REPORT

Macaulay Culkin in pizza-based Velvet Underground band

By James Cook

In a bizarre career move, Macaulay Culkin has chosen to honour the late musician Lou Reed by forming a tribute band and changing the lyrics of Velvet Underground songs to be about pizza.

Culkin, 33, the former child actor known for his role in the Home Alone movies, sings and plays the kazoo in The Pizza Underground. He is joined by writer and member of “essay-folk” group L.A. Boobs, Deenah Vollmer, who performs by banging a pizza box and singing.

The Pizza Underground performing live in New York. An empty pizza box is seen being used as a percussion instrument in the left of this image, with Culkin on the right.

The Pizza Underground performing live in New York. An empty pizza box is seen being used as a percussion instrument in the left of this image, with Culkin on the right.

The band’s few live performances have, apparently, been met with “riotous applause”. New York’s Sidewalk music blog reviewed a performance by The Pizza Underground, beginning their post with “You probably weren’t there”.


A Velvet Underground/pizza mash-up GIF shared by the band on their Tumblr page.

Currently, the band’s repertoire relies solely on Velvet Underground and Lou Reed songs with the lyrics changed to be about pizza. Classic track “I’m Waiting For The Man” becomes “I’m Waiting for Delivery Man”, “Perfect Day” is now “Pizza Day” and “Walk On The Wild Side” has been transformed into “Take a Bite of the Wild Slice”. In the group’s only-known recording (embedded below), they rehearse at Macauley Culkin’s New York home, running through a medley of pizza songs.

Since the band’s inception, they have maintained an active social media presence, sharing their pizza-focused lyrics on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Despite the band’s repeated claims to have existed since early 2012, their social media pages were all created in November of this year.

 

Cheese, not drugs

The Pizza Underground’s lyrics means that we can now finally put to rest the rumours of Culkin’s heroin use. In July 2012 the National Enquirer claimed that the former child star was hooked on heroin and prescription drugs. The article went on to claim that Culkin regularly shot up heroin and was hooked on prescription drug oxycodone. All references to heroin in The Pizza Underground’s songs have been replaced with references to pizza.

The members of The Pizza Underground take a break from singing about pizza to pose for a photograph.

The members of The Pizza Underground take a break from singing about pizza to pose for a photo.

A history of collaborative art

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This is not the first time that Macaulay Culkin has thrown open the doors of his home to avant-garde artists. The actor previously transformed his New York apartment into an artist’s studio filled with bizarre, psychedelic art. Living as part of the 3MB Collective with two former members of indie rock band Moldy Peaches, Culkin created works of art honouring the late musician Kurt Cobain. This art project also took place in Culkin’s $2 million apartment, which he purchased because it reminded him of the 1988 Tom Hanks movie Big.

It is currently unknown whether The Pizza Underground plan to record an album, or if they will broaden their musical output to focus on other foods.