NYC quintet The Pizza Underground make pizza music

What do you make of a The Velvet Underground cover band that sings only about pizza? Better yet, a band whose entire repertoire lasts all of eight minutes and includes songs like I'm Beginning To Eat The Slice, Cheese Days, All The Pizza Parties, Pizza Gal and a self-explanatory one called Pizza.

New York City quintet The Pizza Underground - the name they go by - will likely never hear the end of it.

But they are appalled they might even be thought of as a joke band.

"I'm deeply offended by that," band member Phoebe Kreutz told M in a Skype interview from New York City last week.

"Obviously, this is not something that people should change their lives over. It's not the greatest or the worst thing, it's just...a thing."


The project, which started from a "ridiculous idea", created online buzz early last month for more reasons than one.

The Pizza Underground, comprising Kreutz, her husband Matt Colbourn, Deenah Vollmer and Austin Kilham also includes Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin.

This is the newest side project for Culkin - who is also part of an art collective called 3MB - since his departure from acting. The Pizza Collective "try to sing in sync", but each member takes on a specific instrument.

Kreutz plays the glockenspiel, Culkin plays the kazoo, Kilham plays the tambourine, Colbourn plays the guitar while Vollmer converts a pizza box into an unlikely percussive instrument.

To date, they have played a number of shows around New York City, and have a string of others lined up in the US for the rest of the month and in March.

The idea for the unconventional group sparked in November 2011 while at a train station in Spain, but properly kicked off this year after they recorded their nine-song demo at Culkin's home.

The reception was unexpected, said Kreutz, who said she was initially not taken by the idea.

"I'm very surprised it lasted this long. We're always thinking of different projects, but this ended up being the most fun and exciting. If it lasted longer, I'd be delighted," she said.

Kreutz said that their good-humoured audience have been "pretty positive" about their music.

As a quintet, it is hard to take anything they do or say too seriously.

But as individuals, they are proper artists who have been part of the scene for some time.

Kreutz, for example, has a solo singing project and is also involved in theatre and television work.


Among themselves, they work together on various other music projects on top of The Pizza Underground.

Kreutz said of their latest venture: "It's a very collaborative process and there is a fair amount of laughing that goes on. We've been friends longer than we've been bandmates."

Asked about having Culkin as a friend and bandmate, Kreutz called him a "sweetheart" and has nothing but praise for him.

"He is a perfectionist, always ready to have fun and he's great fun at pizza music," she said, laughing. Why pizza?

"We're New Yorkers and here, people are passionate about their pizzas. There are so many other songs that we have yet to write relating to something so simple like pizza," Kreutz said.

It comes with great perks, too - like all that free pizza, for example.

"But at the end of it, I think we'll be crying for something that is not pizza," Kreutz half-joked.