why am I doing this? What's the point?" that kind of losing focus when I start to question the whole thing.

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