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OK Go performing in May 2006(from left) Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, Andy Ross, and Damian Kulash.
OK Go performing in May 2006
(from left) Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, Andy Ross, and Damian Kulash.
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA
Washington, D.C., USA
Genre(s) Alternative rock, Power pop
Years active 1998 – present
Label(s) Capitol
Website www.okgo.net
Damian Kulash
Tim Nordwind
Dan Konopka
Andy Ross
Former members
Andy Duncan

OK Go is a rock band originally from Chicago, now residing in Los Angeles. The band is composed of Damian Kulash (lead vocals and guitar), Tim Nordwind (bass guitar and backing vocals), Dan Konopka (drums and percussion) and Andy Ross (keyboards, guitar and backing vocals), who joined them in 2005 in replacement of Andy Duncan.

The original members formed as OK Go in 1998 and released two studio albums before Duncan's departure. The band is notable for their unusual dress sense and their energetic music videos — in particular, those for their two most successful singles, "A Million Ways" and "Here It Goes Again". The latter won a Grammy Award for "Best Short-Form Music Video" in 2007.


[edit] History

[edit] Formation

The band's singer, Damian Kulash, met bassist Tim Nordwind at Interlochen Arts Camp when they were 11. Damian was in for graphic design, Tim for music. They met over a game of Ping Pong in which Damian won. The band name comes from their art teacher, saying "OK...Go!" while they were drawing. They kept in touch after camp, often exchanging mixtapes which influenced each other's musical taste and their future sound. They met the band's former guitarist and keyboardist Andy Duncan in high school, and drummer Dan Konopka in college. OK Go was formed in 1998.

OK Go's most frequently cited musical influences are Pixies, The Cars, Cheap Trick, T.Rex, Queen, Prince, The Zombies, and bands from the Washington, D.C. punk rock scene, especially Fugazi and Shudder To Think. They share management with They Might Be Giants, with whom they toured before signing to Capitol Records in 2001.

The band's unique part-glam, part-geek rock fashion sense has also gotten a lot of attention. They are known for combining loud, clashing patterns and wearing waistcoats, sweater vests, ties, dress shirts, suspenders, dress pants, and an unusual amount of jewelry, particularly brooches. Some have noted similarities between their style and that of Weezer, They Might Be Giants, but the band have said in interviews that their influences were Oscar Wilde, David Bowie, "Republican assholes," and "other people too wealthy to know how crazy they look."

The band also served as the house band for public radio program This American Life on the show's fifth anniversary tour. The band performed an early predecessor to their wildly successful music videos-- a choreographed dance to the song "C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips" created for the cable access show Chic-a-Go-Go. Ira Glass, the show's host, wrote their first official bio, calling them "living catnip" and describing their songs as "part indie rock, part stadium rock, part straight up pop with the occasional whiff of Weezer or The Cars or Elliott Smith."

[edit] Breakthrough

After OK Go's exposure on This American Life and their relationship with They Might Be Giants, the band released its self-titled debut album in 2002. In the United Kingdom, "Get Over It" debuted at No. 21[1], in the singles chart on March 16, 2003, and the band performed it on that week's edition of Top of the Pops. Also that week, the single's video was named video of the week by Q magazine. The single was featured in the EA Sports video games Triple Play 2003 and Madden NFL 2003. Also, their song "Do What You Want" was featured in the video games EA Sports NHL 06, Guitar Hero On Tour, and Burnout Revenge, while their song "Here It Goes Again" was featured in Rock Band.

The band contributed a cover of "This Will Be Our Year," the Zombies classic, as the lead track of Future Soundtrack for America, a political benefit album put out by Barsuk Records in the fall of 2004. Lead singer Damian Kulash also became somewhat politically active during that election cycle, writing a heavily downloaded how-to-guide entitled "How Your Band Can Fire Bush" for bands hoping to help unseat President George W. Bush.

In 2007, OK Go wrote the fight song for the Chicago Soccer Team, Chicago Fire S.C.. The song was offered on the team's official website as a free download. Also in 2007, OK Go covered the Pixies "Gigantic" for American Laundromat Records "Dig For Fire - a tribute to PIXIES" CD.

[edit] Music video fame

The band's second album, Oh No, was recorded in Malmö, Sweden, and produced by Tore Johansson (The Cardigans, Franz Ferdinand) in the fall of 2004. After recording, in 2005, Andy Duncan left the band and was replaced by Andy Ross, who auditioned for them in Chicago. The album was released in August 2005.

Oh No gained popularity for its first single, "A Million Ways", thanks to its video, which proved to be a viral Internet phenomenon in the fall of 2005. The ultra-low budget, long take video featured the band in their back yard performing a dance choreographed by lead singer Kulash's sister, Trish Sie. Using a camera borrowed from a friend, the video was produced for under ten dollars, and was apparently released without the knowledge or consent of their label, Capitol Records. By August 2006, the video had become the most downloaded music video ever with over 9 million downloads.[2] The band performed the dance live on British TV show Soccer AM.

The nontraditional video for "A Million Ways" is not without precedent for the band. Previous oddball video efforts featuring OK Go include their Ping Pong Instructional Video and the Federal Truth In Music Project. They also performed a choreographed dance for the song "C-C-C-Cinamon Lips" at shows after the release of their first album. It was based on N'SYNC dance routines, which they had developed for the cable access show Chic-a-Go-Go, which required bands to lip-sync their songs.[3]

On July 31, 2006 the band released a video in a similar vein for "Here It Goes Again" featuring an elaborately choreographed dance on treadmills, also directed and choreographed by Trish Sie. This video was viewed by over one million people on the media site YouTube in the first six days. As of the end of December 2008, the original video upload for "Here It Goes Again" has been viewed over 42 million times, putting it in 29th place for the most views of any video and 20th place for most viewed music video as well as the 6th most favorited video and 2nd top favorited music video of all time on YouTube. If the statistics (for) all copies of the video on YouTube are tallied together, the video has been viewed many more times. The band has worked with both world-renowned and relatively unknown directors including Francis Lawrence, Olivier Gondry (brother of Michel Gondry), Brian L. Perkins, Scott Keiner, and Todd Sullivan. On August 23, 2006, Damian Kulash appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about the unconventional popularity achieved with "A Million Ways" and "Here It Goes Again". The latter video won 2006 YouTube Award in the Most Creative category.[4] Emcee Common references the video in his song "Drivin' Me Wild" ("She was the type to watch Oprah and the Today Show, be on the treadmill, uh, like 'OK Go'").

In OK Go's choreographed videos, their bassist Tim Nordwind lip-syncs instead of their lead singer, Damian Kulash, following the format from the dance choreographed for the song "C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips", which Tim sings. On August 31, OK Go appeared live at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards performing their treadmill routine for "Here It Goes Again". Since the VMA performance, sales of the album & single have increased, especially on the iTunes Music Store where, as of September 5, 2006, the single has reached #11 and the album #2. On November 7, 2006, OK Go released a deluxe limited edition CD/DVD of the album Oh No. The DVD contains their music videos (dancing and playing instruments), a video of 180 fans performing the "A Million Ways" dance for a YouTube contest, previously unseen footage, and a behind-the-scenes look at their treadmill rehearsals for the "Here It Goes Again" video and for the MTV VMAs.

In May 2006, they toured with Panic at the Disco; in September they were in the U.K. supporting Motion City Soundtrack, and continued their U.S. tour supporting Snow Patrol into Spring 2007.

On January 12, 2006, OK Go made a guest appearance on the NBC show, Las Vegas. The episode, entitled "Fleeting Cheating Meeting," incorporated many songs from their Oh No album. The music video for "Here It Goes Again" was also parodied in a Simpsons episode aired later that year.

On February 11, 2006, OK Go and Trish Sie took home a Grammy award for "Best Short-Form Music Video" for their viral music video, "Here It Goes Again". This video has around 44 million hits on youtube, making it one of the most viewed.

In 2008, Damian Kulash said that the band hadn't produced the YouTube videos as part of any overt, "Machiavellian" marketing campaign. "In neither case did we think, 'A-ha, this will get people to buy our records.' It has always been our position that the reason you wind up in a rock band is you want to make stuff. You want to do creative things for a living."[5]

After visiting New Orleans in 2006, the band recorded an EP with New Orleans funk rock band Bonerama, to raise money for musicians who were still displaced by the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. The EP, entitled You're Not Alone, was released on February 5, 2008.

On October 12, 2008, OK Go announced that they had finished writing new songs for their third album and are currently in the studios in upstate New York with producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT).[6] A tentative release date has been set for sometime around June 2009, later reported in Rolling Stone to be releasing in August with a tentative title of Help is On The Way, with a possible lead single to be released in early May 2009. The band will preview their upcoming album on a short sling of dates on the Eastern Coast of the U.S. this March, starting in Philadelphia on March 6, 2009 at the TLA Theatre. They have stated that these songs are the "danciest, most anthemic, most heartbroken, and honest songs", of their career, and the album itself takes a much more funky, dancy, yet melancholy sound to it, drawing influence from Prince. Some song titles mentioned in articles and in concerts include: - Back from Kathmandu - White Knuckles - This Too Shall Pass - Last Leaf - Skyscrapers - I Want You So Bad - In The Glass - Shooting The Moon - Help Is On The Way

[edit] Other live members

  • Burleigh Seaver – keyboard, percussion (2002)
  • Ara Anderson – keyboard, percussion, trumpet (2002, 2004)

[edit] Discography

[edit] Albums/EPs

Year Album/EP Title US Chart # US Heatseekers Chart #
2000 EP Brown EP
2001 EP Pink EP
2002 Album OK Go #107 #1
2005 EP Do What You Want
Album Oh No #69 #1
2007 EP Master The Treadmill with OK Go
EP Live From SoHo
2008 EP You're Not Alone (with Bonerama)
2009 Album Help Is On The Way

[edit] Singles

Year Single Chart positions Album
U.S. U.S. Mod Rock U.S. Main U.S. Pop UK U.S. Digital NZ
2002 "Get Over It" 20 21 OK Go
2003 "Don't Ask Me"
2005 "A Million Ways" 43 Oh No
2006 "Do What You Want"
2006 "Oh Lately It's So Quiet" (Radio Promo Only)
2006 "Invincible" (Radio Promo Only)
2006 "Here It Goes Again" 38 17 34 36 18 28

[edit] Compilations

[edit] Awards

  • Grammys:
    • Best Short Form Music Video (2007) for "Here It Goes Again"[7]
  • YouTube Video Awards:
    • Most Creative Video (2006) for "Here It Goes Again"[4]

[edit] Nominations

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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