After leaving a pretty legit job in the music industry to pursue writing, I’ve had the pleasure of deciding what shows to attend and what bands to interview, rather than feeling forced to be fully engulfed in one scene and completely overlook so many others (art, literary, etc) One of these recent pleasures was spending not one but two weekends with New York-based band The Pizza Boys … not just because their music is rad (reminiscent of CBGB-era punk rock i.e. when it was FUCKING AWESOME) but because they are individually and collectively some of the nicest people I’ve ever come across. And I’ve been reckless and drunk enough to come across A LOT of people.
The first weekend I chatted with them at Union Hall because I was severely drunk from throwing a salon (“Are you sure you’re not Gertrude Stein”- the bass player Al asked me) … and the second weekend was at a house show of theirs at an amazing loft in BK, with a few bands, a few free tattoos, and some awesome people.
A lot of NYC bands should take a page from their book- their insanely talented, genuinely nice/kind, and have a style that is wicked. Read the interview below and lets all start some really weird, cultish The Pizza Boys fan club, cuz #Brooklyn.
KP- So, how did you guys meet/start the band?
Reiley (singer/guitarist)- Yuki was the first one in the band besides me. I met our old drummer who had to leave New York and she knew Yuki and she introduced us … it’s been about a year
Yuki (drums)- Less than a year, maybe like ten months
KP- So wait you guys have been a band for a year?
Reiley- Almost a year … and I knew Kaiyu through school actually, and he started playing saxophone kind of recently, over the summer probably
(side note: later we learn that Kaiyu started learning sax in elementary school, but picked it up again over the summer)
Al (bass)- How did you guys do that?
Reiley- I don’t remember he just started learning saxophone and he asked me if he could play and I was like obviously
KP- And you incorporate sax in a lot of your songs?
Reiley- Not all of them but most of them
KP- So who writes the songs?
Reiley- I write the songs
Kaiyu (saxophone)- I wrote one song
KP- what song is that?
Kaiyu- ‘Saxophone guy also sings’
Reiley- … And then Al we met on Craigslist. She’s a Craigslist junkie
Al- I am a Craigslist junkie!
KP- So do you guys see a lot of support, since you’ve only been around like a year? Whats the reception?
Reiley- We’ve been playing a lot of show lately, when we first started out I was emailing venues constantly and like harassing them to get into shows but not anymore
Al- Yeah we’ve been playing a lot …
KP- Are you close with any bands in particular?
Al- The Wedge. They are this great blues rock band … they’re so fucking epic. We played with them at Baby’s All Right … it was incredible, they got a floor tom in the middle of the crowd … it was such a party
KP- What are your top bands/the bands you get the most influence from?
Reiley- I would say David Bowie is my all time favorite but lots of The Stooges, Richard Hell, Ramones, all the 70s New York … Cramps too.
KP- Have you read Richard Hell’s ‘I dreamed I was a very clean tramp?”
Reiley- Yes! It’s so good!
KP- I have it at home … I’ve been meaning to read it …
Yuki- I like punk, same as Reiley … Johnny Thunders, Iggy Pop … Iggy Pop is my hero.
Reiley- Me too. You are Iggy Pop, Yuki.
Yuki- My taste and Reiley’s taste is the same.
Kaiyu- Telex. I listen to their music while playing.
Al- I’m going to give you one track. Can I write it down for you?
(pause while Al writes track in my old-school notebook)
Al- 4’33” by John Cage. It’s my inspiration for music.
Yuki- She’s crazy … she likes The Doors.
Al- I love The Doors, and a lot of jazz. But the best punk band right now is Parquet Courts … anyway 4’33 that’s my track … I pull all my musical inspiration from that.
KP- And where are you guys from?
Reiley- Raleigh, North Carolina
Yuki- Yokohama, Japan
(pause interview to listen to 4’33” on Al’s phone; “It sounds like nothing” -Yuki)
KP- Kaiyu where are you from?
Kaiyu- China … Shanghai
Al- LA … born and raised. I was made in LA, like American Apparel.
KP- And have you guys been on tour yet?
Reiley- Not yet, we are planning a tour for the summer though.
Al- We can tour California, all up and down the coast.
Reiley- Yes! Let’s do it. Three week tour
(pause interview to talk about cheap bastards who try to ride on the bands coattails and go to tour for free. “as long as they bring booze”- Reiley)
KP- What would you guys consider your goal? What’s your dream out of all of this?
Reiley- Pretty much to do what we are doing- play shows, write music, go on tour, record, and make a living off of it
Al- I’m just in it for the drink tickets … two drink tickets and I’m good.
Kaiyu- I want to be a painter …
Al- But what about the band?
Kaiyu- I don’t know I want to be a better saxophone player
Al- Yuki what’s your dream for the band?
Reiley- Fortune and glory?
Yuki- I don’t care as long as I can play punk. I just want to play punk. That’s it.
Reiley- Fortune and glory
Al to Reiley- You’re the only one with ambition, the rest of us are just in it for the booze and the music! You’re like I’m gonna pay rent with this
Reiley- I usually don’t I end up drinking with it
… and then we stopped the interview to check out the band tattoos by Kaiyu and naturally to have a photo shoot: