PHAWKER: Have you ever been arrested? If so please explain.
MATTHEW FREIDBERG: Well rested, mostly. A-rested, rarely. Explain what?
PHAWKER: Never mind. Have you ever knowingly killed anyone? If so please explain.
MF: I read in an email very much like this one that we were just killin’ it every night cross Europe. Maybe you can explain that. Knowingly?
PHAWKER: What was the last book you read?
MF: Too personal.
PHAWKER: Wow, that must have been some book! Okay, last album purchased? Was it worth it?
MF: Dizzy Gillespie Y Machito Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods. Worth it? Of course not. What kind of idiot pays for music? In fact, it’s a waste of time to even download music for free. You should just read what some dipshit on the computer writes about it. That’s all you need.
PHAWKER: Good one, Matthew. James Brown and Johnny Cash are alone on a plane that is about to crash. There is only one parachute, which one would you give it to?
MF: Doesn’t matter. They’re both already dead.
PHAWKER: That’s cold. Patti Smith or Debra Harry? Marky Mark or the Funky Bunch?
MF: Never heard of those people. But can a Bunch use just one parachute?
PHAWKER: Good point. Now, be honest, what was Rough Trade’s reaction when you told them Rehearsing My Choir would feature your grandmother on lead vocals?
MF: They said ‘great’ and then wired the money.
PHAWKER: I LOVE that story! Do drugs help the listener ‘crack the code’ of impenetrable, shape-shifting 10-minute epics like “Quay Cur” and if so, which drugs and would you be willing to share?
MF: The songs always say what kind of drugs you’re supposed to take when listening to them. They’re not just lyrics, they’re instructions.
PHAWKER: Well, that explains a lot. Do you believe in God?
MF: You know what they say. Don’t believe. Leave be. That’s what they say.
PHAWKER: Right. What is the best thing about being in a band with your sister?
PHAWKER: Ouch, babe. What is the worst?
PHAWKER: When was the last time you saw your sister naked?
PHAWKER: Never? Weird. Is it true that David Byrne is going to cover “Ex Guru” from the new album for a Thrill Jockey anniversary box set? Do you remember where you were and what you were doing — and for that matter how old your were and what you were wearing — the first time you heard JFK was shot the Talking Heads? Or have you never heard of the Talking Heads? If you could change one thing about the Talking Heads, what would it be?
MF: Yes. Never heard of ’em. They’re from Paraguay, right? Cool. I’m sure they don’t need changing. They got it under control.
PHAWKER: If you could change one thing about the Fiery Furnaces, what would it be?
MF: Good question. That they would have more hits/email interviews.
PHAWKER: According to Google’s trend-crunching thingee, which somehow measures The Fiery Furnaces popularity in major American cities (CLICK HERE TO SEE RESULTS), Philadelphia ranks number 8., just ahead of Seattle and right behind Minneapolis. Is that your fault or ours?
MF: “Ours”? You speak for the city of Philadelphia? Very presumptuous.
PHAWKER: I think I have just as much right to speak for Philadelphia as you do for the Fiery Furnaces, maybe moreso. At least I can say I’ve seen a number of my fellow Philadelphians naked. But back to my question, how can we improve our ranking? I would really like to see Philly in the Top Five of Fiery Furnace-likin’ American cities. Any suggestions?
MF: Thank you for asking and that’s very nice. But I think all you need to do is type the name of the band over and over again into the Google “thingee.” [As told to JONATHAN VALANIA]