The Pizza Underground

Macaulay Culkin in Pizza-themed Velvet Underground Tribute Band

By Jen Berube

When asked what they do for a living, not many people have the super cool chance to put on their best Lou Reed voice and say, “Me, I’m in a pizza band.”

But, there are five people in this world who can do just that and Macaulay Culkin happens to be one of them.

Culkin, 90s child star and future husband of my 11-year-old self, has collaborated with some of New York’s finest anti-folk musicians to form a band dedicated to The Velvet Underground and pizza. Cheesy? I think not. Awesome? Absolutely!

The Pizza Underground, formed in February 2012, consists of Matt Colbourn (guitar/vocals), Phoebe Kreutz (glockenspiel/vocals), Deenah Vollmer (pizza box/vocals), Austin Kilham (tambourine/vocals) and, of course, Mr. Mac Culkin (percussion/kazoo/vocals).

Last week, the band released a demo tape, recorded live at Culkin’s house, filled with a medley of mouth watering covers of some of The Velvet Underground’s biggest hits. Here’s the track list:

1. Papa John Says (Stephanie Says/ Caroline Says (II))
2. I'm Beginning to Eat the Slice (I'm Beginning To See The Light)
3. Pizza (Sweet Jane)
4. I'm Waiting for Delivery Man (I'm Waiting For The Man)
5. Cheese Days (These Days)
6. Pizza Day (Perfect Day)
7. All the Pizza Parties (All Tomorrow's Parties)
8. Pizza Gal (Femme Fatale)
9. Take a Bite of the Wild Slice (Take A Walk On The Wild Side)

If you still don’t believe that this is really happening, have a listen (really, you don’t want to miss out on this):

The Pizza Underground is already making waves in the social media world, no doubt because the content really markets itself and it doesn’t hurt that the band’s extraordinary kazoo player is a childhood crush of many late Gen Xers. The band has even done a couple live performances in New York, recently playing a gig at Comic Arts Brooklyn and taking part in the Lou Reed tribute show at anti-folk landmark the Sidewalk Cafe.

While some may disagree, I think this is a great tribute to the legendary Lou Reed, who passed away October 27th of this year. And, for that matter, a tribute to Andy Warhol, who managed the band in its early stages and produced their debut album, ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico.” Warhol’s contributions to the 60s Pop Art movement are still incredibly relevant today. Who’s to say, if alive today, Warhol wouldn’t have produced a painting of Papa John’s Pizza to join his Cambell’s Soup and Coca-Cola tributes?

After all, as Warhol said, "Pop art is about liking things.” And everybody likes pizza.

Published December 8th, 2013

Jen is a freelance writer based in Victoria, B.C. She graduated from the Humber College Journalism program in Toronto and has since spent her time writing articles and blogs for a number of publications. Jen was a music editor for Suite101 and contributed regularly to Zouch Magazine and Miscellany.