It all started last summer when I Googled myself and found out that my British singer-songwriter doppelgänger, Aaron Short, had moved to New York in hopes of making it big.
Who was this charming, rakish, significantly taller version of myself? Did he ever wonder who I was? Why did he rank higher than me on Google?
There was only one way to find out:
Aaron Short: How did you get your name?
Aaron Short: I was the third son to be born and my mom and dad bought a book of children’s names. When they opened it up and the first name was Aaron, they said, “Oh, that’s a great name.” So they asked a priest in the town how do you pronounce it and he said, “Erin.” So that’s why people say “Erin” when they see me.
AS: I pronounce it the same way, and people write down “Erin.”
AS: How did you get your name?
AS: Aaron is a family name, but the Short part is interesting. My family immigrated to the East Coast some 130 years ago and one of my relatives who was the first to pass through Ellis Island had his unpronounceable Yiddish name changed to “Short” because of his diminutive stature.
AS: So you’re not a real Aaron Short.
AS: Well, I am. Tell me, why did you come to America?
AS: I’ve always liked America. After experiencing everything in London I thought New York was a good step. I should ask you, why haven’t you moved somewhere else?
AS: That’s a hard question. Circumstance and family, I suppose. So who are your musical influences?
AS: I played classical music on the piano since I was seven but when I was 14, we started to have a Brit- pop moment. We had Oasis.
AS: I like Radiohead.
AS: All that Brit-pop stuff. Then when I was studying in college, I learned about the British stars in the 1960s, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin. I had never listened to those bands before. There’s so much music out there now. You just type a song and play it — it’s great but it’s scary too.
AS: What makes a good song?
AS: Honesty, writing about experience, definitely. Art is never wrong or right. Art is subjective. I used to think that I had to write a great song every time. And you just have to write something that’s the truth.
AS: What’s the difference between Manhattan and Brooklyn audiences?
AS: It seems like most of the people at shows in Brooklyn are musicians. In some ways, it feels like I’m being critiqued and I don’t like that. I like playing to non-musicians. I like how Williamsburg has an energy of creativity. Everyone is an actor, a dancer, a musician.
AS: That’s changed a lot in the past few years. Now we have families moving into condos, finance guys, and advertising executives.
AS: You know, bars like Union Pool, I think that’s an amazing place. You go in on a Tuesday and they’re playing music from the 1950s.
AS: Union Pool is where people go to hook up with 20 year olds.
AS: I think the 1950s are back though. Williamsburg is very Americana, country, and I think that’s going to be the next big thing.
AS: Do you miss England?
AS: I miss it. The humor is very different from America.
AS: We’re funny here.
AS: It’s funny — but it’s different. I make jokes on stage and get blank stares a lot.
AS: I get that too. Maybe it’s an Aaron Short thing.
AS: British humor is very self-deprecating. I’ll put myself down to get a laugh, but I always have to follow that up with “just kidding.” In America, you make fun of other people.
AS: We make fun because we’re actually better people.
AS: You make fun to big yourself up. We know inside that we’re good.
AS: Did you watch the Jubilee?
AS: I didn’t watch it. Prince Philip got sick. Everyone’s talking about it. I feel bad that I didn’t watch it.
AS: I didn’t watch it. I like tea though.
AS: I drink peppermint tea here. That’s frowned upon in England. They regard it as “fancy tea.” Tea in England is Tetley tea with milk and a biscuit. And you dunk the biscuit in the tea. Do you use that word, “dunk?”
AS: Yes, we use it for basketball. Tell me about your greatest failure.
AS: The worst gig I had was playing after the Super Bowl for a crowd that’s off their faces.
AS: What does that mean? Does that mean they’re drunk?
AS: Yes, they were drunk.
• • •
Aaron Short will end his five-year run reporting for this newspaper next week.
Celebrate legendary reporter Aaron Short’s career and achievements at Teddy’s Bar and Grill [96 Berry St. between N. Eighth and N. Ninth streets in Williamsburg, (718) 384–9787] June 21, 8 pm.
Aaron Short is playing shows in support of his album “Ten Songs About Truth, Lies and Other Things.”
See Aaron Short live at Kitty Kiernans [9715 Third Avenue between 97th Street and Marine Avenue in Bay Ridge] June 30, 11 pm – 2 am.
Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.