Karen O and Brian Chase first met as students at Oberlin College in Ohio in the late ’90s, where Chase was a jazz student at the conservatory. Karen then transferred to New York University, and while in New York met Zinner in a local bar, where they formed an “instant connection”. During this time they also shared a loft in Manhattan with future members of the band Metric. The two formed an acoustic duo called “Unitard”, but they went electric after being inspired by Ohio’s avant-punk scene. After the drummer they recruited initially bowed out, Chase joined the line-up and decided to form a punk band similar to the “trashy, punky, grimy” art student groups that Karen had left behind in Ohio. The band wrote a slew of songs at their first rehearsal and soon wound up supporting the Strokes and the White Stripes, earning a significant buzz for their arty and garage punk scene. In late 2001, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their self-titled debut EP, which they recorded with Boss Hog’s Jerry Teel, on their own Shifty label.Early the next year the band stepped into the international spotlight, appearing at South by Southwest, touring the U.S. with Girls Against Boys and Europe with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and headlining their own U.K. tour. Wichita Recordings distributed the group’s EP in the U.K. and Touch and Go reissued it in the States.
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