It sounds like something the intellectually challenged Michael Kelso would have thought up while sitting in the infamous smoking circle on That ’70s Show: “Hey! We should totally start a Velvet Underground cover band, but then make all the songs about … freakin’ pizza!”
But no, rest assured, as goofy as it may seem to anyone not currently sporting a fully operational nitrous tank, former child star and current aimless actor Macaulay Culkin does indeed have a Velvet Underground parody, or “tribute,” band dedicated to crooning all about America’s first food, the Italian pizza pie. It’s either a terribly cornball joke gone awry or Andy Kaufman-level trolling, but either way, it’s had the internet abuzz since news of the band’s existence broke in December.
It’s either a terribly cornball joke gone awry or Andy Kaufman-level trolling.
The Velvet Underground was a highly influential, Hall of Fame rock group – led by the talented musician, singer, and songwriter Lou Reed – that was once the house band for Andy Warhol’s the Factory in the 1960s. Macaulay Culkin was the kid who got left behind as his family went on fancy vacation after fancy vacation without him, and who was also once sent roaring off a cliff by Frodo Baggins in one of the most satisfying onscreen child deaths of all time (The Good Son – a great flick, by the way).
Put the two together, and voila! You have the hot, cheesy mess called the Pizza Underground.
A sample of the band’s song lyrics include: “I’ve been out walking / I don’t do too much toppings these days / Cheese days / Cheese days I seem to order cheese and don’t say please and then I walk away / Don’t ask for pepperoni, not today” and “Hey babe, take a bite of the wild slice / And the pizza gals say, ‘Chew-cha-chew, Chew-cha-chew.”
If that whets your whistle, you will certainly enjoy their repertoire of songs, which includes, “Papa John Says,” “I’m Waiting for Delivery Man,” and “Take a Bite of the Wild Slice,” parodies of the Velvet Underground’s “Stephanie Says” and “I’m Waiting for the Man” and Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” respectively.
While playing SXSW this year, the Pizza Underground even hired a Warhol look-alike to hover onstage as they played. By most accounts, they were surprisingly well-received at SXSW, where the audience was definitely in on the joke, primarily due to the fact that 27% of the crowds there either sport or have written graphic novels about sporting handlebar mustaches.
This was not to be the case in Nottingham, England, last week. Nottingham boasts a handlebar mustache ratio of 0.001 for every 10,000 citizens, as Robin Hood would have wanted it.
Fortunately for him, Lou Reed died before he could see Michael Jackson’s other pet monkey mock him on the international stage.
According to a report by the Nottingham Post, Culkin, looking very much like an impoverished, unwashed, and deflated Alexander Skarsgard, and the other members of the Pizza Underground were booed off the stage at the local Dot to Dot music festival less than 15 minutes into their 40-minute set. The unruly audience apparently felt the band did not deliver (slap knee here), and doused the stage and band members with tossed pints of beer. Culkin bid them all goodnight after two pints clocked him in the head and ruined his drummer’s kit, which was, for the record, a cardboard pizza box.
The band seemingly will not hold a grudge: The Pizza Underground later took to their Twitter account and commented: “Thank you so much Nottingham and Dot to Dot. Sorry that a couple people ruined it for everyone.”
However, be that as it may, the original lead singer of the Velvet Underground, the legendary Lou Reed, can unfortunately no longer comment on his early body of work being ruined for everyone by Uncle Buck’s bratty nephew. Because he is dead. Rather fortunately for him, he died in October 2013 of liver disease before he could see Michael Jackson’s other pet monkey mock him on the international stage.
(Personal aside: But seriously, for god’s sake, did no one even THINK “The Velveeta Underground” might be funnier?! It melts better than cheddar, so I’ve heard.)