Yoni Wolf had been wearing the same Walnut Hills High off-white/yellow/brownish gym shirt all year with nary a wash. He'd discovered an abandoned 4-track in the basement of his father's synagogue the summer before,now his chubby freshman cheeks belied a secret love for home recording and bad poetry (a love not extended to jumping jacks and the infamous mile). Mom was an art book editor, Dad was a rabbi, Cincinnati was home. That lanky grunge kid doing push-ups at the end of the line...that was Doug. Doug McDiarmid was born in 1977, two years before Yoni, at Cincinnati's Christ Hospital. Since then he's been good at anything he does. His parents were both French teachers, and archetypical of the fair-weather Protestant/liberal-arts-supporting/rationalist movement in child rearing. Thus, Doug attended church occasionally, learned piano in kindergarten, and happily took to "alternative music" when he realized his lack of virtuosic masturbatory shredding ability on the guitar. He doesn't remember being in P.E. with Yoni, but Yoni remembers his wicked skater cut. Josiah Wolf graduated the same year as Doug, but while Doug was growing out his hair in Steve Miller cover bands, Josiah was beating the skins in Concert Band (he is, to this day a band dork,those scars don't ever heal). He'd been playing drums since the 4th grade, since his father sat him down on the synagogue stool and passed down the sacred sticks. Josiah played at worship service as a child, invented something called "chill metal" in his teens, and fell in love with Thelonious Monk on his way to the University of Cincinnati music conservatory. Matt Meldon lived on Ohio Street near the University, in a little apartment adorned with batik wall tapestries. He too was born and raised in Queen City, and was now studying jazz alongside the elder Wolf brother. For obvious reasons, he had a ponytail. Childhood was relatively simple: Pops worked and Ma watched Sis, while Matt listened to Jimi. He smashed his first guitar because it was too hard to play; today he shreds with masturbatory virtuosity. Matt was the last of the four to make the move out to California. Such are the humble and endearingly geeky beginnings of what we now know as WHY?,a folk-pop, indie-hop, sometimes-mustachioed, psych-rock quartet that operates out of the Oakland Bay Area under the bold banner of the anticon collective. At the band's helm is Yoni (all growed up), who,with his candytime-dissonant, singsong-suicide style,has recorded under the name "why?" for the best part of six years. After meeting fellow anticon tribesman Adam "doseone" Drucker in art school and subsequently dropping out, Yoni developed his signature sound over several projects: the lo-fi thought-rap of Greenthink (with doseone), the critically lauded dreamscape crunch of cLOUDDEAD (with dose and anticon DJ/producer odd nosdam), and the hushed bedroom aesthetic of Reaching Quiet (with nosdam). Yoni left the Midwest in 2001, went solo for two why? EPs and one brilliant full-length (2003's oaklandazulasylum), and now he's found a permanent home in his Berkeley bandmates. Yoni writes and sings mainly, but he's also known to dance, play any instrument he can get his hands on (piano, keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, harmonica), sample, and occasionally beat his chest like a gorilla. Doug (or "Death Metal Dug," as the others prefer) is the utility man, maneuvering such heavy machinery as pianos, guitars, samplers and turntables. Josiah plays drums, teaches drums to little kids, eats drums for breakfast, and sleeps drums at night. Driven by brotherly competition, he also plays anything that Yoni plays. Matt sticks to his guitars. Despite Yoni's proclivity for rampant collaboration (he's worked with Hood, Fog, DJ Krush, Boom Bip, Sole, Dept. of Eagles, and 13+God), WHY? is, and will continue to be, his first love.