Most comfortable in old t-shirts and a pair of jeans, Pete Yorn has an unassuming presence and can easily pull off the rumpled “just out of bed” look. Rather than looking unkempt, he manages to look mysterious and sexy.
Underneath it all is a laid back attitude and someone who wants to make sure he stays grounded even in light of his fame (expressed on the song “Come Back Home”). It still excites him to see his tour bus pull up!
He may have two brothers who are very well connected in the entertainment industry (one is a high-level talent agent and the other is an entertainment lawyer), but don’t think that’s how he got to where he is. He has worked hard to become a respected musician.
Growing up in New Jersey, he began playing drums at age 9 and by age 12 was also playing guitar. In 1990, at Montville High School, he performed in the school’s talent show playing drums and singing in a band which, suitably, covered The Replacements’ song “Talent Show”. When another band heard his performance, they were so impressed that they asked him to lend his expressive vocals to their band as well on Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”. He agreed and they ended up winning the competition.
After high school, Yorn went to Syracuse University and majored in Communications without the intent of pursuing a career in music. The pull of his musical passion was too great and after graduating, he moved to L.A. at the age of 22 with the dream of a record deal. Four years later, his career took off. One night after seeing Pete perform at Largo in L.A., the producer of “Me, Myself & Irene” asked him to send some demos for the movie’s soundtrack. Not only were his songs “Strange Condition” and “Just Another” included, but he was asked to compose the film score as well. “Just Another” was also featured on the TV shows Felicity and Dawson’s Creek.
He scored a record deal with Columbia Records, released musicforthemorningafter in March 2001 and began touring, which had always been a dream of his as well. Other opportunities arose such as playing drums for a set with Iggy Pop at the Shortlist Awards in L.A., contributing a song to the Ramones tribute album and meeting one of his idols, Bruce Springsteen.
Yorn’s songs exude an aura of nostalgia and express the familiar ups and downs of relationships without being too sentimental. He’s not one to compromise the artistic integrity of his work, but he still wants to reach a lot of people with his music. ” Music is about a feeling,” Yorn insists. “When you first hear a particular song, it’s like a bookmark in your life. I’ll put certain music on because it makes me want to drink beer in the woods or call some girl on the phone. If you’re really into music, it becomes a huge part of your life.” (VH1.com)
His newest album Day I Forgot was released in April 2003. ” This record is about remembering,” says Pete. “Day I Forgot is the opposite of what it actually states. If I try to forget something, that’s when I end up remembering it. It’s all about simplicity. People can get too caught up in the drama of their day-to-day lives and lose their perspective, their focus.” (VH1.com)
Pete Yorn is a gifted musician who does not seem to have lost his own perspective or his focus.
~Rachel K. Evans
What's Up at the Belly Up this week features Pete Yorn!! We talk about Syracuse University, the making of his latest album "Arranging Time" and his signature cool "far away" sound. We drank WHISKEY!