Party by the Slice: Simple Punk Songs, About Pizza
Yes, there is an element of humor to
the band. How could a listener not laugh at such couplets as “You might ask me
why I’m so chubby/The answer is stupid people make me hungry,” from the
wonderfully titled “Stupid People Make Me Hungry”? Yet there is also a speed
and intensity to these songs—in the spirit of pre-Crossover D.R.I.—that elevates Party by the Slice’s material out of
the dreaded realm of “joke” bands. Adroitly produced by Shane Hochstetler at
his Howl Street Recordings—I’m surprised Hochstetler isn’t developing more of a
national reputation for getting even the most basic of hardcore outfits to
sound impressive—the group’s recorded output should remind hardcore punk fans
is continuing to turn out some of the best bands in the scene.
To Party by the Slice bassist Jeni
Rudnik, the reason for the band’s success is that they understand, like many
luminaries that came before them, that hardcore should never take itself too
seriously. Black Flag had their “T.V. Party,” Born Against were known to cover
the theme to “The Jeffersons,” and Party by the Slice has “Pizza Rules.”
“We play simple, fast songs about
things we like or things we want to comment on,” Rudnik explains.
Such things include humorous topics
like zombie food fights along with more serious concerns regarding the
relationship between countercultures and growing older.
And the members of Party by the Slice
are a bit older than your average hardcore aficionado. What is perhaps most
refreshing about the band is that this doesn’t seem to matter. The band
collectively scoffs at the idea that one should “grow out of” hardcore punk by
a certain age.
“To me, punk and hardcore has always
been a way of channeling anger into something more positive and creative,”
drummer Zachary Holochwost says. “I don’t think growing up has anything to do
with growing out of things. I’ve always loved punk and hardcore and I just
don’t see how I could ever give it up. It is who I am, even at the age of 33.”
It is inspiring to hear such an answer,
and the band, through its support of the Milwaukee
scene, seems intent on making sure that such a scene remains alive for those
yet to experience the transformative power of punk rock.
But why all the love for pizza? When
confronted with this question, Party by the Slice guitarist Dave Rudnik
responds with the same words I once used to explain to my less enlightened
peers the reasons I loved such “noisy” bands like Minor Threat: “If you have to
ask, you’ll never know.” Suddenly, it all made sense to me.
Party by the Slice plays the Eagle’s Nest on Friday, May 14, with School Jerks, Sticks N Stones and Culo.