2005_08_decemberists.jpgWith each Decemberists album comes a continuous demonstration of subtle wit and perfectly polished lyrics intermingling with their unique brand of nautical indie rock. Nautical, because for whatever reason, we cannot listen to this band without picturing pirates, the high seas and fair maidens from other centuries being battled for. The leader of this maritime troupe, Colin Meloy, spins tall tales with lexical gold and we all wait with baited breath to watch it come together.

Their latest release Picaresque delivers gem after gem of epic songcrafting, making it one of those rare albums we can listen to straight through (and repeatedly, at that). If we were castaway on a desert island with only one band to listen to, we'd pick the Decemberists.

Recently Colin Meloy was kind enough to answer some of our questions.

Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate? Is it the month, the Russian revolutionary group...?
A little bit of both. 'Decembrist' is the accepted English translation of the Russian'Dekabristy.' We appropriated it by adding the extra E, which, in my opinion, made it a better band name. For whatever reason.

You guys always seem to have some unique group photographs, are they usually the idea of someone in the band?
We started doing that almost immediately. Our first photo shoot consists of a bunch of black and white shots of us standing around on the rooftop of a warehouse I once lived in. It was strange, boring and uncomfortable. I swore to myself that I'd never endure another such photo shoot.

Has there been any news on the stolen gear?

Some of it has trickled in -- a drum kit here,a guitar there. The case is still open, apparently, though we've all made an effort to move on.

What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Favorite: Running drunkenly through 3 feet of snow after playing a solo show at Fez last February,jumping in a cab with friends and watching the cabbie, who'd never driven in snow before, inch his way uptown through the empty, snow covered streets.

Least: Ending up in Queens for the second time in my life late at night after jumping on the wrong train. Not to say that I'm worldly or anything -- I'm not, really -- but I've ridden on many of the world's metro systems and I have to say that the NYC subway makes the least amount of sense.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York?
Favorite: NYC has some of the kindest, sweetest promoters in the world. No joke.
Least: NYC hotels are some of the smallest, scrappiest and most expensive in the world.

How does New York's music scene differ from other cities you've played?
I couldn't say. Seems pretty diverse, which is not what the mainstream media would have you believe.

Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action

"You know you've made it when..."
You quit your day job. I know that's not a funny or ironic or clever way to answer that, but I believe it's true. I just read an interview with Peter Buck and when asked how he felt about selling a gagillion records, packing stadiums around the world, have X amount of #1 records he responded, "The day that sticks in my head the most is the day I quit my day job."

It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when..."

Syd Barrett emerges.

I'll never forget the first time I..."
Read my first Tintin book.

"I'll never forget the first time [insert another band member's name here]..."

Chris Funk swore to abstinence.

And finally, lets have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you've got no discernable feelings, make something up that won't embarrass you in the morning)

Yankees
Sports.

Mets
Sports.

Britney
Harrison

Bridge & Tunnel
Fridge and Funnel

Times Square
THE LION KING!!!!!!!!!

Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
All for it/them/what?

Questions inspired by movies...

If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words).(Reality Bites)

I hate that movie.

What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
Liked the book okay, thought the movie was sentimental pap.

A few quickies on the music tip

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Bob Mould, Grant Hart, Greg Norton

If you released a 7-inch what would you put on the cover?
A disembodied finger.

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
Good question. I have no idea. I think I bought Sleater-Kinney's new record on the day of its release.

And finally...If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen recently have) would you?
FUCK YEAH

The Decemberists play Central Park Summerstage this Thursday to a sold out crowd. They'll be back, however, so check out their tour dates - they play Webster Hall October 4th and 5th.