Yo La Tengo was an indie band before the word even really existed.
Their first show, back in 1984, was at the now-closed Maxwell’s in their hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey. “It was terrifying, terrifying,” Georgia Hubley tells Kurt Andersen.
“The idea that people were thinking of us was almost inconceivable,” Ira Kaplan says of those early gigs.
More than 30 years later, Kaplan, Hubley and James McNew recall the anonymity of their early career. “One of the things about making a record is that you really don’t want to worry about how people are going to react,” Kaplan says. “I think we got so good at remembering how nobody reacted [in the beginning] that it’s very easy to find that spot with it again.”
Yo La Tengo performs the song “Double Dare” from their 1993 album “Painful” as well as the song “Shades of Blue” from their most recent album, “There’s a Riot Going On” from 2018.
Every week, more than 2 million listeners tune into our broadcast and follow our digital coverage like this story, which is available to read for free thanks to charitable contributions from listeners like you. But less than 1% of our audience supports our program directly. From now through the end of the year, every gift will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor, which means your gift will help us unlock a $67,000 challenge match.
Will you join our growing list of loyal supporters and double your impact today?