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 YoungLiars.com, 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.

Comments (120)
  1. Kyle  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    I’ve always thought that Sitek was a dick. Not that he wasn’t justified in responding the way he did…but talk about a massive over-fucking-reaction.

  2. kevin  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    damn. sitek debunked my myth that if i find any karen o/yyy’s rarities and share them that i will instantly become the highlander with a rock hard cock.

    really though, if you leave the disc behind with other junk you deem too worthless to take with you it’s pretty much out of your hands. get over it, dude.

  3. that was scathing. yikes.

  4. Jamie  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0


    Imagine if something REALLY serious happened to Dave Sitek.

  5. dom  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    As much as I love TVOTR, I downloaded the demos about a minute ago just to spite Sitek. Jackass.

  6. Matt Jones  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Hmm. That’s a crazy situation and while obviously Dave’s gonna feel like an ass when he talks to Karen again, the action of putting it on the internet COULD have been thought out a little better, because that’s Karen’s stuff, not ours. Everyone’s fucked, except of course the voyeurs among us that want to hear it. I know I want to, but I don’t know if I have the stomach for it now….first reaction was to follow the link, and I dare say most of you are with me. Hasn’t it been taken down yet?

  7. randy  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Wow, that guy has no sense of proportion.

    Plus his band is overrated and they might as well be the New Radicals.

  8. Mark Swiderski  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Yikes, someone get that guy a Xanax.

  9. corey  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Apparently some home demos being found and posted online is now the equivalent of BETRAYING MANKIND!

    Like Kevin said, if Sitek left it behind with some other junk obviously it wasn’t important enough to remember.

    My fave part: “now please put the brakes on this before you hurt someone you DO care about.” Clearly this guy who found it is a menace, doing irreparable harm to everyone in sight, and gee willickers, his loved ones MIGHT BE NEXT!

  10. David  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    No harm, no foul. When you vacate the premises and leave behind a bunch of shit, it’s finders-keepers time. Just ask the collective attics of America.

    (Though I did forget a pair of sunglasses in a hotel room one time that I’d really like back, come to think of it. Maybe I’ll sic Sitek on the desk clerk.)

  11. since my site is one of the sites currently making one of the tracks available i dont know if i should leave it or take it down. im not worried about the guy from tvotr but im most worried about karen. like i mentioned, its really an emotional experience to hear these songs. im kinda conflicted over this one…

  12. Ferris  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    To paraphrase Chuck Klosterman, biggest douche since that narc from Metallica. And I ain’t talking about that guy who posted the mp3s, neither.

  13. bryan  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    haha is this dude serious? this is the biggest overreaction i’ve ever seen. the whole “we will…” part is downright fucking hilarious.

    what an overdramatic douchebag.

  14. Ferris  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Naw, I can’t let this one go as simply as that. Number one, fuck TVOTR guy: even if he didn’t “abandon” two suitcases, fuck that self righteous prick. To come out and say, “Man, I’m fucking pissed, that was my shit” is one thing, but “I’m going to forgive you”? Thank you, Oh Great Chosen Son of God. I hope every song you’ve ever recorded is illegally downloaded onto someone’s Zune and squirted across the fucking Cosmos. Go play damaged artist with Lars Ulrich while you drink champagne and admire his eight million dollar collection of modern art masterpieces. And two, any artist these days has to realize anything they’ve ever recorded is going to have the potential to be illicitly released (“Beans” by Kurt Cobain, people? He made it when he was flippin’ four years old). Dontneedanything: don’t worry about poor vulnerable Karen O. She’s got bigger problems. If the material were so heartfelt and personal, she wouldn’t go around making CD-Rs of it and giving it to guys who value it so much they leave it in an apartment with some guy he owes two months back rent to.

  15. Lamppost  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Shouldn’t all the people who are upset at this guy for leaking the tracks be upset at Sitek instead for leaving something which apparently had so much sentimental value in a box in an apartment he no longer lives in?

    Just asking.

  16. matt  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Why isn’t the ‘Gum critquing Sitek’s terrible grammar, incomprehensible syntax and inarticulate response? Stereogum beat Firecrotch to hell a for her poorly-written letter of condolence. At least she had good intentions.

    Is it okay for Sitek because his band is like, completely brilliant?

  17. NINRoadie  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    What a hypocrite…you know he stole Trent Reznor’s sweat-soaked, shit-stained boxers on their Summer tour…those are pretty personal.

  18. Ferris  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    One more thing, and then I will put to rest my own self righteous ramblings to rest: dude, you play in a BAND, which, despite what the uber-demographic of 14 to 23 year old hipsters think, amounts to exactly nothing at all. When you’re ready to come back to planet earth, give us a call.

  19. i move that cease and desist letters now be called “WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?” letters.

    lawyers, don’t forget the CAPS.

  20. Dean  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    But um, Ferris. The rest of us that actually have the temerity to be living on planet earth and not floating around like some trippy musician don’t do shit either. So mmmm .. red herring.

  21. Nate  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    We must figure out more ways to betray Dave Sitek. Talk about a Douche McCallister.

  22. I just wanted to take this opportunity to publicly ask for some assistance: When I moved into my current place of residence there were three (3) empty 40oz bottles of Olde English 800, a slightly-worn copy of James McPherson’s ‘Battle Cry of Freedom,’ and half a used condom.

    Knowing people never willfully abandon objects when they vacate apartments — especially in New York — I’ve carefully preserved these items in hopes the rightful owners one day reclaim them. So: If you know to whom these items belong please e-mail me at youvegottobefuckingkiddingme (at) gmail (dot) com. Or, at the very least, send me Mr. Sitek’s mailing address. Because it really sounds like he could use half a condom and a good book.

  23. Ferris  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    My point exactly. I may not do shit, but at least I don’t go around pretending that playing a barre chord actually means something.

  24. Boner Patrol  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Did this guy have a word count he had to meet?

    Did a painfully white guy just use the word ‘shorty’?

    These are the questions I need answered.

  25. JobCain  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Don’t hate on Sitek for this.

    Sitek’s response was a definite overreaction and he was wrong to leave behind belongings that were supposedly so sacred that the loss of them would make him foresee the apocalypse, but he accomplished exactly what he sought to do with his response.

    He called someone out who found someone else’s creative works and distributed them without consent. He pointed out that the person who found them may be a person with poor moral responsibility & artistic respect.

    The “finders keepers” argument is valid in the sterile possessive sense but not in the moral sense. It’s one thing to move into an old house in the country and finding old letters and clothing from the 50′s in the attic. It is entirely different to find something that has a social importance today and know how to contact its owner but choose to carelessly distribute it anyway (even if it’s just being sent to one person).

    Get past his hyperbole and he’s right.

  26. JobCain  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    PS, I didn’t mean to say that these demos have significant social importance. Their importance is very minor – it’s the principle of the thing.

  27. fred  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2006 0

    Sitek just feels bad because he left something personal his friend Karen gave him in a pile of junk , so he’s taking it out on the guy who actually values the object, unlike Dave who before it hit the internet obviously didn’t give two shits about what happened to the demo that Karen girl gave him.

  28. c.portis  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    lets be rational: maybs he was talking about the return to cookie mtn leak back in Springtime 06. cause, that was like, his own band’s major label debut and stuff, me thinks. this “karen” is prolly just his producer or something.

  29. JT  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0


  30. Ben  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    Sitek is an obnoxious douchebag who should go have sex with himself. God, I really wish I could pleasure myself everytime I leak something onto the internet. Boy, that would be the life. All I want is a big boner everytime I download something illegal, that would be awesome.

  31. Christopher  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    To shoot it straightly, Sitek – FUCK. OFF. “Cookie” sucks and I didn’t buy it, thank god. You’re crammin’ it up your own ass over a goddamn CD-R of Karen O, for fuck’s sake. If someone stole your unpublished Salinger manuscript, that’d be a different story.

    I say we all send the “offender” sympathy cards, poor bastard’s already feeling sore.

    P.S. I bet his shitty production is all over that demo. There’s someone who’s never going to be a producer worth remembering.

  32. bigredfro  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    re: JobCain

    1. Karen made the recordings. She can be pissed her music has been disseminated.

    2. Unless M intentionally posted the recordings to profit or somehow harm Karen, he/she hasn’t done anything wrong morally. (So long as he/she takes the mp3s down if asked.) Did this CD-R come with warning labels or what?

    3. Sitek doesn’t have standing to be pissed. As many others have pointed out above, it’s his fault that the recordings are out. That’s probably why he freaked out… he’s feeling guilty. Like your girlfriend finding out you donated clothes she gave you to goodwill. Or that you regifted.

    Laters, y’all.

  33. rgr_moore  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    ROFL J

    best reply i’ve read in a while

  34. Jose  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    I sooo just deleted TVOTR off my iPod. Not that it wasn’t on it’s way off anyway… boner city.

  35. DuaneWayne  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    I recently moved into an old house in the country and found old letters and clothing from the 50′s in the attic. I read one of the letters. It said “Tonight I enter my time machine ?- naked -? to carry this warning to the future: Beware, 2007! Sitek is a tool!”

  36. Mike T  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    this is totally lame. and i hate the attitude toward this person “M” it totally ridicious. Personally if I was an artist I would expect old demos to leak out to the rest of the world. i just thought the response was totally unprofessional. Plus its Sitek’s own damn fault, if they were so important than why did he leave it. And trust me, I know how things leak very easily and quickly..i feel bad for “M”

  37. Mike T  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    this is totally lame. and i hate the attitude toward this person “M” it totally ridicious. Personally if I was an artist I would expect old demos to leak out to the rest of the world. i just thought the response was totally unprofessional. Plus its Sitek’s own damn fault, if they were so important than why did he leave it. And trust me, I know how things leak very easily and quickly..i feel bad for “M”

  38. Mike T  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    this is totally lame. and i hate the attitude toward this person “M” it totally ridicious. Personally if I was an artist I would expect old demos to leak out to the rest of the world. i just thought the response was totally unprofessional. Plus its Sitek’s own damn fault, if they were so important than why did he leave it. And trust me, I know how things leak very easily and quickly..i feel bad for “M”

  39. Stephen  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    The principle of the thing is that when it comes down to it, it’s Sitek’s fault. He obviously didn’t respect the work enough to keep it, so why should he lambast someone else for merely letting some fans have it for free? People in glass houses…

  40. KS  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    The funniest part to me is that he points out more than once that M isn’t making any money off of it, which could have been a very attractive option. In that case, MAYBE Sitek would have been somewhat justified in freaking out so grandiosely.

  41. Jeremy  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    oh jesus who cares. the demos suck slightly more than dave’s band.

    and……i’m through.

  42. frankie teardrop  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    wah wah wah, life goes on david sitek

  43. Ryan  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    Wow, whatever you feel about Sitek’s response (and it was an overreaction, obviously), ad hominem is not the answer. Dissing TVOTR doesn’t help your argument against him.

  44. hal  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    The only situation worth an overreaction to that degree is if this lost demo was to be put on ebay and bid off…

    Good thing Lou Reed’s band’s demo thing didn’t have that happen to it.

  45. david sitek  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    this is sitek and everyone is mad , but come on! i leave for tour and this guy throws my shit out and now i find out THIS way? …. the guy in question has left things at my studio… should i give them to you ? my house burned down and i have no idea what the fire dept did with ALOT of personal stuff…. so i went crazy… and then i got over it … THEN i heard that this happened ( not knowing pete would ave even THOUGHT to throw my stuff away ( he got married and i know he was planning to pick up his amps -which i didnt post …..what would YOU have thought…? i am nuts … and yes, a dick, but i dont believe you are much different … i am human …. that was a gift to me and i lost it along with perspective… over the last year… it really does hurt that this was thrown out by someone i know… really well … i never would have dreamt it … i ASSUMED it was from the trail of things i lost during a fire … i was wrong… the person who apologized is remarkable… your instant dive into tearing me up on a blog …. is curious. if any of you want to bash my face in/showme that you are a better person/forgive me , you can do it directly… junoswift@yahoo.com

  46. Sable Starr  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    Apparently nobody here has ever created anything. Songs do not magically appear out of nowhere, they are crafted over time, with many imperfect rough ‘drafts’ along the way. You’re an asshole if you’re making judgements about these songs. They aren’t intended to be heard, not to mention critiqued.

    The songwriting process is very personal. If someone stole your half-completed song you, too, would be mortified at the prospect of someone listening – not to mention half the internet (and the fickle, bitchy indie rock half at that).

    The TVOTR dude is rightfully upset because he feels protective of Karen’s work. He feels indirectly complicit in its being exposed without her wanting it out there. He knows how mortified *he* would be if his half-completed sketches were ever released agains his will.

    Respect KO the person, if not the artist. Don’t wallow in some pathetic schadenfreude about her creative violation.

  47. corey  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    Dave, our “instant dive into tearing [you] up on a blog” is really just a reaction to your ridiculousness which you then intepret as tearing you up because you are blind to your own pretentiousness. YOU were the one to rip into this other guy and attempt to tear him a new one (but still grant him forgiveness from up high on that mountain of yours), but now you get mad cause other people take a swipe at you? Grow up.

    Also, how is anyone supposed to understand that incoherent rambling? Are you kidding me? You couldn’t have taken five extra minutes to just use a sentence?

  48. dave,
    if you’re still reading, i think you should know that as fans, WE want the apology now. i’m young and impressionable and i saw you as a music figure worth something. everything i’ve read from you has appeared well thought out and well intentioned and that has made me enjoy your music infinitely more but after seeing such a scathing attack on an individual who wouldn’t even have had to make this decision had you been more careful with your ‘valuable’ belongings, i’m just let down.

    you lost your temper. you overreacted. you downright said hurtful things. apologize. take some of your own advice. get some perspective and realize that NO ONE will remember these sub-par demos in two months, let alone two years. if anything, your pedantic rant has proliferated the story of an otherwise unremarkable finding.


  49. david sitek  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    this person knew that this belonged to me. i am making NO claims that i should have left something with a friend , but i was freaked out because of the phrase “unearthed in dave’s apartment”.. it scared me . you dont have to care about that ( and yes two of you do) and it scared me. but i know its funny to laugh at me. to hate my band . to tell me to fuck myself , to call me a douchebag, etc.. but really i am grateful that the person who posted it was not one of you… and i did mean what i said about forgiveness… i meant it in a human way , not a biblical way, but that wouldnt be as funny to say, so carry on… i will end my public dialogue about this here ….. mike. i cannot thank you enough! really. i am grateful.
    bye lovers!

  50. hato  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2006 0

    did that guy say he stole Trent Reznors sweaty, shit-stained boxers?


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