Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pizza loves Don Cab: A conversation with bassist Scott Buoncristiano

I know I tell everyone if you have even a passing interest in Don Caballero/Math Rock or tour accounts in general Fred Weaver's diary from Don Cab's last tour is a highly educational read. For the insight alone into finances of what we view as the "pinnacle" of the genre its an eye opening read. But what lies within the pages is an account of what happens when a band seemingly becomes too big for its britches. To summarize a portion Ian Williams and Damon Che both had solo sets they wanted to play at their shows. Unfortunately a communication break caused all of their shows to book local acts as well which was not conducive to the show lengths. 

It was in Boston at the Middle East that Damon put his foot down and told a local act, Pizza to shove off. Pizza if your a normal reader here has been featured in a couple articles in the past by myself like Math Rock Mystery and a follow up on Boston area math in the 90's . This is the final installment where I ask Scott Buoncristiano (bassist of Pizza) a few questions and clear up the intense controversy between Don Cab and Pizza.

POS: "what year did you guys form? member list?"

SB: "We started playing together in roughly the fall of 1999. All of us grew up together on Cape Cod and Nantucket, Massachusetts so we were always playing music together in some combination. Dan and I were in Challenger from '97-'98. Justin and I were in PowerQuest together. Fin, Justin, and I were in Strictly Business (that band sucked balls). There were about 1,000 other joke bands that we formed before and during all that. Back then, there was a pretty decent music scene coming from Cape Cod. We (cape people) had a "weird factor" and a kind of built in buzz in the Boston area.
The members were: Dan McCarthy (drums) Justin Joyce (Guitar) Fin Moore (guitar) Scott Buoncristiano (bass/eye candy)"

POS: "what were some of your major influences when writing the songs on that album?"

SB: "Our influences then, I think, we're just a culmination of EVERYTHING we had ever listened to up to that point. The Melvins, Jesus Lizard, Breadwinner, Slint, Don Cab, Polvo, Bastro, Rodan, Gastr del Sol etc. etc. None of us had any formal musical training aside from Dan, who is a wizard on drums. We all really just wrote parts and tried to make it sound weird. Sometimes because of our lack of knowing what was "right" or "wrong" in music theory, we just had some riffs that SHOULDN'T have worked, but we MADE them work (Dan played a large part in that as far as making things make sense with his drumming)."

POS:"Im assuming you guys were not together for too long?"

SB: "1+ year. We never really broke up, it just all splintered off into other projects."

POS: "Are you or any of the other members currently in any groups?"

SB:"Fin is in a band in NY called "Time Travellers & The Electric Band" and probably doing some solo stuff or some shit on the side.
Dan does some solo stuff in his house for shits and giggles
I don't think Justin is playing right now
I get horrible stage fright and have social anxiety, so it's safe to say I'll probably never play again. We considered having a Challenger reunion show, but then we were all "funk dat!"

POS:"really interested in what happened with the Don Cab show. Im more than assuming people did not throw pizza at them at your behest haha."

SB: "It was a while ago, so bear with me...
We were asked to play with Don Cab downstairs at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA and were pretty excited to do so. Pizza had a good following and it was a good opportunity to play to a larger audience, and it was cool to be playing with a band we listened to all through high school. The deal was that they had that guy who was touring with them open, then we'd play, then Don Caballero would headline. Cool. Sounds like fun. It was all set up with their tour manager and the booking guy at the Mid East about a month before the show. Done deal. The evening of the show, we had our usual warm up at the practice space, loaded up the van, and drove two towns over to play the biggest show we've had yet. We pull up and start loading out, and the booking guy for the club (we were friends with this guy just from seeing him around on the scene) comes out with this super bummed out look on his face and says: "You guys...I'm so fucking sorry. Here's the deal...Damon Che is pitching a fit and saying that Don Caballero won't play if you guys are playing tonight. He wants to have (the opening guy) play, THEN he wants Ian and then himself (Che) to play their individual solo songs, THEN Don Cab will play. He's being crazy, but my hands are tied."
We were like "What a fucking dickface."

Then he said something that made everything ok to us, but ultimately worse for Don Cab:

".....but you guys can all drink for free tonight"

So word got out that we were suddenly off the bill. We knew that people liked us, but not THAT much. I guess we had a bigger fan base than we had thought. They were getting PISSED. About 1/3 of the people paid to see us too, and they thought it was bullshit that we were booted off the bill, and HOW and WHY we were booted. Anyways, the show starts and the poor opening guy (he was nice..we talked to him later) started feeling the wrath of drunk and offended Boston math rock fans. The Dickface Fatfuck Che takes the stage for his solo songs and all hell broke loose. We were all just standing off to the side saying "holy fuck" while we saw random people spit lungies on Che's guitar, body, and neck (that neck one was in slow motion. I saw it fly 5' and stick right on his Adam's apple). People booed, screamed fuck you, called him fat etc etc. We definitely chimed in on the fuck you chant. Needless to say, he cut his solo set short. Don Caballero came on as a group a little while later. People were still going nuts and screaming "fuck you!" chanting "PIZZA! PIZZA!" and stuff. There were Don Cab fans that were getting all pissed at the Pizza fans, and there we were just laughing and getting very very drunk (for free!) They start playing and shortly after, a fucking slice of pizza flies through the air and hits Damon Che's bass drum. It was nuts, but we loved it. That egomaniac did it to himself. They cut the set short and hid in the dressing room for hours. We had a memorable time, though not the way we wanted. We fizzled out shortly after too.

Years later, Our friend Dave Kenopka's band "Battles" stayed with us while touring. Ian is in that band, and we talked to him about that night years ago. He confirmed that Damon Che is, in fact, both a douche and an egomaniac."

and there you have it! the official story :)

also it should be noted Dan and Scott actually work together and do some fantastic graphic design's,
be sure to check it out. 

1 comment:

  1. Great info! I love their album, currently listening to them atm! Any chance you could get the tracklistings for their album?