Earlier this week the New York Times raised a few eyebrows with their profile on Dan Rossen’s Department Of Eagles project. It’s not surprising to see D.O.E. given such high-minded attention (they’re suddenly everywhere, from last week’s Conan to last night’s Bookeaters Benefit at Town Hall, and deservedly so). But the article uses contextually questionable quotes and insinuations as to the reason Droste was the odd man out on D.O.E. to suggest the future of Grizzly Bear, and more fundamentally Dan and Ed’s friendship, is remarkably strained. True, Dan shares some GB-related frustrations, but the rest seems selectively framed for maximum drama. (The pièce de résistance is Ed’s out-of-nowhere introductory quote, starting “Is the band going to break up? I think that’s the furthest thing from our minds.” I may not be a lawyer — oh wait, yes I am — but that’s leading the witness, NYT.)
Since then Dan’s been bent on clearing up the Times’ distorted portrait. The night after the piece ran, D.O.E. played their first full set at the Bell House, where Dan dedicated two songs to his Grizzly partner (a cover of Jo Jo’s “Too Little Too Late” which he initially recorded as a birthday present to Ed last year, and the slightly less subtle “If You’d Forgive Me”). Today Rossen takes it one step further on the Grizzly Bear blog with a post titled “Dept of Eagles and Grizzly Bear: Friendships Are True”:
There’s been some confusing press recently regarding the Dept of Eagles record. There are the inevitable comparisons between GB and DoE, which are sometimes annoying but ultimately who cares. Then there is the inevitable dorky wordplay that goes along with two interrelated animal-named bands (soaring with the eagles whilst nesting in the den of the grizzly bear!, etc.). It’s unfortunate, but mostly it just confuses my older relatives. So whatever. Problem is this: there have been some suggestions that there is a rift between me and Ed and some offhand comments I’ve made about the last few years with grizzly bear and my friendship with Ed have been printed out of context, fueling gossip and scaring friends of the band. It doesn’t look good, and I feel terrible about it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if those remarks are reprinted over and over again in reference to In Ear Park.
Point is, there is nothing but love and respect between me and Ed. The last thing I want is for this DoE record to be seen as some kind of affront to him or the band. It absolutely isn’t. It’s a tangent from the band that happened while we took some time off. Ed has been incredibly supportive, and working with him on the new record has been amazing. It’s an honor and a joy. So let it be known!
Rossen let it be known via here. Take that, gotcha liberal media. So it’s OK still to expect that new Grizzly Bear album sometime next year, everybody. Take this as a testament to Dan & Ed’s love for each other:
And in case you haven’t seen this yet, here’s an alternate take on “No One Does It Like You” that’s worth a few minutes of your day: