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My Favorite Things: Yuck’s Daniel Blumberg on Silver Jews and Garlic


British four-piece Yuck’s hooky, ’90s-inspired guitar rock made them one of the biggest breakout stories of 2011, so we asked frontman Daniel Blumberg to tell us a little about himself. Here he dishes on the Silver Jews, his favorite knock-knock joke, and his love of garlic.

Favorite Song:
“Riding for the Feeling” by Bill Callahan. This is on the album he released earlier this year, Apocalypse, and it’s absolutely one the finest songs I’ve ever heard. Over his career he’s written so many songs that I could say the same for.

Favorite Album:
Starlite Walker by Silver Jews. This doesn’t get talked about too much because people tend to talk about American Water when they talk about Silver Jews. This is the best album though. The first song “Trains Across the Sea” has the same chords as our song “The Wall.” David Berman is my favorite lyricist ever; I love his book of poems called Actual Air.

Favorite New Artist:
Fanzine. I went to school with the singer Jock and always thought he’d do something great because he’s a great human. Now Fanzine are making really incredible music. Sometimes I question how biased I am, but then I hear yet another beautiful song of theirs and I find that difficult to believe. They’re very, very, very special songwriters. Listen to “Rocket Fuel”!

Favorite Joke:
Knock knock. Who’s there? Chris. Chris who? Crispy lettuce. © Saul Blumberg

Favorite TV Show:
Dekalog (or The Decalogue) directed by Krzysztof Kie?lowski. It’s 10 episodes, each an hour long, made for Polish TV. It’s sort of cheating because they’re basically 10 short films. But it was on TV so it counts and each one is incredible and beautiful and perfect.

Favorite Movie:
Naked directed by Mike Leigh. Apart from the rape at the start, I love the main character so much. I never really pay attention to actors but this must be one of the greatest performances ever. I’ve really enjoyed watching Mike Leigh films this year. They’re very British and I’ve been away from home so long that it feels a bit like going home when I watch them.

Favorite Food:
Garlic. If you eat it raw it does you good. I ate a lot in the van on one tour and everyone got really upset.

Favorite Drug:
Coffee. Because it makes me so happy. But not American coffee, sorry. Twin Peaks hyped me up for a major American coffee disappointment.

Favorite Way to Pass Time on the Road:
Probably reading. The van journeys are really long so it’s a nice void to fill with lots of books.

Favorite Book:
Sculpting in Time by Andrei Tarkovsky. This is basically a bible. He’s definitely the greatest filmmaker/artist/man. This book is his artistic testament, and he talks about everything ever.

Favorite Piece of Musical Gear:
I have an old Gibson LG (lady’s guitar) that I bought from one of [producer] Mark Nevers’ (Lambchop, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Silver Jews) former roommates in Nashville. I didn’t know much about guitars and only owned a terrible one before, but when I went to make this album he lent it to me and said if I liked it I could buy it. I had no idea if it was any good. It sounded nice but Mark makes all guitars sound nice. One day Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) came to the studio and started playing the guitar. He asked if it was for sale so I said straight away, “Oh dear, I was going to buy that.” If Kurt liked it then it must be good! After that, every time I saw him he asked if I needed to get rid of it. I always said, “HA NO!” But when I was in Nashville in February I went to see him play in this little diner and sure enough there he finally had it. I think he wrote the new Lambchop album on it. I wrote “Rubber” and “The Wall” with it.