this afternoon we received an e-mail from Merge Records with a subject
line that piqued our curiosity: "Neutral Milk Hotel need your help to
save The Paragon Carousel."
The e-mail consisted of an
impassioned plea -- written by Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel and
the Music Tapes, and co-signed by elusive NMH leader Jeff Mangum -- to
save this historic landmark, a small carousel located in Hull, Massachusetts.
The fact that members of a legendary indie rock band were asking for
help for a cause like this was interesting enough. Second, Koster's
letter referred to the carousel as his "neighbor" -- and did that mean
he was currently living in Hull? And if so, did he know about With the Needle That Sings In Her Heart, the Amanda-Palmer led high-school musical based on his old band's classic album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea?
we needed to know more, so we made some calls and got him on the phone.
Our brief question and answer session follows, including a deliberately
vague quote about Jeff Mangum that nonetheless may strike joy into the
hearts of people who wish these guys would just reunite already. READ THE Q&A AFTER THE JUMP.