How Thee Oh Sees Bassist Petey Dammit Battled A Korean Taco. And Lost.

Thee Oh Sees are a San Francisco band that have, over the last decade and a half, crept into the indie music consciousness with a 1-2 punch of psychedelic noise rock and explosively addictive live shows. The band recently passed through New York for the ATP Festival and to play at The Well in Bushwick, Brooklyn. We had a chance to catch up with the band's bassist, Petey Dammit, to talk about the confusing world of food trucks.

Soooo, food...

What's going on with food right now? I have an awesome story about this. We just played the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, a massive festival, and it was kind of awesome to play there, but the thing was I hadn't eaten in quite a bit before the show. And then after the show I was a little bit drunk and there are food trucks everywhere. So we had vouchers, like $15 or whatever, so I started going up to all the food trucks. And the first one I saw, I saw the word "tacos," and I was like, "Sweet! I'm gonna get a taco!" I get up there and they were Korean tacos. Which ok, I like Korean food, I like tacos, let's do this thing. But it wasn't a taco, it was like a fusion of the two. It was like Mexican sushi that was wrapped in a seaweed taco shell.

That's not even Korean. That sounds Japanese.

I don't know WHAT that is, right? And so then, I walk down to the next booth and it was nachos, and I was like, "I love nachos." They were Malaysian nachos.

Wait, what?

Yeah. They were Malaysian nachos, I don't even know what that is.

I don't either.

So I skipped that one. I'm kind of a working class person, just meat and potatoes, so I'm like, "I can't eat this stuff!" And I so I go to the next food truck, and it was like a pulled pork sandwich, and I was like, "Sweet, I can totally eat that." But then it had like a garlic mustard, fucking caramel aioli something, and I go, "Well, I can't eat that too." So I go to the next one and it's cheeseburgers...and they come in a slide whistle. What the hell...

A cheeseburger comes in a what?

I'm exaggerating on that part. But yeah, every single food truck they had was...

Too fancy?

Not even too fancy. It was just unnecessary. The one thing I don't like about San Francisco cuisine, and a lot of cuisine now, is just because you can doesn't mean you should. If you make a "Manwich" you need like the can of Manwich and some ground beef. You don't need to have a 17-hour reduction with a Manwich. You just don't need that. You don't need artisanal homemade pickles.

So that covers the fact that you guys are from San Francisco, arguably one of the food capitals of the US...

Yes, there is amazing food there.

But you're not a fancy food kind of guy.

Well, it kind of depends, you know. Because you can do fancy food that is tasty and normal, and you can do fancy food that is taller than it is wide.

Shit higher than your ass?

YES! I grew up in Missouri, so that kind of thing is just completely lost on me. I don't understand paying like $50 for a plate for something that's as big as a silver dollar pancake.

What about the rest of the band. Are they foodies at all?

Yeah, I think [frontman] John [Dwyer] enjoys a lot of that type of stuff. But again, he's from like Providence so he eats a lot of just regular things too. He's waaaaay into seafood. But for me personally, being from Missouri, there's no sea there. Even sushi for a long time I couldn't get into, it was flown in, and it was like seven days old by the time it got to Missouri.

And now it's all different. Now you can get seafood flown in the day it was caught. What's the fanciest meal you guys have enjoyed together?

I will totally say that every now and then, for some special occasion that's happened for the band, we'll end up having dinner at this place in San Francisco called the Blue Plate. Like, "OH! We just got asked to do this crazy thing for a lot of money... Let's go to the Blue Plate!" I can't remember the name of the guy that runs it, or the main chef, but it is my favorite place in San Francisco. Like if I want to try and get in a girl's pants I take her there. I cannot recommend the Blue Plate enough. But as a band, for special occasions we go there.

What are the secrets to eating well on the road?

Awww man. Stay away from what you really want — fast food. I know you've been sittin' in a van for eight hours and that Taco Bell looks really good, but don't do it. Being just like any Midwesterner, my stomach is very accustomed to really crappy, low budget, gas station trash. But now that I'm 37 I can't really do that anymore. Part of me is really kind of sad about that. I can't eat those microwaveable cheeseburgers like I used to. But the other part of me is also extremely happy.

Where in the world have you eaten the best?

The best? I want to say France, and I'm sorry for this France, but I will in fact say that my final answer is Italy.

There you go!

Still to this day I have zero idea how Italian people are not like 10,000 pounds. It's so rich, but it's so delicious.

Have any of you guys worked at a restaurant or a bar?

John has definitely worked in restaurants. I've worked in fast food. My first job ever was at a Burger King for about six months. And then I told them to stick it where the sun didn't shine. That was 1992, maybe? The same thing happened again. I worked at a Pizza Hut delivery. That didn't last long after I started putting staples in the police chief's pizza. This is a very important thing for the article: I always tip extremely well because I am not the person who wants to do this job. I appreciate everything that people do, the servers and cooks. I appreciate so much that I will go the extra 30-40% on the bill, because I don't want to do this, and I'm very thankful that you do.

What's on your tour rider? Is there anything that's beyond the hummus and veggie/deli plates? But we really gotta work on that, though. I kind of want to push the limits to see what we can get. If we can get Manwiches, I would be so stoked. [The rider is] really concentrated more on like alcohol.

So what's your drink, then?

We do Jameson and we'll get a bottle of red wine for Brigid [Dawson], because she loves wine. We all do too, but she loves it more. But as far as food, we should really be experimenting with that because we're still — in our minds — we're still a tiny band that doesn't deserve a rider. So just having a bottle of wine and a bottle of Jameson is like a complete shock to us. Maybe that is something we can start experimenting with and have fun, and say like, "Yeah, I want Neapolitan ice cream."

Do you like to cook?

You know what, my living situation right now, my roommate lives in the kitchen, so I feel like a jerk going in there. "Hey, you're making out with your boyfriend, but I'm just going to whip up some pasta..." So I don't cook in the place now, and the last place I lived for 10 years I couldn't cook there either because of like a weird argument. It was just a spite thing with my roommate: "You didn't clean up after yourself at 4 o'clock in the morning!" "But I didn't cook those tater tots!" "Shove it up your ass!" So for the last 12 years I haven't cooked. I do actually enjoy cooking.

What would you cook to impress a girl?

It's been such a long time. I don't know what I would do. I'd probably take 'em to the Blue Plate.

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