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Jamie Stewart

Jamie Stewart is the lead singer of the much-loved Xiu Xiu, whose new album, Knife Play, is one of the most unique, memorable records to hit our stereos in years.

DOB: 03/02/72, but if I was anywhere else in the world it would be 02/03/72

Occupational title(s): Preschool teacher and, depending on how things are going in Xiu Xiu, sometimes my title is the same there

Favorite books: Drown, Junot Diaz (fiction) and When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, Elizabeth Becker (non-fiction)

What makes you laugh: Filthy, filthy, filthy jokes and when Lauren from Xiu Xiu hasn’t had enough sleep and starts talking about how she has to play ‘Come on Eileen’ on the organ so her son can use the bathroom.

Best show experience: That would be Chicago at the Fireside Bowl. It was part of a really long and otherwise really difficult tour that had had a lot of cancellations and weird venues. However, the people who were there were wonderfully supportive and friendly. It’s hard to describe but on some divine nights playing just feels right or particularly out of our hands and it just happens. Mixed with the superb audience it was a very exciting and emotional show. I wish I could put it in clearer terms or say that like 10,000 bats flew out of the heating vents or something.

Heroes: There is a photo that I have on my window of a young male-to-female transvestite who works as an AIDS prevention activist among transvestite sex workers in Brazil but to make ends meet must sometimes work as a sex worker herself. Whenever I open my window and see her picture I say a little prayer for her.

Best vacation memory: Last March I went to Vietnam and one day when I was sitting on a corner in a city called Hoi An and the sun was setting over the water and it was so intense and exciting and beautiful to be in such a new and unbreakable place that I could hardly breathe.

Charity worth giving to: The Mines Advisory Group does land-mine removal internationally. For the last two years we have scheduled benefits for them and are going to continue to make it an annual event.

Songwriting process: Have something awful happen, get really depressed, not be able to write anything about it because the depression is to thick and annoying, rent a movie, absentmindedly play guitar during the movie, press ‘record’ on the tape recorder, finish watching the movie, listen to the tape the next morning, and see if it still works.

Five words that sound great: Relatively large head, long tail


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack