Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan: "I’ve tried to challenge myself to solo in different ways, rather than just turn the distortion way up on the Rat, step on it, and go"

Ira Kaplan performs with Yo La Tengo at Larmer Tree Gardens on August 30, 2018 in Farnham, Dorset, England
(Image credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Yo La Tengo’s singer and guitarist, Ira Kaplan, isn’t much for clock-watching. Over the years, he and the rest of the beloved Hoboken, New Jersey trio have often approached live shows with an open-ended looseness, ballooning onstage versions of favorites and rarities from their beloved songbook well beyond the run-times of their studio counterparts.

Last year, though, a series of opening dates for both Japanese Breakfast and Death Cab for Cutie had the jam-centric indie outfit contemplating how to reign things in – a digital clock literally rested near Kaplan’s pedalboard to keep the band begrudgingly on task. It’s perhaps fitting, then, to find Kaplan yearning to “fall out of time” on Fallout, the breezily undulated first single from Yo La Tengo’s wonderfully outsized This Stupid World album. 

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.