It's such an honor to get to interview, David Yazbek, one of my favorite composers who's also an Emmy award winning comedy writer for The Late Show with David Letterman. David wrote the music & lyrics to The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. With five albums under his belt, David is now bestowing his talents on Feinstein's/54 Below for a one night only concert on Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm! Get ready to hear songs from David's work on Broadway, his albums, and Television! Click here for tickets!
1. On May 4, you are appearing for one night only at Feinstein's/54 Below. What made now the right time to do this show? Needed to play with the best musicians in NYC, my band. Purely selfish motivation. Couldn't wait any longer.
2. What do you like about performing live as opposed to composing music? I'm not alone. I get to listen to and communicate with some great musicians. It's called "playing" for a reason.
3. What do you think will surprise people about your live show? Certainly the "How to Butcher a Deer" live tutorial.
4. Two of my favorite songs from The Full Monty are "Let It Go" and "You Rule My World." What is something that you have let go of? What rules your world that you would like not to? I have to let go of these tickets to Smurfs On Ice. I'm too old for that shit. No, actually I have to let go of propensity to equate worrying with surviving.
What rules my world that I would like not to? Mallomars.
5. You also wrote the music and lyrics to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Was there ever a time in your life that you were a dirty rotten scoundrel? If so, what did you do and did you get caught or were you able to pull it off? I am the most honest, upright, angelic, truthful, generous person I know.
6. You are also an Emmy award winner for comedy writing for The Late Show with David Letterman. What was it like to win an Emmy? What's your fondest memory of working on Letterman? You left Letterman to pursue music. Looking back, would you make this same decision again? Winning an Emmy was a lesson in how superficial and stupid awards are. I'm glad I had that lesson before losing Tonys three times. Fondest memories of the Letterman gig -- getting the job at age 23 and seeing my first joke on TV.
Music trumps everything for me. Being able to make a living writing and performing music is the greatest gift I can imagine. Second greatest gift -- nice cufflinks.
7. Additionally, you wrote the theme song to Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. This was one of my favorite computer games growing up (prior to there being a TV show). If you could meet Carmen Sandiego herself anywhere in the world, where would you meet her and what would you do? I'd meet her in Florida and go tarpon fishing with fly-rods. Then we'd steal Governor Rick Scott and bury him in a massive pile of shit so we don't have to listen to or look at him anymore.
8. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent everyday. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent every day? If I could improve my urine-stream-aim by one percent everyday I'd make my cleaning lady very happy.
9. What do you still want to do that you haven't done yet? Write a song as good as "Waters of March" by Jobim. Not sure that's possible. For anyone.
10. On your Twitter page, you said you finally found your drag name: Annette Positive. How did you come up with that name and what would your shtick be as Annette Positive? The name was bestowed upon me by Charles Nelson Reilly in a fever-dream. My shtick would be whittling blocks of wood into figurines of famous orchestra conductors while ululating like a mourning Bedouin. Oh wait, I think Harvey Fierstein already did that.
David was born in NYC and grew up playing in bands. He made 5 albums so far: The Laughing Man, Tock, Damascus, Tape Recorder, and Evil Monkey Man. David wrote the music and lyrics for three Broadway shows: The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. His fourth show, The Band’s Visit is slated for the 2016 Broadway season. David has done a lot of other stuff: Comedy writing for The Late Show With David Letterman (for which he won an Emmy award), Film and TV writing and scoring (including Boardwalk Empire and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego theme song).