As it turns out, Caveman has nothing to do with the recent Paleo trend. Could have fooled me! I met up with the 5-man band, born and bred in NYC, at a pizza spot to get schooled on the actual diets of musicians on the road. Their music spans from indie rock to electropop with a touch of that chillwave everyone’s so crazy about these days. Catch a live show to really experience the eerie, creep-tastic soul that flows through 4-part harmonies, spacey, ambient guitars and all-around sweet, crooning goodness. (They’re playing CMJ in New York this week, and all their tour dates are here.)
They’re also — and I never say this — one of my favorite bands of the past few years. Like, buy the CoCo Beware vinyl favorite. Fellow native New Yorkers Sam, Stefan, Jeff, Jimmy and Matt convened at Lil’ Frankie’s, next to East Village Radio, where they’d just played an acoustic set, to get down to business. What are these classy musicians eating? How did keyboardist Sam terrorize poor Wayne Newton with garlic bread? Where should I go for dinner tomorrow night, guys?
If you were to redesign the Paleo or “Caveman diet” to reflect how you guys eat as a band, what would it look like?
Sam: We’d eat more dinosaurs, reptiles, fish and birds.
Jeff: Natural predators.
Sam: Pure grass-fed dinosaur meat, dinosaur eggs, alligators.
If it’s 3 a.m., what are you probably eating?
Sam: I’m a total fried egg man at 3.
Jimmy: I’ve been eating a lot of empanadas at 3 a.m.
Matt: I’ve been eating a lot of bacon, egg and cheeses. Well, no, that’s more like 4 a.m. At 3, I might do a slice.
Do you guys have a tour rider?
Stefan: You should see Jeff if he doesn’t get his hummus. It’s just something you learn to get used to. It’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jeff likes his hummus.
Sam: I don’t think a band has ever played in a building that didn’t have hummus.
If you guys could bring one chef on tour with you, who would it be?
Jeff: It’s gotta be Bourdain, right?
Stefan: My dad.
Matt: Who’s the guy on the West Side with all the Italian restaurants?
Matt: Yeah, Batali.
(At this point, the band starts democratically arguing over the best way to remove a slice from the pie without losing sauce and go on a tangent before returning to the topic of food and Sam’s career in the food industry.)
Sam: I sold Elton John muffins before. He was into these vegan bran muffins. I guess he’s diabetic and maybe I’m blowing up his spot right now but…
Stefan: What about Seinfeld and Chris Rock?
Sam: Are they musicians, my friend?
Sam, did you sell Chris Rock a muffin?
Sam: No, I made him a peanut butter sandwich. And I made garlic bread and salad for Wayne Newton one time. I don’t know what I was thinking.
What were you doing cooking for all these celebrities?
Sam: I was cooking at a lot of places: Fanny’s — shout-out, long-gone in upstate New York, my grandma’s restaurant. Wayne Newton would come in all the time because the Saratoga racetrack was out there, big hangout. I just remembered writing notes to Wayne Newton on napkins, like skulls and crossbones, trying to scare him. He’s got that really great scene in Vegas Vacation with the giant bowls of pasta.
I definitely remember that. So you guys just invented a new sandwich, it’s called the CoCo Beware. What’s in it?
(the following things are shouted)
Maybe a Sriracha reduction. That doesn’t exist, does it?
…served between two rocks. Or two avocados.
Any of you guys have any weird dietary habits?
Sam: I have to lick the plate after every meal. Most days I find myself wanting to have pickles at some point. I have a salt addiction.
Matt: You know it’s funny you say that. I used to hate pickles and people would call me Matty Pickles. I hated them. There was a moment when I would come home at 4 a.m., get my bacon egg and cheese and get Bubbie’s pickles — they make their own pickles. They’ll eventually be my competitors when I have Matty’s Pickles, but that’s besides the point. I would get a huge jar and just be sitting there eating pickles by myself at 4 in the morning.
Sam: I’m so happy that phase happened.
Stefan: I’ve found that if you chew a Hall’s [cough drop] and then sip Budweiser it tastes like oatmeal. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
What flavor of cough drop?
Stefan: Honey lemon. Regular can of Bud. Boom, oatmeal.
Out of all you guys, who currently has the weirdest thing in their fridge?
Matt: I have, like, six jars of half-eaten pickles. Bread and butter.
Sam: I have like, four things of of butter in my fridge. I put a little Kerrygold butter in my coffee. I couldn’t imagine it would be delicious but then it was really working for me.
Jimmy: It’s a mouthfeel.
What food would make you stop playing a show right in the middle and go eat?
Sam: Human. No I’m kidding, Soylent Green.
Jeff: A whole hog.
Jimmy: I probably would stop for that, yeah.
Matt: I would definitely interrupt singing for that.
Stefan: You guys could keep playing and just feed me while I keep playing drums.
Sam: We could just make noise til we were done.
You guys are pretty die-hard New Yorkers. What are some of your favorite spots around the city?
Jimmy: This Little Piggy. Get the sliders on potato rolls, which I think are better than a regular bun.
Stefan: The burgers at Black Market, really good, and JG Mellon uptown.
Matt: There’s a new brisket sandwich that’s really good at Mighty Quinn.
Stefan: Here [Lil’ Frankie’s], the other day they had a really cool sandwich. It was a piece of pizza folded up into a sandwich called a piadini. It’s just badass folded up pizza. Kind of like a calzone but not closed.
Sam: I’m sure we can get you some art for that.
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