Filed Under:

The Magnetic Fields: 'Out Late At A Bar, Writing A Song'

For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.

In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.

"I sit around in gay bars and write with a cocktail in one hand, and a pen in the other, and a notebook in the other," he says.

In fact, some songs on the band's new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, stemmed specifically from Merritt's nights on the town.

"I woke up one morning and saw that my car was not in the driveway," Merritt says. "And I thought, 'I must have left the car at the bar so I wouldn't kill anyone on Santa Monica Boulevard.' So I looked in my song notebook, and there was [the song] 'Andrew in Drag.' And that's all I know about the writing of 'Andrew in Drag.' "

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Zero K' Freezes At The Edge Of Immortality

In Don DeLillo's new novel, a billionaire secretly funds an enterprise aimed at preserving people through cryogenics — a technology he hopes to use to rejoin his already-frozen wife.
NPR

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.
NPR

David Cameron's Former Advisor Wants To Revamp The U.S. Conservative Movement

British political operative Steve Hilton tells NPR's Scott Simon what he thinks the conservative movement needs both in the U.K. and the U.S.
NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.