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06/30/2008 12:29 PM ET
Fiery Furnaces heat up for the White Sox
Indie rock duo sings baseball's praises
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The Brooklyn-based brother-and-sister rock act known as the Fiery Furnaces is known for multi-layered, highly conceptualized, deeply personal and complex music and whirlwind live shows that border on insanity.

Lead vocalist Eleanor Friedberger and her keyboard-playing and songwriting brother Matthew have been delighting fans and confounding traditionalists since their inception in 2002.

Their latest album, Widow City, was released last year to critical acclaim, and they're slated to drop a live compilation album, Remember, in August.

In the midst of one of their hour-long live revues that takes bits and pieces of songs and melds them into dramatic, sometimes pleading journeys of apparent torment and catharsis, it's tough to imagine the two of them sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium on a lazy Sunday afternoon, eating hot dogs and having a good time.

But, alas, the Fiery Furnaces are baseball fans, too.

That's what MLB.com/Entertainment's Andrew Becker found out when meeting up with the duo at the recent Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., just a pop-fly away from the backstage Major League Baseball Road Show batting cages.

"It means a lot," Matthew said of playing Bonnaroo. "It's beautiful to play outside on a summer day because it's the closest thing us rock bands get to playing a day game in baseball."

Matthew and Eleanor grew up outside of Chicago and have pleasant memories of their early days as die-hard White Sox fans. Matthew even credits a White Sox employee for musical inspiration, believe it or not.

"I often play the keyboards, and my biggest influence as a keyboard player is Nancy Faust, the White Sox's longtime organist," Matthew said. "I can't play as well as Nancy Faust, but I play the organ often."

His sister quickly chimed in by saying, "He sounds like he's playing at a baseball game," to which Matthew added, "That's what I strive to."

Matthew also mentioned that he cried when the South Siders finally won a World Series in 2005, and he has no love for the Cubs.

"I grew up with a lot of Cubs fans," Matthew said. "I don't really want to wish them bad, but I hate the Cubs. They get what they deserve, in my opinion, and they deserve to lose."

Wow. Harsh.

But on a lighter note, Eleanor said she had wonderful memories of her days as a varsity softball catcher and even as a Little Leaguer, when she got to run the bases at the old Comiskey Park.

"It was like a dream come true," she said. "Just like playing at Bonnaroo."

Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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