A folksy duo or a rocking boy band, or somewhere in between...

Clymer Kurtzes Have Nothing to Say on Fresh Air (and Haven’t Been Invited)

When NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviews the Clymer Kurtz Band’s Christopher and Maria Clymer Kurtz later this never, the conversation may be brief.

“Aside from certain family members’ idiosyncrasies,” said Christopher, not mentioning his mother, “I don’t know that we have that much to talk about.”

“Just look at my life,” Maria agreed: “I’ve never used illegal drugs, I’ve never even been tipsy, I only went on one date with one man I didn’t marry, I’ve only been married once and still am, and now I work in ‘home and garden management,’ for crying out loud, at home with our children. What’s there to talk about, How the tomatoes did this year? They did terrible! See? Done.”

Fresh Air interviews, on the other hand, bear all the marks of great conversation, so often alcoholism, agonized relationships, and authentic-sounding songs about misery.

“Our songs are too happy,” said Christopher, “except for the occasional downer, like ‘Why So Hard,’ which is sad but completely made up, or like ‘Scarlett,’ which is also sad and which we made up about a person someone else made up. One of our newest songs is even called ‘The Day Is Happy.’ Interview material? Maybe, but not for more than 30 or 40 seconds.”

Both Clymer Kurtzes admit some nervousness about the non-prospect of actually getting to talk with Terry Gross. Take this recent show opener, said Christopher, in which Terry said, “Jonathan Lethem, welcome back to Fresh Air, and congratulations on the new book. Why did you want to write about three generations of a family where radical political convictions and utopian ideology create more conflict within their own circles than these convictions accomplish in terms of social change?”

“I know that with us she wouldn’t start with ‘Welcome back,’” said Christopher. “Maybe it’d be more like Car Talk with the line, ‘Doesn’t anybody screen these calls?’ And then I’d have to ask her to break the question down into smaller sentences, or for more coffee.”

“That said,” said Maria, “Terry’s so good that anybody who gets invited onto the show sounds interesting. So we’d be okay.”

Small-time acts have in fact been featured on Fresh Air. Several years ago, Christopher thinks he remembers, one fan’s song about Terry, a blatant baiting, was actually played on her show after she was consumed by narcism and actually gave the guy, who in the bigger picture was just as undeserving as the Clymer Kurtzes, air time.

“But ambitious self promotion is not what this article is about,” said Christopher, “even if I am the one writing it. And even if I am going to send it to Terry.”