Not My Job: We Quiz Sisters Este And Alana Haim On Another Sibling Band
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
One of the most important skills people have had to master this last year was having fun with their family. And after a year and a half of that, we never want to see any of those people again. But those skills might still come in handy.
BILL KURTIS: So as a model, here's Este and Alana Haim, who are not only sisters, but, with their third sister, Danielle, are the band Haim. Peter asked them about their first family band and their early gigs at a deli in Los Angeles.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)
ESTE HAIM: We had a band with our parents called Rockinhaim. It was a cover band. We would only play covers. And our first gig was when I think I was either 7 or 8, and it was at the Kibbitz Room. And we got paid in matzah ball soup 'cause that's, like, what the payment is there. And that was, like, our first gig. Like, my first gig was at a bar. I - we've - now, we're, like, actually friends with the Canter's family because they can't get rid of us. We're there - like, once every couple of days, you could find us at Canter's before COVID.
SAGAL: I - for people who don't know, Canter's is like the classic old deli in LA. It's in the Fairfax District, which historically was the Jewish district. And I just love the idea that one day - I don't know how long ago, 20 years - somebody walked in and said, hey, there's a nice Jewish family playing in the other room. Want to have a drink?
ALANA HAIM: Well, there actually was literally one person in the crowd. Like, it wasn't like a publicized...
TOM BODETT: Oh, my God.
E HAIM: No.
A HAIM: It was, like, one guy. There was like one guy that - he must have been, like, the guy that just goes there every night to just get wasted. And he was the only person there. He was sitting at the bar. And I remember there's like a - there's video of it, of me Este and Danielle. We were all wearing, like, butterfly clips and, like, Limited Too outfits.
E HAIM: Like, sparkly jeans.
A HAIM: Sparkly jeans. Like, I think my shirt said, like, soccer on it, like, soccer queen or something.
E HAIM: Or, like, 99% angel, like, 1% devil.
A HAIM: Angel, 1% devil.
SAGAL: Oh, my God.
A HAIM: And there was, like, a guy. There was a guy that could not believe that we were playing our instruments. And he - and in the video, you hear him screaming, like, this isn't real.
A HAIM: And you can see that. Danielle...
SAGAL: Wait a minute. You had one audience member.
A HAIM: We had a heckler.
SAGAL: And he was a heckler?
A HAIM: Yes, he was a heckler.
E HAIM: He was a heckler.
A HAIM: And you see Danielle, like, in the video. Like, she's doing, like...
E HAIM: Terrified.
A HAIM: Danielle's first solo that she just ever learned was "Hotel California."
HELEN HONG: What?
A HAIM: And she'd played the whole solo. And she was, like, 9 or 10. And the guy was like, where's the recording?
HONG: Wait, I can't even - can we just back up and talk about the fact that your parents pimped you out like the von Trapp family?
E HAIM: I know.
A HAIM: Well, it's actually a pretty crazy thing. My dad - so my parents have always loved playing music. They were never professional. They just, like - my dad played drums. My mom played guitar. And, like, her claim to fame is that she won "The Gong Show," like, when she was around my age.
PETER GROSZ: Oh, that's awesome.
A HAIM: And my dad always tells a story, like, that he had a dream, like, literally, like a prophecy, like a dream, that he woke up one night in the middle of the night and, like, woke up my mom and was like, I just had a dream that we had a band with the kids. And I think we should do it.
SAGAL: Oh, wow.
GROSZ: That's amazing.
SAGAL: How old were you at the time?
A HAIM: I was - when we started...
E HAIM: When we started playing guitar?
A HAIM: When we started, well, I was, like, 4 when we started Rockinhaim. And the only thing that I could play was, like, percussions. Look, I - my dad would give me, like, a cowbell and, like, a tambourine.
A HAIM: Like, very "Partridge Family"-style.
A HAIM: Like, the only thing I could play. And Danielle - I mean, Danielle started when she was how old, Este?
E HAIM: Danielle started when she was, like, 5 or 6...
A HAIM: Five or 6, yeah.
E HAIM: ...And surpassed me. Like, and I was, like, 8 or 9. And, like, imagine the older sister looking at the middle sister. And she's just like - she's literally like the Steve Van Zandt at, like, 6 years old.
E HAIM: And I'm sitting here like, I can barely push on the string.
SAGAL: So your parent - your father says I had this dream. We're going to be a band. And the fact that you guys were not like, this is crazy, this is weird, we don't want anything to do with this, but you were like, yes. And now you're, like, a huge hit band. You play "Saturday Night Live" and guest with Taylor Swift. This is really weird.
A HAIM: It is. It was cool, though, because the thing is, my parents every - we only had radio in our car. So we would only play K-EARTH 101, which was, like, the oldies station. But, like, we would record songs on a tape deck and then learn them by ear, like, with my mom. Like, we would all sit around and, like, learn the chords. And, like, for me, because we would pretty much only listen to K-EARTH, I was, like, learning songs that were on the radio not knowing that they were, like, really old songs.
E HAIM: Like, I thought the Beatles were, like, alive and well and playing in the morning...
E HAIM: ...Like, touring. I was like, we should go see these guys. They're really great.
E HAIM: I mean, once we got into, like, our teen years, it was, like...
A HAIM: Mom, we've got a little tougher.
E HAIM: ...Dad, we want to play, like, Sublime.
SAGAL: Your teen rebellion wasn't like, yes, we're going to be in a band just like you insisted that we are, but our rebellion is, we're going to shift our repertoire. Take that.
A HAIM: Yeah, right. Exactly. And...
E HAIM: So, like, growing up, we - I personally thought every family had a family band. So I didn't think that it was weird.
E HAIM: And it wasn't until I was in middle school or, like, fifth grade when I asked my friends - or my friends were like, we're going to go to the mall on Saturday, Este. Do you want to go? And I was like, I mean, yeah. But, like, aren't you in rehearsal?
SAGAL: How did you guys tell - once you guys hit it big, how did you tell your parents they weren't in the band anymore?
A HAIM: Well, I mean...
E HAIM: Come on. Yeah, we kicked mom and dad out of the band.
A HAIM: I mean, they were just stoked that we wanted to be in a band with each other. Like, they thought we were, like, killing each other by the time we were teenagers. It was never, like, a - you will play music, and you will be a rock band. It...
E HAIM: Oh, my God. It was the opposite, if anything.
A HAIM: We think it's funny, yeah.
E HAIM: Yeah, we're like - you think it's fun, but also get a job and go to college.
SAGAL: Are they still like that? Are they like, yes, playing "Saturday Night Live" is nice, but, you know, there is, like, a post-BA-premed thing you guys could do?
E HAIM: I mean, my mom and I still talk about - my mom's, like, do you ever think you're going to get like, you know, a master's degree? You could go now.
E HAIM: Wouldn't be that hard to get in. I'm like, mom, I...
A HAIM: We have to go on tour.
E HAIM: We have to go on tour, mom.
A HAIM: You know, education's important in this family. My parents gave up on me and Danielle.
E HAIM: Danielle and Alana were hanging out behind the dumpster at our high school smoking cigarettes.
SAGAL: Well, that also works if you're going to go into music.
E HAIM: Yeah.
SAGAL: Well, Este and Alana, it is a joy to talk to you. But we have invited you here to play a game we're calling...
KURTIS: You're My Wonderwall.
SAGAL: So you two with your sister are part of a successful sibling band. And, basically, you have one job. Don't be like Oasis.
SAGAL: That band's founding brothers, Liam and Noel Gallagher, became legendary for the feuds that led to the eventual breakup of the band. So we're going to ask you three questions about the Gallaghers. And if you answer two of them correctly, you will win our prize for one of our listeners.
E HAIM: Oh, my God. OK.
A HAIM: OK. Here we go.
SAGAL: Bill, who are Este and Alana Haim playing for?
KURTIS: Amy Lee of Phoenix, Ariz.
SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question about Oasis and the Gallaghers. Liam and Noel Gallaghers' fights and feuds were notorious for most of the band's career. In fact, someone once capitalized on their reputation for fighting by doing what - A, a special Liam and Noel edition of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots was released by Mattel, B, a nine-minute recording of one of their arguments was released as a single by a record label, or, C, a pair of tag-team pro-wrestlers who call themselves Croasis, and their gimmick was they'd always end up beating up each other?
A HAIM: Oh, my God. Este, do you know?
E HAIM: I actually - I think it might be B.
SAGAL: All right. It's B. That's what happened.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The single was released under the name "Wibbling Rivalry" and went to No. 52 in the British pop charts.
E HAIM: Crazy.
A HAIM: Honestly, we should cover it on our next record.
SAGAL: All right. Here's your next question. In 1996, the band appeared on MTV's live concert show "Unplugged," but Noel announced when he got onstage that Liam wasn't going to be there. Where was Liam? Was he, A, locked in the dressing room exactly where Noel had left him, B, at Noel's house, setting fire to it, or, C, in the audience heckling Noel?
A HAIM: Should we go to A? You think he locked him in the dressing room?
E HAIM: Let's go with A. Let's just see what happens.
SAGAL: Liam locked Noel in the dressing room. No, in fact, Liam was sitting in the audience, and he heckled.
A HAIM: Aw, that makes me angry.
SAGAL: You just need one more, and you win.
E HAIM: But we just need one more. We just need one more.
SAGAL: No one will ever remember you that long as long as you win.
E HAIM: OK.
SAGAL: Otherwise, it's lifelong shame. The brothers were famous for dissing each other in the press. Which of these was once said by Noel about Liam - A, quote, "the only thing that keeps me from punching him in the face every minute of the day is that he looks like me," B, quote, "he's like a man with a fork in a world of soup," or, C, quote, "I have immense respect for his musical talents, but, sadly, we have differing visions of what we next wish to explore"?
A HAIM: I think it's B, the soup one.
SAGAL: Do you agree?
E HAIM: My God, I'm so scared. Yes.
SAGAL: It's B, yes.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
A HAIM: Yay.
E HAIM: OK.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)
SAGAL: Bill, how did two of the Haim sisters do on our show?
KURTIS: They got two right. And here, you win with two.
E HAIM: Yay.
A HAIM: Yay.
SAGAL: Absolutely, it's all you needed, yay.
E HAIM: That's all I wanted.
SAGAL: Este and Alana Haim are two-thirds of the band Haim with their sister Danielle. Their new album, "Women In Music Pt. III," is up for album of the year and best rock performance at this year's Grammy Awards. Este and Alana, what an absolute joy to talk to you. Thank you so much for being on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
A HAIM: Thank you so much.
E HAIM: Thank you guys so much for having us.
SAGAL: That's it for our Fun Tutorial edition of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.