Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Julian Koster In A Mansion

Photo: Ground Control Touring

Julian Koster - Jingle Bells (from The Singing Saw At Christmastime)

Funny story. My friend somehow got Julian Koster (of Neutral Milk Hotel, The Music Tapes, etc) to come over his place and play some Christmas carols last night. To make this as unconfusing as possible, my friend lives with his roommate on a state park that houses a mansion, which they have access to. Julian is doing a Caroling Tour where pretty much anyone can write him a letter and ask him to come play his singing saw. So my friend wrote him. And he came.

There was only about 8-10 of us there due to last minute rescheduling. Julian and his friend Neil knocked on the door at about 8:30, came inside, and we all did the introduction thing. We poured ourselves some hot chocolate, egg nog, and red wine, bundled up and headed over to the mansion.

We set up some chairs while Julian tuned his banjo and then he went right into this story about how Sylvester Stallone used to be a violin prodigy at 8 years old. Eventually, a song he wrote ended up being found in a hat at a thrift store by Ella Fitzgerald, who then popularized the song. Now, this story is completely fabricated (very well, I might add) and I had no reason to suspect that Julian Koster would lie to me. That, and the unfathomably surreal situation of me watching Julian Koster perform Christmas carols on a singing saw in a mansion made me not question his story even for a second. Turns out he was just setting the mood and my friends thought it was pretty funny that I believed him.

He played a few carols on the saw and he played a few Music Tapes songs on the banjo and finished off with a song on his tiny Magnus organ. It was a fantastic night, one that I'm likely never to experience again. Luckily, I videotaped the whole performance for your viewing pleasure. They only asked that I not put it online until the 17th. So wait a week and I'll give you all an early Christmas present.

Oh, and if you're hosting Julian and Neil sometime soon, Julian is a fan of cookies and Neil is really into cheese. Make sure you have some handy. They'll appreciate it.


Mike said...

This is so freeking cool! I wish I was there and I can't wait for the video. Meanwhile I searched Youtube and I found some clips of saws. Here is one which is pretty wild (especially the end):

Anonymous said...

is there a specific kind of cheese that neil prefers???

Justin Snow said...

Actually, there isn't a specific kind. He's just a fan of all cheeses.

Christine said...

There was no reason for you to question the realism of this story because your mother raised you to be a trusting person and unfortunately you've inherited her "gullible / naive gene" :o)