Home shows are a blast. Just ask Bobby Sauder, Karma Vision member and booker extraordinaire. After a bout of touring, he and fellow psych-poppers decided to rent a house in Lawrence that's only a stone's throw from the Replay Lounge, and to host DIY pizza parties and shows.
The Pitch: When did Pizza Power get up and running?
Bobby Sauder: It all started last summer when my band Karma Vision went on a three-week West Coast tour.
What gave you the idea to do the whole pizza party and venue combo?
We had such a great time on tour, but the shows that were most fun for us were the DIY shows at houses or art spaces. Those types of venues made the shows more personal, and we were able to make connections with so many awesome people around the country. We were amazed at how friendly and hospitable people were to help set up shows for us, feeding us really great dinners, and letting us crash at their house. While on tour, we started thinking that Lawrence needed a house venue to help touring bands. So we rented a house in east Lawrence just a couple blocks from Massachusetts Street and started hosting shows in August. Touring bands contact us about playing at our house on a certain date, and then we find local bands to open and headline the show. We had already been throwing pizza parties for four or five years.
And concertgoers bring toppings, correct?
People bring toppings, and we make homemade pizza from scratch. Holy shit, we love pizza! Karma Vision's saxophone player/noise wizard Rolf Petermann
is the master chef. Then we also ask all the guests for donations for
the touring bands because we know how much every little bit helps when
on tour - it all goes towards gas anyway. The shows always end up being
a really great time for everyone.
How many shows have you hosted so far?
We've hosted about 20 shows since August with several really memorable performances from some really cool bands like the Head and the Heart, CVLTS, Umberto, Blakey Bear, Ebony Tusks (Marty Hillard from Cowboy Indian Bear), Katrina Stonehart (Drew from Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk), Vacation Dad, Birthdays, Fourth of July, Hospital Ships, and Agent X-12,
just to name a few. We record and film the shows to archive all this
awesome music. What started just as a combined love for good pizza and
homemade music for friends has grown into something so much more.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
As far as pizza toppings go, we've had people bring in some really
awesome toppings. Homemade pesto, garlic, potato, and classic cheese
are some of my favorites. Probably the strangest combination anyone's
tried is tuna and corn. That really threw me off. We usually end up
doing some kind of dessert pizza at the end of the night, too.
Any bands you'd love to host but haven't yet? Favorite shows so far?
Our dream shows? We'd love to host an evening with Steve Buscemi and
David Cross sometime. I've heard that Steve Buscemi comes through
Lawrence every once in a while looking for clues about William S.
Burroughs. And we would really like to host a show with the kids from Odd Future. Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt reunion maybe? We've always wanted Drakkar Sauna
to play here, too. Hopefully that can happen someday. My favorite show
we've had so far was in November with CVLTS / Umberto / Vacation Dad /
Agent X-12. Agent X-12 is a fully analog circuit-bending sorcerer who
creates his own instruments such as meowtar and squibbletar. He
recently released a tape on our cassette label Whatever Forever. Umberto is a couple of smoky witches from KC, masters of scary organs. CVLTS is one of my favorite localish bands.
Has this helped Karma Vision get a bit more "known"?
This has helped Karma Vision in a few ways. We've been able to meet
some really rad bands and artists from all over the country, which will
really help us when we're booking shows in other cities. We're
releasing our first full-length album entitled Pizza Power, which will
come out this summer on Whatever Forever and Workerbee Records. Then we're planning on doing a massive tour in the fall.
Any plans for the future for Pizza Power?
Future plans for Pizza Power? Well, it's kind of up in the air. The
cops don't care for house shows no matter how early it is. We had a
show stopped at 7 p.m. recently. The ultimate goal, I guess, would be to
someday have a DIY music space / pizzeria / brewery on Massachusetts
Street. We even have some of the head members of the Lawrence Brewers
Guild onboard to start a local brewery. And we have the music and
pizza part down by now. But we'll see what happens.