Posted in music on January 25, 2009

Paul Simon

Vampire Weekend's 2008 debut album was quick to draw frequent comparisons to Paul Simon's 'Graceland' for its incorporation of African musical influences. But the band members are quick to dismiss the notion.

"In some ways the fact that it's the only thing that comes up can be kind of frustrating," said Vampire's singer and guitarist Ezra Koenig in front of an audience at the TimesCenter on Saturday as part of the New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend event. "It makes it sounds like that we're totally one-dimensional, that all we do is rip off Paul Simon. Even from the early days that became like a thing. I think the first time [somebody] yelled 'Paul Simon!' That was in Omaha, Neb., and I was angry for the rest of the show."

The band members approached the source himself to get his opinion of their work. "We did actually get to meet [Simon] when we did 'Saturday Night Live,'" Koenig said. "Rostam [Batmanglij, our guitarist,] had the forward thinking to say straight up, 'Do you think our album sounds like Graceland?' And he said, 'Not really.'" [Spinner]

Tickets are now on Am Ex presale for the two Paul Simon shows @ Beacon Theater.

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Comments (31)

Vampire Weekend was so 2008

Posted by mp | January 25, 2009 12:42 PM

They sound a LOT like Paul Simon.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 12:46 PM

Only if you've never listened to Paul Simon, dolt.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 12:59 PM

they really don't sound like paul simon. it's obvious they took some influences from african music and graceland but paul simon is actually, you know, good.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 1:10 PM

The catchy songs on their album, IE "the hits," most certainly sound a lot like many of the elements that appear on Graceland. The other songs on the album generally don't.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 1:10 PM

"Vampire Weekend was so 2008"

Hating on bands whose albums debuted last year is so last year.

Posted by cm | January 25, 2009 1:18 PM

They aren't ripping off Paul Simon, they are ripping off the second Orange Juice album. Blatantly.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 1:21 PM

that's interesting. they do sound a lot like paul simon. i'd never thought about that before. thanks, bv.

Posted by 2150 | January 25, 2009 1:29 PM

And Paul Simon Graceland is so 1986. What is the big deal? Can people not claim to being influenced by other bands and having a similar sound? They didn't knock off or even re-create Graceland. VW put out one of the best and most refreshing cds of last year. It was so different than anything else put out last year, that it stood out and the only comparision people can draw from is an album that was released over 20 years ago and you trash them for it? I appluad them for being different and unique from the current music climate. If you had any music knowledge, you would trash them for being simlar to (insert current popular african artist here) but you can't and the only thing you can come up with is Paul Simon. Losers. I, for one, can not wait for the next VW cd and I even hope they get Ladysmith Black Mambazo to back them

Posted by P | January 25, 2009 1:33 PM

12:59p, 1:10p.

I know a number of good schools for the hearing impaired that might be able to help your condition.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 1:36 PM

it's 2009....why are you still hyping this shit?

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 1:38 PM

If one wants to go down the road of accusing anyone of ripping off Paul Simon's "Graceland," one might want to first read about who Mr. Simon ripped off on that album, according to this insider to the Graceland sessions: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2008/04/rhymin-simon-no.html

Posted by Jim Chadwick | January 25, 2009 1:47 PM

Does the Vampire Weekend album have slap bass?

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 1:57 PM

everyone rips off someone else.
nothin wrong.
some just do it better than others...

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 2:21 PM

I want to see him holding a cat… a pissed off looking cat!

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 2:33 PM

actually i think that guy was yelling "paul simonon". he just was picking up on the fact that vampire weekend totally steal their bass lines from the clash.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 3:12 PM

Re: 1.21pm

How on earth would you compare Vampire Weekend to Orange Juice? First of all, even at their most ramshackle, Orange Juice were soooo much funkier. (Please note that the lads spent as much time listening to chic as they did the velvet underground). Furthermore, Edwyn Collins is a lot more endearing as a frontman.

gahh....

Posted by Colonel K | January 25, 2009 4:45 PM

cm

" Hating on bands whose albums debuted last year is so last year."

no.

Posted by mp | January 25, 2009 5:31 PM

hate hate hate. i bet if VW was still playing Bowery and not T-5 3 sold out times over ya'll indiefags would STFU

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2009 6:59 PM

The VW debut was a great record. It also happened to be popular, which is of course enough to start the hate.

Posted by Deb | January 25, 2009 8:37 PM

Vampire Weekend don't sound like "Graceland" because they don't rip off bands like Los Lobos

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 6:45 AM

"I think the first time [somebody] yelled 'Paul Simon!' That was in Omaha, Neb., and I was angry for the rest of the show."

Sorry, next time I'll yell "You Suck!"

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 9:08 AM

yes. yelling "you suck" would deff be more appropriate.

brat should be flattered to be compared to Simon.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 9:30 AM

What fucking dicks. Cry me a river. He was angry during the rest of the show because someone yelled out "Paul Simon"?

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 10:40 AM

cant wait for their second album so there's something else to make fun of

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 1:08 PM

"Rostam [Batmanglij, our guitarist,]"

Isn't Ezra the only guitarist while Rostam plays the keys?

Posted by b.LOUD | January 26, 2009 3:21 PM

"not really" means "yes, but you're making me uncomfortable. you're very arrogant for asking me that."

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 3:52 PM

If you had any music knowledge, you would trash them for being simlar to (insert current popular african artist here) but you can't and the only thing you can come up with is Paul Simon. Losers. I, for one, can not wait for the next VW cd and I even hope they get Ladysmith Black Mambazo to back them.

as someone who listens to "current popular african artists", the fact that you pulled out ladysmith black mambazo is fucking hysterical.

Posted by Anonymous | January 26, 2009 11:03 PM

The reason people compare them to Paul Simon is that, if they mentioned that they sound just like the first Islands record or those Bishop Allen EPs from 2006, nobody would give a damn, since those records suck compared to the Vampire Weekend version.

VW didn't create their own style, they just wrote better pop versions of the style other bands were already mining.

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2009 4:10 PM

They should count themselves lucky to be compared to someone as genious as Paul Simon.

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2009 6:32 AM

I like the record. The songs are fun to listen to.
I don't know if they ripped anyone off, frankly I don't care. The music sounds good. You fools SUCK IT!!! : )

Posted by anonymous | February 15, 2009 7:36 PM

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