In 2013, Matt Colbourn, Macaulay Culkin, Phoebe Kreutz, Deenah Wollmer, and Austin Kilham gathered in Culkin’s home to record a demo for their recently formed band. With Culkin on percussion and kazoo, Colbourn on guitar, Kreutz on the glockenspiel, Wollmer on the pizza box, Kilham on tambourine, and everyone chiming in on vocals, this was the beginning of THE PIZZA UNDERGROUND.
The Pizza Underground is a comedy/rock band, parodying The Velvet Underground by reworking their songs to be about pizza, pizza toppings, and pizzerias. They also reworked famous images such as the Andy Warhol Banana which they turned into the Anchovy Warhol Anchovy.
The band played a Lou Reed tribute show in November 2013, and from January to March 2014, they hit the road for a North American (Fresh to Your Door) tour. Now, The Pizza Underground is once again heating up for another North American tour, but before they are delivered to your city, here’s what they had to tell TUBE.
TUBE: How did you all meet, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Pizza Underground: Most of us are friends from the New York Antifolk community where there’s a real anything goes DIY attitude. Our Drummer Deenah Vollmer has been hanging around that scene since 2005. Macaulay Culkin’s friendship and artistic collaborations with Adam Green and Toby Goodshank brought him into the community as well. All of our friendships including those with band mates Phoebe Kerutz Matt Colbourn, Austin Kilham and Thomas Bayne were strengthened by pizza. Cheese is a real glue, you know.
TUBE: How has the response been? Have you found that people get it, or don’t? Because, though you’re a parody band, it’s also a tribute, right?
Pizza Underground: Yes, we are a parody band, everyone gets it – and gets into it. We belong to all scenes and no scenes. But Antifolk as been home to a bunch of us for a long time. It’s there that we honed the skills necessary to being in a pizza-related cover band: having fun, goofing off and making music using whatever is lying around. We are overwhelmed by the reaction of the fans to the band, and very grateful of course. Touring the United States, Europe and Mexico as a band has been incredibly rewarding and a lot of fun. What is really great, is that in each city we play in, we like to find a local pizzeria to provide pies for the crowd. It’s great to support local business, fans are excited about their hometown slice, and besides, it’s not very practical to fly pizza in from New York City where we are based, to say…. Paris, France where we are performing.
TUBE: Any plans on going into the studio?
Pizza Underground: It would be really fun to record something, for sure. We’ve also been working on a few original songs, which hopefully will see the light of day sometime. We’ve also been talking about branching out into other media. It’s possible, just possible that the pizza band thing won’t carry forever. We know that’s a controversial view of things, but we have to plan for all possibilities. So is the world ready for a Pizza Underground variety television show? We shall see…
TUBE: What is your favorite pizza, pizza place, and/or topping?
Pizza Underground: We really like the pizza at Joe’s on Carmine in New York. Basically a good plain cheesy slice is the way we like to go, however if we are pressed to choose a topping we like pepperoni best.
The Pizza Underground was scheduled to be playing the TBD FEST in Sacramento, October 3rd, 4th, and 5th, however their delivery driver must have received the wrong address because they were not on the bill. There may be a chance to still catch them on the road in a town near you. Check out their Fall tour dates on Tumblr.
Words Andrew Hooper