Macaulay Culkin’s band The Pizza Underground drew a large crowd to a Fifth Ward basement last night David Bedford
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A Fifth Ward basement was home to an “only in New Brunswick” moment last night, as a pizza-themed cover band and its famous lead singer entertained a crowd of nearly 200.
While live musical performances in basements are common throughout the Hub City, last night’s show was unique because of the headliner: The Pizza Underground, and its frontman, former child star Macaulay Culkin.
Those in attendance, mostly young people who paid $5 or $10 admission, gathered to see an older version of the child star of several films they had grown up watching, including “Home Alone” and “Richie Rich.”
The band is known for their altered imitation of the critically-acclaimed Velvet Underground and its lead singer Lou Reed, replacing the lyrics with pizza-related imagery.
Shortly before 9pm, Culkin and the band’s four other members entered the basement performed a 15-minute set, changing the lyrics of several classics such as “Take a Walk on The Wild Side” (“Take a Bite of The Wild Slice”) and “Perfect Day” (“Pizza Day”).
A city with few affordable venues for live music, especially those for all ages, New Brunswick has a rich tradition of underground performances in residential basements. In fact, The Velvet Underground helped to spark that tradition with a New Brunswick basement performance four decades ago.
Word of mouth, combined with an invite-only Facebook event, attracted the large crowd to a basement known as “OutWorld” according to promoter Alex Nyman.
There, The Pizza Underground captivated the audience with layered harmonies from microphones hanging from the basement’s water pipes.
Event organizers said the group had expected a bit too much out of a New Brunswick basement.
In addition to five microphone stands, which were not provided, a rider shared on Facebook showed that the band had requested numerous amenities for their makeshift green room.
From bottles of expensive alcohol to plates of fresh fruit, hummus, and chips, the band’s requests were not met in most cases.
The strangest request called for: “one (1) poster of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ hanging in the green room prior to bands arrival.”
According to sources, The Pizza Underground settled for tea, popcorn, cheaper alcohol, and naturally, pizza.
Although the crowd was rowdier for opening act Harpoon Forever, Culkin’s cover band elicited laughter while delivering an entertaining musical performance.
Although there were a few grumbles regarding the seriousness of The Pizza Underground’s renditions, ultimately people were happy to see a familiar face from the silver screen singing about pizza through Lou Reed’s musical landscape.
The crowd was undeniably pleased with the aura of Culkin, as well as impressed by the band’s tongue-in-cheek attitude towards Velvet Underground classics.
Nyman said, “Community really helped in all of this. We had a combined effort, and the show would not have happened without Alex Goldstein from Harpoon Forever contacting The Pizza Underground’s manager.”
Beatrix:The boys in my class are going to believe that I saw an alien over the holidays but they won't believe I got kittens; and the girls are going to believe that I got kittens but won't believe I saw an alien. My teacher will believe both.
This song just came up on Spotify and I was suddenly 17 again, on the floor at the show in Vancouver listening to these guys yell, “We love the way you love us!” with thick Dutch accents wearing a sweater I found at Winners.
In 1987 my mom’s friend gave me Sinead’s Lion And The Cobra on cassette, “I hate this. You want it?” The music on that cassette was extreme and intense and exactly the kind of female image I needed to be empowered with. As a loner who was fed via books, music and TV, I am thankful that before my first period, I learned that we all have to be a warrior.
I’m quite sure Miley knows all of this already, but it was great of Sinead to write it, because it’s true.
OPEN LETTER TO MILEY CYRUS
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them pray [sic] for animals and less than animals (a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and the associated media).
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.