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Westport graduate rocks on Letterman

NEW YORK CITY Dressed in black capes, an upcoming band with North Country ties rocked on The David Letterman Show. MGMT, comprised of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, appeared on the show on Jan. 8, performing Time to Pretend. Goldwasser is a 2001 graduate of Westport Central School. The performance was arranged through the group's record label, Columbia Records. The band arrived early for an afternoon recording in front of a live audience, which was broadcast later that night. It went well - it wasn't the best we ever played, but other than that I thought it was good, said Goldwasser. Goldwasser said the entire experience felt pretty strange. He said all the staff was very professional, although he didn't get a chance to meet Letterman himself. It was weird to be playing and standing next to David Letterman, said Goldwasser. Goldwasser and VanWyngarden formed the band while attending Wesleyan University during their freshman year in December 2002. The group's music is described as psychedelic pop. Goldwasser said the group's influences include a lot of 1970s rock. Goldwasser, who plays keyboard, starting learning the piano from his parents and grandmother. While in Westport, he was a member of the school band and in a couple of bands with friends. Going into music wasn't Goldwasser's intended career path. It wasn't what I was planning on doing on my life - I just ended up taking a lot of music classes, and decided it would be the easiest thing I would do, said Goldwasser. Growing up in Westport, Goldwasser said, helped shape his musical interests. In the isolated region, he wasn't exposed to popular culture as much as he might have been in a larger area. It kind of forced me to look for music to listen to - it wasn't in front of me, said Goldwasser. MGMT has begun to receive a lot of national attention, which Goldwasser said surprised him. MGMT was named to the Rolling Stones' Ten Artists to Watch list for 2008. Time to Pretend was also listed as an I-Tunes Song of the Week. The group's first CD, Oracular Spectacular, is due out on Jan. 22. It feels weird to all of the sudden see people watching us and expecting something extraordinary, and we're just doing what we do, said Goldwasser MGMT is going on tour, and will spend most of the next year on the road. They will perform throughout the United States and in Europe. It's definitely nice to be able to go a lot of different places. It's the best time in my life to do a lot of things, and help me figure out what I want to do in the rest of my life. I love traveling, said Goldwasser. He said there are currently no plans to play in the North Country region, although he'd like to. I'd definitely like to play closer to home, but we don't have anything planned yet, said Goldwasser. The group is located online at www.myspace.com/mgmt .

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