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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Deb Talan and Steve Tannen are partners. They work together and live together. Sometimes they report for work to their bedroom - to sing, I hasten to ads They are a band called The Weepies. The Weepies have just put out their second album together; it's called Say I Am You.

(Soundbite of song Got To Have You):

THE WEEPIES (Music Group): (Singing) No amount of coffee, no amount of crying, no amount of whiskey, no amount of wine. No. No. No. No. No. Nothing else will do, I've got to have you. I've got to have you.

WERTHEIMER: That's Got To Have You from the album Say I Am You. Deb Talan and Steve Tannen join us from NPR West.

Thank you so much for coming in.

Ms. DEB TALAN (The Weepies): Thanks for having us.

Mr. STEVE TANNEN (The Weepies): Thanks.

WERTHEIMER: Now, the first thing people said around here when we said we were going to talk to you is - The Weepies?

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: So I have to ask you, please explain that name.

Ms. TALAN: Well, it came about from a few different sources, but one was, you know, those sort of old movies that were called weepies, where you could basically be guaranteed that if you needed a good cry, you could go and see one of these and bring your hankie and have a good time. And we want to be able to provide that for people. We want to make music that touches them and moves them in that way; the place where tears come from, for joy and for sorrow.

WERTHEIMER: But it's still, the word itself is slightly comical. So you're sort of doing two things at once.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TANNEN: It is. It was the name we had for friends of ours who we could go see Pinocchio with, and we wouldn't be embarrassed that we were crying, because they would also be crying.

WERTHEIMER: Now, is it really true that you recorded this album in your bedroom - the CD? Can you really hear cars in the background? I read that in the Pasadena Star News, so it must be true.

Mr. TANNEN: It is completely true. We had just moved out to L.A. and we were living in a little cottage in Pasadena. And we didn't have a record deal or anything, and we just set up our equipment in the bedroom and recorded.

Ms. TALAN: It's one of those, like, nice, woody, old bungalows kind of from the '40s...

Mr. TANNEN: And yeah, you know, planes go overhead, vans go by outside, and sometimes it's on the best take, so we just kept it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: I must say I didn't notice any motorists passing by, but...

Mr. TANNEN: We tried to mix it out, yeah. But there's - we sort of try to capture the feel of us just playing together, because we write in our bedroom and we'll just play songs for each other.

WERTHEIMER: Here's one of the songs that was, I assume, created in that situation. It's called Take It From Me.

(Soundbite of song Take It From Me)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing): What can I compare you too? My favorite pair of shoes, maybe my bright red boots, if they had wings. It's funny how we animate, colorful objects saved. Funny how it's hard to take a love with no sting. But come on and take it, come on and take it, take it from me. But come on take it, come on and take it, take it from me. But come on and take it, come on and take it, take it from me.

WERTHEIMER: The opening lyrics really just are - strike you right away. What can I compare you too, my favorite pair of shoes, maybe my bright red boots if they had wings. It's very romantic and at the same time kind of domestic...

Ms. TALAN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: ...that image. Maybe a little dash of Shakespeare. Deb Talan, you wrote this?

Ms. TALAN: Pretty much every song on this album is a collaboration, to lesser and greater degrees. The bright red boots, yeah, that was me.

WERTHEIMER: Now, you both had solo careers before you joined up. Steve Tannen, can you tell us how you met?

Mr. TANNEN: Sure. How much time you got?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TANNEN: We were fans of each other's music and I had Deb's first CD, which is called Something Burning. And I played it constantly in my apartment, in my car, walking down the street with the headphones on. And right as I was most obsessed with it - I had released my first record, solo record - and I went up to play a show in Boston at this legendary little club called Club Passim.

WERTHEIMER: You're from New York, right?

Mr. TANNEN: I am. I'm from New York. And this legendary club, and I came out on stage and right in the front row is Deb Talan. And I literally just was so nervous, I played the worst show in my life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TANNEN: I was completely intimidated.

Ms. TALAN: It wasn't bad; he was just sweating a lot.

Mr. TANNEN: I was sweating, and trying to smile, and nervous laughter. And we met after the show for about a second. It was just this electrical moment and then Deb ran out of the club, like a sprinter.

Ms. TALAN: It was very unsettling because I was having sort of the same experience, where I had formed a kind of a relationship with Steve's music. You know, the way a person does when you become sort of captivated and it becomes sort of the soundtrack for that time in your life. And then there he was playing...

Mr. TANNEN: Well, she came down to New York, and I came and I brought all my friends for support. And after that show we started talking and we hung out with a group of friends. And finally, toward, you know, three o'clock, there was just two of us left. And we ended up just playing songs to each other all night and drinking a bottle of wine.

Ms. TALAN: And did sort of a song duel.

WERTHEIMER: Now, you know, despite all this togetherness, the two of you don't sound precisely alike when one is leading or the other is leading in the songs. I mean, we've heard a couple that basically featured Deb's voice. Now here is Steve Tannen's, which is slightly different. This one is called Living In Twilight.

(Soundbite of song Living In Twilight)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing) You look darkly on the day with memories to light your way, a little sad but it's all right. We are always living in twilight. No one knocks upon your door until you don't care anymore, a little alone but it's all right. We are always living in twilight.

WERTHEIMER: There are some very beautiful harmonies in this song.

Mr. TANNEN: I was harmonizing with Deb's music before I met her. I would sing along with the CD. And sometimes when I write, I'll write for Deb's voice or I'll write with Deb's harmonies in mind.

(Soundbite of song Living in Twilight)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing) Living in a dream, walking in between sunset and sunrise.

WERTHEIMER: Now, you work together and you write songs together in your collaboration. You travel together. You live together. Do you ever spend any time apart?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TANNEN: Deb just went and got coffee. Yeah, that was a little break.

Ms. TALAN: Sometimes we spend whole hours apart.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: Now, one song stands out to me as different from the rest, and Steve sings it. Suicide Blonde.

Ms. TALAN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of song Suicide Blonde)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing) You know the way you look makes everyone hungry. You got the ways and means to make it all right. Dye your hair suicide blonde. Dye your hair suicide blonde.

Ms. TALAN: When we were making this record, there's a lot of anxiety involved. It's sort of like generally one of the other of us at various times - hopefully staggered - has sort of a freak-out about the whole process and how it's going. And when Steve had his, he dyed his hair blonde. And he has kind of - he has very nice chestnut brown hair. But he dyed the whole thing like blonde. Actually, it started out sort of clown orange...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TALAN: ...and then progressively got blonde.

Mr. TANNEN: It was my first try.

Ms. TALAN: And I think that seed kernel for that song certainly came from you and that experience of like, just you want something to move and change in a quick way.

Mr. TANNEN: Well, and you don't want to be yourself anymore.

(Soundbite of song Suicide Blonde)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing) Dye your hair suicide blonde.

WERTHEIMER: Now, you guys have been getting some airplay in pretty prominent places - television shows like Gray's Anatomy, Everwood, that kind of thing.

Ms. TALAN: Yeah, we're thrilled.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TALAN: And in addition to, you know, people choosing to use our music for their own work - film and TV - we also are starting to get the opportunity to write toward scenes and towards film a little bit. And that's been...

Mr. TANNEN: Talk about Nicole.

Ms. TALAN: ...really thrilling. Yeah. Nicole Holofcener, the director of Friends With Money, we actually...

WERTHEIMER: Friends With Money, that's a Jennifer Anniston movie.

Ms. TALAN: Yes, it is. And Nicole had - before they started filming - she - we had been in touch with her and she sent us the script. So we were able to sort of read through it and write songs for, you know, various sort of scenes that seemed particularly emotionally charged. And it was just a really fun writing challenge.

Mr. TANNEN: You know, music is always the soundtrack to my life. I take it everywhere I go and it really defines different periods of my life. And so when someone uses some of the music as part of the soundtrack to the TV show or to film, it feels natural.

(Soundbite of song World Spins Madly On)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing) I woke up and wished that I was dead with an aching in my head. I lay motionless in bed...

WERTHEIMER: Thank you both very much.

Ms. TALAN: Thanks for having us.

Mr. TANNEN: Thanks.

WERTHEIMER: Deb Talan and Steve Tannen together make up The Weepies. Their newest release is Say I Am You. If you want to listen to complete versions of some of the songs on the album, go to our Web site, npr.org.

(Soundbite of song World Spins Madly On)

THE WEEPIES: (Singing) And everything that I said I'd do, like make the world brand new and take the time for you. I just got lost and slept right through the dawn and the world spins madly on. I let the day go by. I always say goodbye. I watch the stars from my windowsill, but the whole world is moving and I'm standing still.

WERTHEIMER: This is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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