“When the band wasn’t successful, all my neighbors thought, Oh, he’s probably in some shitty band, smoking pot. But he’ll still never pay for the bagels.” Speaking of which, he insists on soldiering his way through an egg-and-cheese—with cries of “Ow!And then when things started going better, everyone was like, Oh, he must be mentally ill.” Coming home still seems like a pleasant regression for him. ” about once a minute—against his dentist’s order that he stay off solid foods lest he bite his numb cheek and start bleeding.When he drives me to meet his mother, Shira, for a quick bite at a local bagel shop, Antonoff doesn’t even bring a wallet. “We can get my mom to pay.” “He has this thing he does—‘I didn’t bring my wallet,’ ” says Rachel. “You have a little bit of lip droop,” his mother says soon after she walks in. ” Then she apologizes; it’s probably her genes that made him so prone to cavities despite regular flossing and brushing. She takes it a little far for me.” “You don’t need to have an opinion,” says Antonoff, kneading his face. ” It turns out I’d seen Antonoff’s mother before, though we hadn’t been introduced. Which is like the final frontier of friendly.” Antonoff is also a spill-your-guts-to-anyone-you-meet kind of guy.
He tells her he had “another close call with a root canal”; this visit, like the last one, ended with a horrifying, moment-of-truth drilling. I tell him she asked Meyers a question about Bill Hader’s SNL character Stefon in an audience Q&A (“She did?! The first thing he does when he walks onto any plane is sterilize the seat with anti-bacterial wipes, he says.
The real surprise, though, came when he went to check out. “Everyone looks at me like I’m a fucking nut, but when was the last time you saw someone clean a plane?
“They informed me that you’re no longer paying for it? “They were like, ‘All right, see you next time.’ I was like, ‘Send the bill to my house.’ And they were like, ‘We were told not to do that anymore.’ And I was like, ‘Really? It’s just gross.” He always hugs hello and good-bye—that’s not just friendliness; he avoids shaking hands.
He’s just completed the second of three rounds of major dental work and has been injected with Novocain “everywhere,” he says. I can’t feel anything.” Antonoff’s eyes are pink and watery, and he keeps cocking his jaw and groaning, but that doesn’t stop the 30-year-old fun. ); vinyl albums by the Stones and the Allman Brothers nailed to the wall; and a walk-in closet filled with the most impressive Star Wars memorabilia collection I’ve ever seen: figurines spilling out of three full bookcases and guarded by life-size cardboard cutouts of a Storm Trooper and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
” Jack Antonoff asks, opening the door to his childhood home in suburban Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
guitarist from cheerily showing me the room he grew up in, every surface (including the ceiling) covered in posters and memorabilia—Beatles dolls next to Anthrax stickers and Wayne’s World stills; windows covered in faded concert tickets for bands from Depeche Mode to the Max Weinberg 7; one wall just for Jimi Hendrix; another for skateboarding, ska, and Green Day (the band that got him started playing guitar); countless Broadway-cast albums and Playbills (Grease! (Antonoff’s bar mitzvah was Star Wars–themed.) I nearly step on the envelope his good friend Taylor Swift gave him when she announced fun.’s Grammy nomination for 2012 Album of the Year.“I don’t know where to put this shit,” he says, pointing at a slew of gold and platinum records, mostly strewn on the floor.He thinks the “coolest” one is the platinum record for fun.’s 2012 Some Nights album. “But selling a million albums feels like an impossible thing to do.” He seems totally at home here, which isn’t surprising since he never technically moved out.He lived with his parents full-time (or as much as anyone who tours eight months a year lives anywhere) until only a year and a half ago—after fun.’s “set the world on fi-ire” rallying-cry single “We Are Young” went five times platinum and spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, hit No.1 everywhere from Australia to Mexico, won the Grammy for Song of the Year, got covered on Glee, and appeared in two Super Bowl commercials, for Chevy and Taco Bell.That’s when he got a place with his older sister, fashion designer Rachel Antonoff, on the Upper West Side and then, soon after, moved in with his girlfriend, Girls creator and star Lena Dunham, in Brooklyn Heights, both times leaving all his stuff behind in New Jersey. album, 2009’s Aim and Ignite; and where he dreamed up his deeply personal, ’80s-nostalgia solo project, Bleachers, its first album out next month; and where he probably began plotting his one-man takeover of the pop-song ghostwriting industry—which happens to be going pretty well: He co-wrote Taylor Swift’s Golden Globe–nominated “Sweeter Than Fiction” and Sara Bareilles’s “Brave.” “I never felt compelled to move out,” Antonoff says.