Biographic by Steve McGarry for May 21, 2006
Karen O, lead vocalist with the art-punk trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs, was born Karen Orzolek in South Korea on November 22, 1978. Raised by her Korean Mother and polish father in New Jersey, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio before transferring to New York Universities Tisch School of the Arts. In New York, she met guitarist Nick Zinner and formed the folk duo Unitard. Darwin to the punk scene, they quickly went electric, recruiting Brian Chase , a friend from Ohio, when the original drummer dropped out. They got support slots with the likes of The Strokes and The White Stripes, and soon there was a significant buzz about Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The band released an E.P. on their own Shifty label in late 2001- which was later reissued by touch and go-before appearing at the influential south by southwest conference in 2002. They toured the U.S. Girls Against Boys, Europe with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. And headlined their own tour of Great Britian. Later that year they released the "Machine" E.P. following U.S. dates with The Liars and Sleater Kinney. The group's full length debut "Fever to Tell" was released by interscope in 2003. Thanks in part to the hit track "Maps" the album eventually went Gold. Moving to Los Angeles, Karen O took time out to record with the Squeak E. Clean, a collaboration that provided the soundtrack to an Adidas Commercial, directed by Spike Jonze, her boyfriend at the time. But by 2006, Yeah Yeah Yeahs had reconvened, revealing a more mature and polished approach on the "Show of Your Bones" album.