This week I posed the questions over the phone to Seth Meyers, head writer and Weekend Update anchor at Saturday Night Live, who is spending his week off from the show doing three stand-up shows, including one at the Paramount Theater tomorrow, January 31. Meyers professed to be scared of the Reverb Questionnaire: "I should have prepared for this. I will say that you inherently get nervous when you have to answer questions about music from someone who is a Seattle writer. I can feel my throat closing." We think he did a fine job answering the Questionnaire, plus some extra questions thrown in for fun:
What music have you been listening to today? Did you like it?
I've been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons. And I liked it, yes, because it did not happen randomly. I was the one who put it on. I liked their last album a lot. There are bands that come on our show and then you sort of hear them and you get to hear them rehearse, and it's kind of very exciting. And they just tend to find their way onto your iPod afterward. I think the Lumineers, now, the same thing will happen, because I really enjoyed them this week.
What's your favorite band you've seen on SNL?
Well, I really love Wilco. I think it was 2008, 2009 they were on, so I'd been on the show for a long time, and I kind of in the back of my head was like, "I will be so excited when Wilco's finally on," because they were my favorite band in college. That was really exciting for me. But you know, it's hard not to get excited when someone like Bruce Springsteen's on. People like Rihanna are always great because they always do something crazy with the format, which I actually appreciate.
What's your preferred method for listening to music (iPod, car, home stereo, etc.)?
We have a record player, and it was really exciting when we got one, and we bought a lot of stuff on vinyl, and it was really exciting. And now we've kind of just switched to the easy sort of playing off our computers.
When was the last time you heard "Stairway to Heaven"? Did you turn it off?
It's on my iPod. It's a song I like to listen to on a jog. When you think about it, it has the perfect ending, for a running song.
Do you play an instrument?
I don't. The closest I came was two or three saxophone lessons in middle school. I feel like that last question, I made it seem like I listen to "Stairway to Heaven" a lot. I don't know. If I heard it wouldn't like drop everything. I feel like I made it sound like that's my closer.
Do you still listen to anything you were listening to in high school? If so, what?
My mom is a big Bruce Springsteen fan, but I didn't really discover him until high school, and I still listen to Springsteen a lot.
Did you get to meet him when he played the show?
I did, I've met him a few times.
What did he say to you?
Probably just like "hello." This is embarrassing to say, but he was less excited to meet me than I was to meet him. But I will say there are people like Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney, and Derek Jeter is another example, who are people who understand how important they are to people in a way that is incredibly noble and impressive. They're just the kind of people that everyone wants to meet, and over time they've just become aware of how important they are to people, and so they're just so polite and patient in a way that really stays with me.
Do you have that sense about yourself?
Well, I'm a little more famous than them, so it's a little harder for me. No, I do try to keep that in mind, I think that I am very polite and patient with people. There are times, obviously, as with all us, when you might not be in the perfect mood to take a picture with someone while their grandmother tries to figure out how their iPhone works. In those times, I try to remember that Derek Jeter was patient, and he's really good at baseball.
What was the first band/artist you saw in concert? Would you see them again?
The Pointer Sisters. Dead serious. It was in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was the "Jump" tour, whenever that was a song, or "Neutron Dance." I want to say I was probably eleven. I don't think I would see them again. I don't go to a lot of concerts, so I can't imagine spending one of my concerts on a Pointer Sisters reunion tour.
What was the last band/artist you saw in concert? Worth your time?
I was at that 12.12.12. Sandy relief concert. Me and Bobby Moynahan did a comedy bit, but I would say it was probably a mistake to try to do comedy that night. It was like after the Who and Kanye West, and it was like, "And now some comedy before the next rock legend!"
But I bet you got a good reception.
I wouldn't say we did, but I thought we managed to get through it. I feel like we confused the audience, as to our hubris in thinking that comedy was the right thing to be doing. Bobby plays Drunk Uncle on Weekend Update, which is a really fun character, so we thought, "Oh we'll just do that, that'll be fun." The stage was not miked for comedy. People were confused. But, look, it was for a good cause.
When you sing karaoke, what's your go-to number?
That Killers song, "Human." That's my go-to song. I'm a terrible singer and I'm bad at karaoke, but I like that song and for whatever reason, it's like a friendlier register for me. I have to be drunker than I like to be to actually agree to sing karaoke. There was an SNL karaoke after-after-party at like 6 a.m. where me and the other head writer were doing a pretty lousy rendition of "Piano Man." It was bad enough that we couldn't get people to sing along to like the friendliest sing along song of the last 50 years. People were appalled to the point of not joining the chorus of "Piano Man." It's hard to do.
How do you feel about ABBA?
I don't feel much about them one way or the other, but I will say that they have like eight great songs. That's a lot. The problem is, six of them sound like the same song.
Have you seen that movie The Trip, with Steve Coogan? There's that great scene where they're singing that ABBA song together.
Yeah, I have. ABBA songs are great. I never saw the ABBA movie. What's that ABBA movie?
Yeah, I never saw that. I want that on the record.
What is the last song you want to hear before you die?
I think "Thunder Road" would be a really good last song to hear before you die. "This is a town for losers/We're blowing out of here to win." That's a very good sentiment to leave Earth. You dummies!
Please share a favorite musical moment/story from your past.
My girlfriend's family is like professional-league karaokers. And there was a family summit on Labor Day, with both families together. And my family, I would say, are the kind of people that look down their noses at karaoke as a waste of time. And yet, at some point, the four of us, the Meyers family--mom, dad, brother, and I--was on stage singing "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye.
Did you bring the house down?
We built the house. What's the opposite of bringing the house down? We constructed a home.
Were the professional karaokers impressed?
They were happy we did it, the way like when children do a short play during Thanksgiving dinner. Like, "That was wonderful! Go to bed."
That's it. That's the Reverb Questionnaire. You did it.
All right, great. I think I did OK. Should I mention Nirvana a couple times, or do you think I'll be OK? Just throw it in a few times, editor's discretion.
Seth Meyers is at the Paramount this Thursday, January 31. The show is all ages, starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $36.