Constantly Whistling

From “Andrew Bird Discovers His Inner Operatic Folkie,” by Jonathan Mahler, New York Times Sunday Magazine (1.02.09):

Compositionally, Bird takes simple melodies and gradually extends them into complex arrangements. These melodies pop into his head unannounced. The way it usually works, he will suddenly find himself whistling a new one — Bird is constantly whistling — or even chewing his food to it. He never records melodies or even writes them down. He assumes that if they’re worth remembering, he’ll remember them. The longer they remain lodged in his head, the more likely it is that they will eventually be fashioned into a song. “It’s like I’m my own Top 40 radio station, playing the things that get under my skin,” Bird says. “The ones that really stick are the hits.”

Andrew Bird performing 'Oh No' in Cincinnati, April 5, 2008.


His new CD, Noble Beast, drops Tuesday. Listen to Useless Creatures, the collection of new instrumental works that is included with the deluxe edition.