As published in UWeekly (June 28, 2006)

Teaching four-year-olds how to spell dirty words

It’s been a breakout year for Morningwood, the hard-rocking pop band from New York City. Videos from the band’s self-titled debut, released in January, have been in steady rotation on the MTV2 and Fuse and the band has been touring incessantly throughout the year.

Singer Chantal Claret and guitarist Pedro Yanowitz met at the beginning of the decade though Yanowitz didn’t discover Claret’s singing talent until hearing her perform an impromptu birthday song for Sean Lennon.

“It was one of those New York nights where you go out not expecting much to happen and you wind up at the Dakota at six in the morning shit-faced and singing for 13 singer/songwriters,” Claret recently said from a truck stop somewhere outside of Philadelphia…

You’re going to be performing in Columbus on the same night as Red, White, and Boom, the largest 4th of July fireworks display in the country.

No way! That’s so exciting. Not like I wasn’t looking forward to the show before, but now I’m supremely excited.

When you were growing up, did you spend lots of time in front of the mirror lip synching and practicing your moves?

Not just when I was a kid, I still perform in front of a mirror. At our Brooklyn show we had these teenage girls from New Jersey come up to us. They were like, “We do this choreographed dance to ‘Jetsetter’.” My best friend, who was there that night, and I did the same exact thing when we were really young to all of Madonna’s songs and TLC. We performed them for our parents.

So when we were performing, I saw these girls in the front row and they started doing their dance. I brought them up on stage and I tried to learn the moves they were doing. It was definitely super cool to me because I know the music that I danced to when I was their age meant so much to me so for our music to mean that much to them that they created choreographed dances, that is one of the coolest things ever.

I pictured you lip-syncing to David Lee Roth or Axl Rose.

I have to admit that when I was a young girl and in my tweens, I was definitely a Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Paula Abdul sort of girl. Only later, in my teenage years, did I get into the rocking men.

Your videos are great. Were the concepts yours or the director’s?

The “Jetsetter” video was a collaboration between me and the directors. I described all the things I wanted, like Technicolor and dancing like Jailhouse Rock meets Grease. The “Nth Degree” video was their concept and they brought to us. The idea works perfectly for the song.

We get a lot of parents telling us that their very young children have learned to spell with us and love the band. That’s the one time where I feel a little guilty that there are 4-year-olds spelling out the word Morningwood. Yet, I think it’s the coolest thing ever because it’s one of those things where they don’t know what it means. When they get older they are going to be the coolest kid ever. They are going to be like, “That’s the first word I learned how to spell? I’m pretty damn cool.”

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