Feature: An interview with Galaxie 500 co-founder Damon Krukowski

from left to right: Dean Wareham, Naomi Yang and Damon Krukowski

An interview with Galaxie 500 co-founder Damon Krukowski
by David Chiu

Like all the great alternative rock bands that came before them, like the Velvet Underground, the late Galaxie 500 are probably more appreciated today compared to when they were together over 20 years ago. At a time in the late ’80s when pop music was at its most bombastic, with its preoccupation of style over substance (which hasn’t changed much today), or when indie rock was literally underground, Galaxie 500 was the antithesis of videogenic marketing or categorization. Their sound certainly owed much to VU, ’70s punk and avant garde musical stylings thanks to the band’s introspective, yearning lyrics; slow tempos; and jarring yet ethereal drone.

The history of the based-band dates back about 30 years ago when the three founders–guitarist/singer Dean Wareham, drummer Damon Krukowski and bassist Naomi Yang–were high school friends in New York. It was when they were at students Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. that they formed the band (they named themselves Galaxie 500 after the Ford model car from the ’60s).With producer Kramer (who can arguably be described as the fourth member of the band), Galaxie 500 recorded three extraordinary albums: Today (1988, an album that Sonic Youth); On Fire (1989) and This Is Our Music (1990). During that period, the group played in the U.S. and Europe (including an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival in 1990) while earning critical acclaim.

Galaxie 500 broke up in 1991, but over the time, their music has grown in stature–even Liz Phair cited the band in her song “Stratford on Guy” from her legendary debut Exille On Guyville. As if not to tarnish the memory of their former group, the members went on to other musical projects whose sound veered into different directions: Krukowski and Yang became the folk duo Damon and Naomi, while Wareham formed the group Luna.

But the legacy of Galaxie 500 lives on for both old and new fans to celebrate: On March 30, the band’s three studio albums were reissued after having been out of print since their last release on Rykodisc Records. They are now available domestically through 20/20/20, the label headed by Krukowski and Yang. What makes these new reissues unique than their predecessors is that each Galaxie 500 studio album is now paired with a previously released live or rarities compilation. Here are the following new configurations:

Today + Uncollected
On Fire + Peel Sessions
This Is Our Music + Copenhagen

NewBeats had an opportunity to speak with former Galaxie 500 co-founder Damon Krukowski about the reissues as well as the band’s music and aftermath. Continue reading “Feature: An interview with Galaxie 500 co-founder Damon Krukowski”