Touring musicians have a great gig. Rock and roll! It’s doubly great when they’re interested in exploring the international culinary world. We do realize some bands subsist solely on Taco Bell and Coke Zero. Shame on them! There’s Hatch chile to sample in New Mexico. Pappy Van Winkle in Kentucky. Doppelbock outside Hamburg. Tortas on the California-Mexico border. In Good Food, Rocks, we track down a band serious about their grub—and who has held a job in the food industry too.
Night Moves may be relatively new to the scene, but expect plenty more from the cosmic-psych-pop group that more or less invented their own genre — there’s country and soul involved, too — and had to change a song title from “Cosmic Titties” to “Family Tongues” for obvious reasons. A small price to pay for a contract with Domino Records (Hot Chip, Animal Collective, Four Tet, Real Estate) before any of the members can even rent a car.
The group, comprised of trio John Pelant, Micky Alfano and Mark Ritsema (shown above with drummer Jared Isabella) debuted on the scene at last year’s SXSW and was later named “Best New Band” by Minneapolis City Pages. I sat down with them in a dank little scary boiler room with a few beers just before they went onstage at New York’s Mercury Lounge (seriously, Mercury Lounge). There, I witnessed perhaps the most democratic and well-organized collaborative decision I’ve ever seen a band throw together. Especially in a dank boiler room with regards to a sandwich. Just imagine how well they must work in the studio, fueled by Hennessy and Takis.
What’s the best late-night food in Minneapolis?
Jared: There’s not a lot of late-night stuff around Minneapolis, which is sad. There’s Caffrey’s, Max Industrial is always open late. If you’re in the restaurant industry and your kitchen closes at 1, you can still go get food at Max Industrial.
Who’s the best cook in the band?
Jared: I was a sous chef for about 5 1/2 years at a bistro and deli in Northeast Minneapolis. Wanting to be a musician, it was a really good job for me until I was just on the road too much.
What’s food like on tour?
Micky: I like making oatmeal a lot, cause you can do it with the coffee machines in hotels.
This is pretty bleak, guys.
Mark: We eat at the venues a lot. It’s usually free. Stubb’s [in Austin] is awesome.
Any highlights from your tour rider you’d like to share?
Jared: Hennessy and blackberries.
Are those involved in some sort of magical cocktail, or is it like a chaser/accompaniment situation?
Jared: There’s something about both of them. Hennessy makes you feel like you’re a baller, and blackberries are good for you.
Mark: Also, we hardly ever get it.
John: They gave us blueberries a few days ago. It’s not the same thing. Blackberries are better.
So I checked out your blog before the show and based on that, I have to ask a few questions. Who designed the show poster with the uh…chick, and golden burgers?
Mark: I designed it! There’s this site, Space Ghetto — it’s kind of sketchy, but they post really amazing photos.
What is the absolute best thing to eat when stoned?
Jared: Frozen pizzas are easy to make. With sriracha and ranch.
Okay, this is a Food Republic perma-debate question: is it okay to dip pizza in ranch?
(Resounding chorus of “Yes!”)
Jared: Frozen pizza can be doctored up to make it better. That’s definitely one way.
John: I’m also way into hot Cheetos.
I saw a photo of Hennessy and Takis in the studio. A new pairing?
Jared: I had gotten Takis in Texas before they started getting popular. It was at a Mexican grocery store and I was like “What are these crazy things?”
John: We had them at the recording studio with [studio engineer] John Miller. That’s when I took the photo. Did you know the Hot Cheetos and Takis video is from Minneapolis?
I posted that on Food Republic!
John: Those kids are amazing. We wanna play music with them.
I also saw something intriguing about Doritos Locos tacos. Yay or nay?
Jared: Oh my god, good.
Mark: They’re awesome, but I think they should go into the other flavors of Doritos, like Cool Ranch or sweet chili.
Micky: I personally felt there was a little too much seasoning used. I like the Doritos at the top of the bag where they’re kind of half-seasoned, whereas the chips at the bottom has it all over and I felt like the taco shells had the seasoning all over it.
Jared: After two of them I felt like I was more than good.
There’s a new sandwich you guys just invented called the Country Queen. What’s in it?
John: It’s gotta have brisket.
Micky: Wait, before anyone answers, we need to figure this out. Huddle up.
Jared: I like pepper jack cheese.
Mark: I feel like blackberries should go in it.
John: It’s gotta be some sort of barbecue, like pork.
Jared: Can it be on a crusty roll?
Mark: It needs something spicy, so maybe jalapeños too?
Jared: Well pepper jack’s in there.
John: How bout we just get like, a dank mustard? Grey Poupon?
Micky: I like cream cheese on a lot of stuff.
Jared: Okay maybe just a little bit on either the top or bottom with the melted pepper jack.
John: And maybe like a toothpick with a blackberry on it.
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