King Pizza Records: The Pizza Fest Story

pizza fest story

At the Brooklyn dive bar Don Pedro, cheap beer and awesome music make living easy. I was there for the first day of Pizza Fest, “an all out assault on non-fat, low carb music” from the Brooklyn rock label King Pizza Records (KP). This isn’t the rock played on commercial radio; it’s too lively and exciting and weird, an exhilarating onslaught.

Five bands played at Don Pedros that night, which is where I met Nemanja Mirkovic, who works seven days a week as a paralegal and doorman, but still comes to KP shows constantly. “I love all the energy, I feel refreshed,” he said. “When I go to work tomorrow I won’t be sleepy, just hungover.”

Greasy Hearts, who celebrated their new EP during their Friday Pizza Fest set, epitomize the KP sound. “Some people label it garage rock, or garage punk,” said guitarist and vocalist Peter Wilderotter, “but to us it’s just rock and roll, just pure, no bullshit rock and roll.”

They have an old school rock and roll mission as well. “Greasy Hearts is our lives. We’re really just trying to take over the world, what the fuck else are you supposed to do?” Wilderotter said. “We’re a beautifully dysfunctional family that writes great rock and roll music. It’s all that matters.”

Day one was the appetizer, and day 2 the meal– 8 bands on a Bushwick apartment building roof and three in a living room, featuring $2 pizza and beer until the last band ended past midnight. Mirkovic was sad to miss the first few bands because of his doorman shift – just about the only thing that will keep him from a show – but came over as soon as he could. “Work two jobs, listen to music, that’s how it goes,” he said.

Unlike the mega festivals, Pizza Fest did not exploit anyone; a weekend pass cost $13. The goal, according to Bettina Katie Warshaw (who helps run KP’s social media presence and helped produce the festival) was not making money, but fostering “this really great community of people who are friends and like to hang out and make music and have a great time.”

Warshaw – who also drums for Ma, not part of KP but a friend of the label, and Saturday’s opening band – said she was ecstatic with how the festival turned out.

“Everyone got the memo that Pizza Fest was a really big fucking deal and every band played their best,” she said. “The crowd Friday was insane. It was like they knew Pizza Fest wasn’t just another night, it was a thing. It was the place to be.”

Greg Hanson started KP several months ago after unsuccessfully pitching his band, The Mad Doctors (“fun, fuzzy punk rock”) to record labels. “I was in a good place financially and was like, fuck it, if no one else wants to put it out, then I’m gonna do it myself,” he said.

Hanson soon realized that a lot of other bands were in the same position, and decided to form a label, but without the traditional hierarchical structure. “We are all King Pizza,” he said. “This is not a monarchy.”

Instead, Hanson refers to KP as a cooperative, presently extending to about two dozen bands. “I want people in it to feel part of something bigger than they are, that is supporting them and making the process easier and more enjoyable because they aren’t in it alone,” he said. “So if you have a moment of weakness there will be someone there to say, ‘no, you guys fucking rock.’”

Hanson also wants the audience included in the KP community; he wants shows to “feel like your buddies house party where you can let loose and not be judged. It’s strangely amorphous because you can’t really pin-point how to create that other than having the right vibe, having people there putting out positive energy, and treating everyone like a friend regardless of who they are.”

These egalitarian vibes compel many to volunteer with KP. Megan Mancini helped produce Pizza Fest and shoots video for PIZZAVISION. She also plays lead guitar for Ma.

“We started playing shows with [KP bands] and they were really cool and really inviting and we were like ‘How can we help you guys do more of what you’re doing?’” she said. “I’ve done a lot of video stuff and worked for a lot of music blogs… I could give my energy to something where it often goes unappreciated or I could give my energy to my friends and try to make something really cool that we all have creative control over.”

The strength of KP’s community was clear from my introduction to the label, during the last “Saturday Revenge” event at Don Pedros, which unleashes “searing rock and roll fury” the second Saturday of every month. Hanson books the bands and helps produce the event; that night all the bands were on KP or friends of the label. The vibe was a bunch of friends putting on a rock show because they love music and each other, and revel in displaying this love.

Hanson, whose head is framed by a massive amount of hair (I heard him compared to Animal from the Muppets) set the evening’s tone while introducing the first band with the MC, Casey Regan. “The thing about Casey is– look at that flat stomach,” Hanson said. Regan lifted his shirt. “Oh wow,” Hanson said, and began drumming Regan’s stomach, which soon devolved into motorboating and long licks, producing orgasmic groans from Regan, his back arched, eyes rolling, hands rubbing the spit into his skin.

“You know how to turn me on,” Regan said, and they started the show. The love continued all night, imbuing the evening with a sense of community not seen at most concerts. I’ve often felt alone since moving here, among 8 million centers of the universe, but not at KP shows, as I’m surrounded by people wanting to be part of something special, something bigger than themselves.

Words by: Chris Russell

Lantern’s “Talking ‘Bout a Good Time” Mix #1

lantern rock n roll rorschach lp 2013 sophomore lounge

After featuring our hometown-heroes LANTERN in the 21st installment of our Friday’s Find, the band is abuzz again with the re-release of Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach. Cardinal Fuzz Records in Leeds just released the UK version of the album, which comes on gold colored vinyl limited to the first 150 copies. The album also comes with a separate CD including four bonus tracks from the band, not to mention a CD version of the whole album as well. If you haven’t taken the time yet to listen to the album, what the hell are you waiting for? Read our review of it from back in July.

From the desk of Lantern: “To celebrate the UK release of Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach, we put together a mix of songs, riffs, and vibes that helped influence the record. We hope you discover some new gems for your head-banging pleasure.” Below are some tracks from their mix, which you can listen to entirely by following this link here >> “Talking ‘Bout a Good Time”

You can purchase the LP now directly from Cardinal Fuzz. Again, the first 150 copies of the record come on gold vinyl and includes a CD with four bonus tracks from the bands previous 7″ singles on Goodbye Boozy and Mammoth Cave. There’s also the standalone CD version that also includes the same four bonus tracks, so the choice is yours!

BUY the newly released LP from Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK) – gold vinyl limited to 150, includes CD w/ 4 bonus tracks !
BUY the LP from Sophomore Lounge Records (US)

Related Posts:
Mr. Mars 7″ (Goodbye Boozy)
Friday’s Find: Rock ‘n’ Roll Rorschach LP (Sophomore Lounge)
Dream Mine CS (Bathetic)
Burned Youth CS (Night People)
Heavy Times, Brain Idea, Lantern Live in Philly (11/19/11)

Dead Luke’s “The Lucharist” Mix #3

dead luke non travellin band mix 3

Hello. My name is Dead Luke. This here is a compilation of some tunes I dig that was compiled for the fine ladies and gents of the fabulous STYROFOAM DRONE. Please listen completely in order to initiate Divine Transubstantiation in the ritual known as The Lucharist. (Divine Transubstantiation results are not guaranteed.)

If you haven’t heard, today marks the release date of the new Non Travellin’ Band cassette Never Prayed Once, out now on Moon Glyph!

???? – “Poor White Trash”
An unnamed hillbilly lamenting on the hardships of life and death. Did anyone cry for ’em? Maybe if you shed a tear you can render his point moot. Doubt you will though.

The Bugs – “Slide”
I’m not really sure what “doing the slop” may refer to, but all mental images the phrase conjures are pretty interesting. My money is on some sort of maneuver that the South has outlawed by now.

Cliff Cenneth & The Lights – “Come on Shake”
Ol’ Cliffy boy and his merry band of Krauts must have some sort of telekinetic mind control powers, cause every time they order me to “Come on Shake” my legs begin a movin’ on their own accord.

The Jagged Edge – “How Many Times”
Some of my favorite lyrical subjects including Thinketh For Thyself and Thou Can’t Telleth I And I What To Do. All wrapped up with handclaps so reverbed out that it sounds like someone being slapped repeatedly in the face while standing in the Grand Canyon.

Claude Cloud – “One Bone”
Claude Cloud and Co. clawing their way through a frantic R n B opus. You can even count along with ’em if you like.

Lefty and the Leadsmen – “Wildwood Fun”
I read a pretty good description of this one that says you can’t really tell Lefty is referring to the beach or the backwoods. Since I’ve got no beaches in sight and plenty of backwoods at my disposal, I always take the latter opinion.

The Bintangs – “I’m a Man”
These boys from the Netherlands take a different approach to Diddley’s classic by slowing it down and adding a nauseating bass line punctuated by quick flashes of guitar brilliance. Tuff stuff.

The Revels – “Conga Twist”
I’m a serious sucker for bongos and this one’s got a killer groove. Apologies for the skip at the end. Most of my records have started sprouting patches of hair that bear a striking resemblance to my dog’s. I have to pull a miniature Tribble off my needle every time a record ends.

Chico Leverett – “Work Work”
Chico lays down some hard truths about the day to day living most of us have to experience. However, if Daddy Warbucks and Mommy Moneybags are still wiping your chin and footing your bill, then this probably doesn’t apply to you.

Buddy Miller – “Teen Twist”
Mr. Miller probably should have put a safety disclaimer on this one. Twisting this hard can’t be good for soft, developing, adolescent spines.

Bobby Jameson – “Okey Fanokey Baby”
A song about a woman from a swamp riding an alligator, and it’s not even a country tune!

The Paragons – “Abba”
I still can’t decide if these lads are singing about going straight edge for a girl named Abba, or if they are using “Abba” in the New Testament sense to tell a girl that God has commanded them to get it on. Both are equally ridiculous so it doesn’t really matter I suppose.

Billy & the Moonlighters – “Little Indian Girl”
This creeper of a tune could be directed at a lady dressed as Pocahontas for Halloween from the sounds of it.

Me and Them Guys – “I Loved Her So”
Did a cover of this one for “God Takes LSD.” Can’t get enough of it. Take 2 chords, repeat, and you’re set.

The Kings – “It’s The LCB”
I feel like I remember reading a statistic that said you can get away with drunk driving something like 83 times in Wisconsin before you get busted. The Kings get busted by the ol’ Liquor Control Board three separate times in the span of three minutes. Time to pack your bags and move it to Wisco buds.

The Wheels – “Road Block”
Insanebeat by way of Ireland.

The Tigermen – “Tiger Girl”
I wouldn’t be surprised if these chaps only wore orange shirts with black slacks and ate Frosted Flakes for breakfast every morning.

Monty Python – “The Galaxy Song (Cosmic Meltdown Edit)”
Assisting Idle & Co. by putting a few grams of psilocybin in the mix. Gilliam would want it that way.

That’s it for now! Unlike Dead Luke’s previous mixes for Styrofoam Drone, hopefully we won’t have to take this one down. Hope you’ve enjoyed thoroughly!

Keep an eye out for,
Non Travellin’ Band – Never Prayed Once CS out now on Moon Glyph!

and also take a listen to,

The Lonesome Savages

Related Posts:
God Takes LSD (Moon Glyph)
American Haircut LP (Florida’s Dying)
Meanwhile… In the Midwest LP (Moon Glyph)
Record One 7″ (Sacred Bones)
Lonesome Savages – All Outta Love 7″ EP (Kind Turkey)
Find Dead Luke in our Top 25 Albums of 2010
Find Dead Luke in our Top 25 Albums of 2011
Born to Misbehave (Kind Turkey)

A Brief Conversation With Pamela

Pamela: Ashely, Courtney, and Chris

San Francisco’s Pamela are putting together their next release. I sat in with them last Friday at Temple Randolph Studios to observe their first session for the new record. It is being recorded by Jasper Leach and Brian Davy, of the Myonics and Symbolic Jews, on a vintage Tascam Midistudio 688 cassette recorder. Continue reading “A Brief Conversation With Pamela”

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light LP

Sweet Heart Sweet Light is the latest offering and sacrament from Spirtualized. Throughout his career guitarist Jason Pierce (aka J. spacemen) has provided us with multicolored  galaxy uppers, downers, screamers, and laughers. This album is definitely a downer. Like a potent mixture of Darvon and Valium this is the sort of rock & roll that would have killed Lester Bangs. Continue reading “Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light LP”

Serengeti – Kenny Dennis EP

David Cohn (aka Serengeti, aka Kenny Dennis) has released 11 solo albums in the last ten years, in addition to appearing on almost as many split and collaborative records. He is about to release a new EP through Anticon written entirely from the perspective of his O’Doul’s drinking alter-ego named Kenny Dennis. Continue reading “Serengeti – Kenny Dennis EP”

The Hussy – Dokks 7″

The Hussy are a two-piece trash band from Madison, Wisconsin. Last month they released a 7inch single: “Dokks” backed with “On the Cover”. I like this record! This band gets to the point, they make it, and they’re out. This entire single clocks in at under three minutes, making this the perfect record for today’s modern, drug-addled, hipster freak with an old, fucked-up turn table and a severely diminished attention span.

Continue reading “The Hussy – Dokks 7″”