How Would Duncan Sheik Spend $30,000?

Photo: Evan Kafka

I have twenty guitars—at least. But the first thing I’d do is get another one. The one I’d buy is a Gretsch guitar from the late fifties or early sixties ($6,500) from 30th Street Guitars. The quality control is really bad, so you have to search them out.

I’m constantly writing notes and lists and concepts for songs in unlined Muji notebooks ($4 for four). For my studio at home, I’d buy a vintage Telefunken Ela M251 microphone from the forties ($10,000). I just used one at Allaire Studio in Woodstock. It sounds like butter.

I’m listening to a lot of different things. There’s a Joanna Newsom CD, Milk-Eyed Mender, that I really want. She plays the harp and has a spooky voice. I’d buy it at Rocks in Your Head in Soho ($13.99). Also Björk’s Vespertine ($15.99): It’s one of the best CDs ever from the perspective of programming. It’s influencing what I’m doing now—setting this play about adolescent sex in the 1890s, Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, to music. I’d get a new copy of the Ted Hughes translation for everyone in the cast ($124.95).

I hate musicals, but I’ve spent five years working on one. It’s ridiculous that somebody would be talking to someone else and then start singing to them. So we’re making the songs internal monologues and soliloquies, like Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. The songs are a mix of English alt-rock and electronica.

I’ve been a practicing Buddhist since I was 19. Every morning and every evening, we do something called Gongyo—chanting. At the SGI New York Culture Center, they have really good smokeless Japanese incense called 21st Century Hoju Gold (4.5 ounces, $19.95). I met my girlfriend there, actually—or maybe it was at a Diane Von Furstenberg fashion show. The next thing I’d do is take her to the Four Seasons in Kona, Hawaii, for five nights ($2,800, plus $1,800 airfare). Then, since we’re indulging, another week at an Ashtanga yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico ($3,970).

Back in New York, I’d take her to dinner at Lupa ($140). I love their bucatini all’Amatriciana. And there’s this Vietnamese restaurant right next to the Odeon called Hoi An. I’d take the cast of Spring Awakening to dinner there ($661.17). I’d get a bottle of really good olive oil at Bazzini’s ($39.95). I don’t really cook, but I’m good at breakfast: I make a variety of egg scenarios. So I’d get some fresh croissants at Jin Market on Hudson Street ($10 for five).

Oh, I need a couple of really good custom-made suits. One gray flannel and one brown corduroy from Seize sur Vingt ($3,500) and two button-down oxford shirts from APC ($400). I need them because I want to be an adult. Now that I’m 35, I shouldn’t be wearing blue jeans anymore.

Reality Check
What He Really Spent Today
Genoa sandwich and soup at Kiva Café ($13.08)

iBook G4 laptop from ($1,259)

100 blank CDs from J&R Music World ($90)

Monthly Bikram-yoga membership ($140 with SAG discount)

Dinner for two at Pace ($136.28)

Total $1,638.36

How Would Duncan Sheik Spend $30,000?