Friday April 4, 2003

A conversation between Robert Schneider and Jeff Mangum, who grew up in Ruston, Louisiana. And later made The Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel.

JM: What you don't understand is that I thought it was a flower. But it wasn't. Ok? It was part of the rat on the treadmill and it was this dude's legs watchin' The Price is Right. Ok? An, an, it was part of the blender. And I, I convinced myself for so long that it was a flower, I mean I spent years and years and years convincing myself that these puzzle pieces added up to a flower. And it wasn't at all. And once I woke up I realized, "How do I trust other pieces? How do I take new pieces and put them together with as much, y'know, vigor as I once did?" Because what if, what if they're not a flower either? What if they're just like...

RS: They've gotta be animal pieces. They might be animal pieces. Pieces of goats?

JM: Well, that's what I was tryin' for, that was like a rat and a goat and the whole thing and the goats didn't have any hands.

RS: And you bought this at WalMart?

JM: And that's what I wanted. That's what all I wanted, I mean that, ever since I was a kid. Since I was a kid it it it just seems...

RS: Have you never got the puzzle together?

JM: No.

RS: Ever?

JM: Never. There're all these disjointed pieces I convinced myself to be flowers.

RS: You have a serious problem, young man.

JM: I know I do. But I don't think I'm much different from anybody else. I bet everybody else has got a bunch of, like, pseudo flowers in their pockets that really are just pieces of that weird puzzle that aren't....