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Meet Jeremy Mendicino of That Mean, Nasty, Hideous Band Known As...Pretty & Nice
Photo by Brian Tamborello
Supporting their second album, Get Young! Boston indie rockers, Pretty & Nice will be playing the Knitting Factory on Sunday. Often compared to Elvis Costello and Devo these art rockers' spazzed out, messy, giddy sound has won them applause from the critics and the kids who just want to dance. (Or jump up and down as the case may be.) Lead singer and founding member Jeremy Mendicino, was kind enough to talk to us from the road on Sunday. Here is some of what was said.
How did you guys get together?
Holden and I met doing a movie to Berlin. We were climbing a mountain and were so close to heaven, that Saint Peter gave us our name.
(Yell from the back) He made that up!
No, it's true. Peter said that we were "The nicest and prettiest of the damned."
How close were you to being called Ugly and Mean?
Not within four km. Not even close. The name actually comes from a college tour educational film. One of my band members were on a college tour and this film that comes one with this woman who described the college as "pretty and nice." He thought that was the stupidest thing he had ever heard in his life. And we agreed.
What made you pick up an instrument? How old were you?
I think I was either two or three my parents bought me a drum kit.
When they were three a bought you a drum kit?
Yup, it was a 1966 Ludwig Sparkle Kit.
(Yell from the back) Dick!
Our drummer is pretty disgruntled about that. My parents were musicians, so they wanted to encourage me from a very young age.
So you're in the family business?
Yup, I'm living my father's rock 'n' roll dream. Do you know that Patton Oswalt joke, that goes as parents it’s your duty to be a blasé human being? My parents were terribly rad. I think it's messed me up.
Is your band a democracy or a dictatorship?
Really depends on who is present at the time. It's a democracy for the most part, though.
Where did you get the name for your album, Get Young? It seems to be a request that no one can carry out.
I disagree entirely. It is incredibly possible to get young. It takes a certain willingness. I’ve watched to many people people get prematurely old. I’ve rarely seen people actually get younger, but it happens.
What’s it like being on a brand new label like Hardly Art? I mean you’ve been together longer than they have. You guys have been around for four years, and they're just rounding two.
Well I mean, Nick and Sarah are my age, so I don't think it matters all that much. They are really great. We enjoy working with them.
Your single, Tora Tora Tora, is the code word that the Japanese used to bomb Pearl Harbor. Why use that in a pop song? Where you reading a lot of history books?
Holden was watching the the movie (Tora! Tora! Tora!) and was inspired by it. I can’t be positive why he chose those words, but I’m confident that it was obscenely complex process.
I have to ask. What is with all the fuzzy pink chicks jumping behind you? Was that your idea?
That’s our friend Molly. She’s our biggest fan. She probably the most perfect and pure embodiment of what it is to get young.
What was the worst show you ever played?
I never have a good time at a big show. When people are jumping all over our feet and the place is packed. I would much much rather do a small show then a big one.
What is the weirdest thing you ever saw at a show?
When members of my band disappear into the audience, it's always pretty weird.
If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?
The fact that the word industry is at all in the title. Oh and the the modern ticket system is terrible.
(Yell from the back) Anarchy!
Capitalism is a giant evil especially with the art. (laughs) By the way I'm a terrorist and I hate freedom.
What is the worst thing about touring?
A combination of how gross you become after driving eight hours a day and the lack of exercise. You become a lettuce.
What's the best thing about touring?
Getting a free pass to be an alcoholic. Wait! I want to change my answer to the music, man. Music and the kids. Not the beer. Music and the kids. I'm a golden god.
Well, at least you didn’t say the chicks and the drugs.
I would never say those things.
Do you have any strange promoter stories?
Oh yeah, we were in Austin for SXSW and we were renting this space from this guy. He was the owner, but technically he was a meth head. He and his friends were all druggo, scary, raver kids. I mean like they were wearing Dr Seuss shirts, chinos, and weird chain necklaces. They were weird, weird kids. So we paid for the space, but no one showed up to the show. At the end of the night the owner was trying to get money from all the bands, and for some bizarre reason one of the bands tried to pay him for a check. Now this dude wanted the money to buy lots of drugs so he needed cash. Needless to say he was upset, so he almost threw the guy into a dumpster. While the owner was having this schizoid, drugged out, freak out we all piled into the car and left all of our gear there. I just drove this kid around the block and convinced him to pay the guy in cash.
Why didn't he just pay them in cash to begin with?
I dunno. It was so fucking stupid. It was the worst day. I was running a fever anyway and spent most of the time before the show sleeping it off in the van. Then I had to reconcile these two jerks and then drag them away from each other. Man I was beyond done after that. Eight times beyond done.
If you could sing with anyone who would it be and why?
Probably Billy Joel, I think he has a lot of fun harmonizing.
If you were stuck on a deserted island and you could bring three things what would they be?
An acoustic guitar, sack of rice, and a boat. It would be great. I'd cook rice over a beautiful fire, play the guitar, and then leave.
Thank you so much for talking to us. I will see you on Sunday.
It’s gonna be you and me, Molly! You and me.
(Yell from the back) MOLLY!
Be sure to check out Pretty & Nice this Sunday when they play the Knitting Factory. Doors are at 7:30pm.