Pete Yorn to be wild
November 8, 2006
While some musicians slowly work their way into the spotlight, Pete Yorn burst out with a debut that went gold and a second album that sold more than 300,000 copies.His third album, “Nightcrawler,” completed the “Day” trilogy this year, following “Musicforthemorningafter” (2001) and “Day I Forgot” (2003). About a third of Yorn’s material for each performance – including tonight’s at Belly Up Aspen – comes from his latest album. He doesn’t play from a set list; rather, he just goes with the flow and listens to the crowd. “I’m playing with a great band,” Yorn said by phone from Memphis, Tenn. “We feel each other, feel the room, we get out there and the set just kind of creates itself as the night goes on. If I feel that the room needs to get kicked up, I’m like, ‘All right, we’ll do some more upbeat songs.’ At the same time there are nights when I’ll go on my own trip.”
The New Jersey native attended Syracuse University, where the winters are dark and cold. So he stayed inside and picked away at his guitar. “It’s right off Lake Erie,” Yorn said. “I would just sit in my room and write song after song after song. I figured I might as well take a stab at it. Senior year I felt like I was just biding my time. I went back to Jersey after I graduated. Then I packed my bags and moved out to California.”Yorn quickly earned a following through his performances at Cafe Largo in Los Angeles. There, Bradley Thomas, producer for the Farrelly brothers movie “Me, Myself & Irene,” caught the show and asked Yorn to send along some songs. They ended up using “Just Another” and “Strange Condition” in the movie. It was the first national exposure for Yorn, so perhaps the move out West paid off.”I knew for sure I wanted to move out there,” Yorn said. “I had this romantic ideal of California and the West. I wanted some sun after the crappy winters in Syracuse.”Yorn wasn’t always so successful with playing guitar, however. He had to take lessons while attending public school in New Jersey.
“There was a mandatory music class in seventh grade,” Yorn said. “It was guitar class. You open up the cabinets, and there were 40 guitars. You’re like ’40 acoustic guitars, holy shit.’ Everyone had their own guitar.”Yorn got a D in the class. He said he was more interested in playing drums at the time, so he would just fiddle around with bass lines and refused to learn any chords.”It was weird how I didn’t gravitate toward it until afterward,” he said. “My mom had a couple of beat-up old acoustics that were left over from her hippie days. They had a few strings left on them. At one point I strung one up and sort of learned that way.”Soon after that, Yorn wrote his first song, “The One.” “I was really into the Cure at the time,” Yorn said. “It sure as hell sounds like the Cure. As soon as I learned chords, that’s when I started. The guitar thing was a crossover from drums. I immediately started writing songs, sometimes three a day.”Ever since his first album came out, Yorn has been touring the country. Tonight is his first time in Aspen, and he said he’s excited to play a show in the mountains.
“I’m a road dog,” he said. “I’m road-doggin’ it. My favorite part is playing shows. There is a lot of idle time during the days. The best part is shows.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.