The Pizza Underground

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The Pizza Underground
The Pizza Underground performing in Chicago in 2014
The Pizza Underground performing in Chicago in 2014
Background information
OriginNew York City
  • Guitar
  • glockenspiel
  • drums
  • tambourine
  • kazoo
  • pizza box
Years active2013 (2013)–2018 (2018)
Past members

The Pizza Underground was an American comedy rock band based in New York City. Mainly parodying songs by the Velvet Underground with pizza-themed song names and lyrics, the group consisted of Macaulay Culkin (kazoo, percussion and vocals) along with Matt Colbourn (guitar, vocals), Phoebe Kreutz (glockenspiel, vocals), Deenah Vollmer (pizza box, vocals) and Austin Kilham (tambourine, vocals).[1][2][3] Because of the theme, the band gave out boxed pizzas to people who attended their live performances.


Deenah Vollmer, the group's "pizza box" percussionist, said the idea for the Pizza Underground began as a joke in 2012.[4] "We soon realized you can replace most any word with slice or cheese," she told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Glockenspiel player Phoebe Kreutz stated they believed the Velvet Underground songs were written about pizza, but had to be reworded to accommodate the "standards of their day."[4]

On November 11, 2013, the group recorded a live demo at Macaulay Culkin's apartment.[1] That same month they performed a Lou Reed tribute show at the Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village.[5] In December, a viral video of Culkin eating a cheese pizza was uploaded to YouTube. He was parodying Andy Warhol consuming a Burger King Whopper in Jørgen Leth's documentary 66 Scenes from America.[6] Culkin was promoting the debut of the Pizza Underground.[7]

The group released its first music video in January 2014, parodying various Velvet Underground songs such as "All Pizza Parties" ("All Tomorrow's Parties"), "Pizza Gal" ("Femme Fatale") and "Take a Bite of the Wild Slice" (Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side").[8] The video featured the group performing on a bed of pizza boxes, surrounded by pizza checkered walls, with members of the group wearing slices of pizza as masks.[9] Also in 2014, the cassette of the demo was released by Bitter Melody Records[10] on yellow, white, and red cassettes.[11][12] An 18-show North American tour entitled Fresh to Your Door took place that same year.[9]

In May 2014, the band was booed off the stage at the Rock City venue in Nottingham, England, while performing at the Dot to Dot Festival. A spectator later complained that the parody group were making a "mockery of one of the greatest bands of all time".[13] The band quit playing within 15 minutes, and in response to having pints of beer thrown at the band, frontman Macaulay Culkin complained to the crowd, "why are you throwing those? ...I'd rather drink them!"[14]

The initial cassette release was followed by Live at Chop Suey, also on Bitter Melody Records,[15] recorded at the Chop Suey[16] in Seattle, Washington.

In January 2018, Culkin revealed during an interview on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast that the Pizza Underground had broken up.[17]


  1. ^ a b Pelly, Jenn (9 December 2013). "Listen: Macaulay Culkin Has a Pizza-Themed Velvet Underground Cover Band, The Pizza Underground". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  2. ^ Beck, Laura. "Macaulay Culkin Has a Pizza-Themed Velvet Underground Cover Band". Jezebel. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  3. ^ Ayers, Mike (12 December 2013). "Inside Macaulay Culkin's Pizza Underground Sessions". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b Amorosi, A.D. "Season of tributes to Lou Reed - including Macaulay Culkin's band Pizza Underground Read". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 23 January 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  5. ^ Michaels, Sean (9 December 2013). "Macaulay Culkin forms pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Luling, Todd Van, December 27, 2013 'The 34 greatest moments in pizza history from 2013', retrieved December 27, 2013
  8. ^ Kristobak, Ryan (7 January 2014). "Macaulay Culkin Band Pizza Underground's First Music Video Is Full Of Pizza Faces". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b Eby, Margaret. "Macaulay Culkin's Pizza Underground band debuts saucy music video". Daily News. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  10. ^ Bitter Melody Records, About Bitter Melody Records. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  11. ^ Matheson, Whitney (January 27, 2014). "Pop Candy: Hear a demo from Macaulay Culkin on Cassette". USA Today. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Bitter Melody Records, Particulars of Pizza Underground Demo Cassette Release. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  13. ^ "Macaulay Culkin booed off stage in Nottingham". BBC News. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  14. ^ "Macaulay Culkin's band booed off in Nottingham". The Telegraph. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  15. ^ Bitter Melody Records, Particulars of Live at Chop Suey. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Particulars of Chop Suey, Seattle Archived 2013-06-24 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  17. ^ "Macaulay Culkin Says the Pizza Underground Are No More | Pitchfork". 22 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.

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