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Interviews, Podcast

Open City’s Dan Yemin on Trump, Wu-Tang, and the Art of Protest Music

The punk guitarist says, “I don’t really particularly want to do any music that isn’t framed as protest music”

dan yemin interview

Open City (L to R: Andy Nelson, Rachel Rubino, Chris Wilson, Dan Yemin). Photo by Scott Troyan

Today on the Culture Creature podcast: an interview with guitarist and vocalist Dan Yemin. Listen to the interview above or in iTunes.

Dan Yemin is a founding member of seminal punk bands including Lifetime, Paint It Black, Kid Dynamite and more. Dan’s new band Open City recently released its self-titled debut album. Open City also includes Andy Nelson (Paint It Black, Ceremony, Dark Blue), Rachel Rubino (Bridge And Tunnel), and Chris Wilson (Ted Leo & The Pharmacists). Dan Yemin is also a licensed clinical psychologist.

Dan Yemin Interview Highlights

Dan Yemin on the psychology of President Trump: “We need to be kind of careful about [analyzing Trump] because I certainly can’t diagnose someone that I haven’t evaluated face to face. But as a citizen with training and background in psychology, I can say that if one were to draw conclusions about his personality based on how he behaves in public, he seems pretty regressed to me. In some ways maybe even preadolescent. Certainly you don’t need to be a psychologist to recognize narcissism. But yeah, he’s got the impulse control of an early teen. The way he behaves on social media is reminiscent of the way early teens conduct themselves. Not the most sophisticated of early teens either. It does a disservice to teenagers to make that comparison. I would say it’s not fair to teenagers to make the comparison. I was working on a lyric the other day, I was thinking about this idea that ‘calling you pig would be unfair to a gentle animal.’ I kinda feel the same way about comparing the president to an adolescent. I think adolescents can and do strive to have their shit together more than the president does.”

Dan Yemin on protest music: “I don’t really particularly want to do any music that isn’t framed as protest music. As a force, art is really well-suited to that. And I’m not particularly adept at other kinds of activism.”

Related: Hear interviews with members of Operation IvyScreaming Females and Fugazi

Dan Yemin on competition: “I never talk about [competition] because it’s not cool in punk to talk about competing because I associate it with toxic masculinity and capitalism – which are two things that I wanna be as separate from as possible. Not just toxic masculinity but kind of conventional and traditional masculinity. That’s something that has always been a trap … and more and more, [it feels like a trap] as the culture wars play out in the twenty-first century. But competition is – if you think about it a different way – really important.”


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