The Story Behind The Karen O Demo

By Stereogum / December 11, 2006

Whenever rare, heretofore unheard recordings from our favorite artists “leak” to the internet, we always wonder how the tracks got out there, and it was no different with Karen O’s bedroom demos. Well we may have some answers — from sources close to the situation. Stereogum reader M wrote us this email, with the subject “I am the Karen O demo leak”:

I received the “KO At Home” CD from a friend who found it in Dave Sitek’s old apartment — apparently Sitek up and left one day, leaving behind two suitcases. My friend was going to throw it out with the rest of the junk, but I wanted to give the disk as a birthday present to my roommate. Last night, I decided to make MP3s for myself since I knew I’d never see the CD again once she got it. The tracks were interesting, I thought other fans might appreciate them …

This afternoon, the band emailed me via MySpace with the simple message, “What the fuck were you thinking?” And now I feel completely shitty. Because I wasn’t thinking. I wanted to share this rarity, but it wasn’t mine to share. This stuff wasn’t supposed
to be released; just because I stumbled onto it didn’t mean I had the authority to do so.

I’m glad most people are appreciative of the files, but I feel like a total dick.

Meanwhile, reader Das sent us a link to, which posted this message, allegedly from Dave Sitek:

to whomever found/stole/”unearthed” the demos that karen gave me and posted them on the internet/indierock fireman ….

thank you. i am due to learn a new kind of forgiveness. a kind that all of of humanity will need to learn as we betray eachother , hurt eachother, steal from eachother to fill the “content void” that has become the worldwide networks, our worldwide lives . i am not shocked that you are in possession of something you obtained through dubious means….. nor am i shocked that you posted it on the internet and by its very naming acknowledged whom it belonged to … and did not return it to that person. you would surely not return the ‘found wallet” , let the person in front of you know they dropped their passport, nor would you correct the mistake that benefited you at the craftfair/bakesale… because you too are in line to learn this very same lesson… and you surely WILL be betrayed… someone you know will turn you in for this , or someone you dont know will dig through your trash, will obtain your mothers medical records , etc… and you will feel empty… sick to your stomach, as though there is no humanity left … you will CERTAINLY, WITHOUT QUESTION, get out of life what you put into it… what i AM confused about is this :


as far as i can see , you havent turned a profit , and i (the person you did NOT return something dear to ) feel the same as i always have about you. you are a tired and confused animal who has no grasp on consequences ( i coincidentally feel that way about ALL of our species since we have outlived our usefullness (1970) ) You gained NOTHING … unless you and those around you who “over look ” these thoughtless acts get a betray-o-rection for swiping at someones belongings and making them public …. but even still…. that boner will go down… your “hard cock idea” will go soft whe you realise that you never got any credit…. never got any money …. never got to highfive someone pretty in the sun for this … it will probably be RIGHT around the time you are getting what you deserved for this . all you got was what you just gave me as i read about it. a heartsickening murmur and an INSISTANCE that we are dumb animals with no purpose and too much free time. we will continue to go to wars , we will die of disease , we will kill our children , we will shame our parents , we will steal from our family, we will poison the land that gives us life , we will deny the existence of the godly, and we will become extinct … this will not help you in the least in your quest to become immortal… if you were brave ( and shorty, i wont hold my breath for this NOWAY ) my door is open to return what ever else you found rummaging through my things without question, and i WILL forgive you….. and if you choose not to , you MUST seek the same forgiveness from yourself… for chipping away at someones security. this is and will always be a matter of the heart to me. you win . now please put the brakes on this before you hurt someone you DO care about.

Identity isn’t an issue; Sitek’s gripe is with M distributing property that (s)he didn’t own. Although M’s obviously remorseful, gotta wonder: Apology accepted? Or too little, too late?

UPDATE: “Reader Das” emailed to confirm that he is in fact Dave, and he posted this apology on YoungLiars:

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE TONE OF THE LETTER I WROTE A FEW HOURS AGO . I HAD THIRTY PEOPLE CALL ME WITHIN AN HOUR ASKING ME ABOUT THIS POST. MY FRIEND PETE THREW AWAY SOME SUITCASES OF MINE. SOMEONE WHO KNEW THEY WERE MINE, WENT THOUGH THEM , FOUND THE DISC, POSTED IT ONLINE… I FREAKED OUT (not thinking it was my suitcases discarded by a friend , which I DO KNOW is ultimately my own fault, but rather ASSUMED (wrongfully) it was from one of many boxes discarded by the firemarshall after a housefire) AND WROTE THIS POST. Since then , the story was told to me, by the person i was NOT VERY ARTICULATELY appealing to … his name is mike. he apologized… He didnt see what that would trigger in me… what affects it would have on me , my friends , and my ever dwindling sanity. i re-read the post , felt like i wrote it out of anger and confusion. i apologized to mike for my tone …. then read about how awful i am on a few websites by people like doing that sort of thing. by flipping out i connected with something i had lost… i am not taking down the post because i want to be reminded how much of an ass i can be, and if i forget , i am comforted by the fact that the blogs… the web… will always be there to remind me. i really do need to get “offline”. in a real way. goodbye online. goodbye blog. thanks mike.

Almost coming to some closure about this, right? Man we should be therapists. We are good.