Date: August 19, 2008
Author: Jeff Vrabel
Headline: Tegan's To Do's: Books, Videos, Driver's Ed
It's a big month for Tegan Quin of the sisterly Canadian rock duo Tegan and Sara. She and her twin are embarking on the final leg of their tour behind 2007's "The Con," she's co-headlining a benefit event in New York with author Augusten Burroughs and she's filming a video for her duet with Florida punk outfit Against Me!
Also, one day very soon, she will obtain her driver's license. "In 28 years, I've never had a desire to drive," Quin tells Billboard.com from Los Angeles, where she was set to shoot a video for "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart" from Against Me!'s 2007 set "New Wave." "In Vancouver and Manhattan you don't need a car, and I was always like, 'With gas prices, what kind of loser wants a car right now anyway?'" she laughs.
Turns out a girl she'd been pursuing in L.A. told her that having to pick her up all the time was, quote, "ridiculous."
"You can't imagine the amount of times I've been badgered and harassed, in the rain carrying groceries, thinking, 'Don't care, I'm part of the solution,'" she says, laughing again.
As it happens, the license is the second life goal she'll be meeting this month. Quin on Sept. 4 will perform at Spin.com's "Liner Notes" event, a music-and-literature performance taking place at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York.
Quin, who says the performance will be just her third sans Sara, will co-headline the event with author Burroughs. She was a number of musicians asked to pen an original song for the audiobook edition of Burroughs' latest work, "A Wolf at the Table."
That collaboration came up last Christmas, when Quin received an e-mail from Burroughs' publisher asking if she'd contribute an original track based on the book's narrative -- "basically a soundtrack for it." As a longtime fan, Quin says she "absolutely freaked out."
"I lost my mind," she says, "I said, 'Oh my God, of course, of course.' I mean, that was partly selfish, because it meant I got to read the book four months before it came out."
Still, the opportunity marked the first time she'd ever tried to write a song for someone other than herself, and she "didn't know how to do it." So she wrote Burroughs a letter about the book and the song, and, luckily, that letter ended up being the lyrics to the track, titled "His Love."
"So I sent the song to him and texted him -- because I hate being on the phone -- like, 'Hi, it's Tegan, I just sent you a song, let me know if you hate and I'll write something else,'" she says. And after a full day of "maniacally" checking her e-mail, Burroughs wrote back reporting that he loved the song. "It was like a billion pages long; he said he'd been crying and listening to it for five hours," she says, and an e-mail/text friendship was born.
Out of that relationship came the "Liner Notes" show, which will also feature performances by Colin Frangicetto of Circa Survive and readings by Elizabeth Seward and Stephen Christian. "I think it'll be one of those momentous nights, where I'll just black out and not really remember what I did," she laughs.
Following the Housing Works show, Tegan and Sara begin a month-long tour Sept. 20 in San Diego. The group has also begun work on a new studio album.