“Joe: I’m Joey Flubberplaster, I play guitar and sing very poorly
Tom: I’m Tommy Toenail, I play bass and have the fattest of the pockets
Lucas: I’m Luco Shrimpatini, but most people call me Kando, Bando, or Lando, and I play the saxophone.
Dan: I’m Danny Waffle-toe, and I play drums and yell.”
On Pink is a quirky band on the rise from Staten Island, New York. The four- Joe Ippolito, Danny Eberle, Lucas Kando, and Tom G., founded a music group that is reminiscent of band practice in some sweaty, teenage garage. For me, On Pink was one of the first bands that introduced me to NYC’s youth music. I vaguely remember wearing too much red lipstick to their Halloween show in Greenwich Village in my sophomore year. For a sheltered 14-year-old from Brooklyn, going to On Pink’s show after school was my first burning riot. I only remember walking up a narrow staircase, handing over $5 admission, the dim red lighting in front of the stage, and spending a good 20 minutes of my Halloween that year in a bathroom in the basement of a schoolhouse. That night with On Pink wired up my appreciation for 1) rowdy groups of teens in tight spaces, and 2) the rising community of musicians being built. Living in a restless city at such a young age, bands like On Pink built the pseudo-teenage-cliché that we all need- at shows where time slows down and is quickly interrupted by drums, guitars, screaming, saxophone, and reckless reverb. Amidst the college process, ridiculous amounts of standardized testing, making sense of the subway system, I have been attending their makeshift shows religiously since then, reminded of my everlasting youth from time to time, in a city where teenage youth can easily be lost.
On Pink is low key and samples of their work can be found under their Band Camp title On Pink where a 7-track set called “On Pink Is Good” captures their chaotic sound and experimentation, dating back to 2014. However, On Pink reveals that they have been writing a new record to be released this summer.
What are some new projects you guys are working on?
Danny: We just finishing up writing these bangers, so we could feed the kids.
Joe: That’s a fact. Around last August we started writing a new record, it has been a very productive past year and these songs have come a very long way since then. We’ve been playing these new ones live recently, the response has been pretty positive.
Tom: Yeah these new songs are all bangers TBH.
Where did On Pink get its start?
Joe: We started at me and Tom’s music school! There was a Saturday band program we were asked to be a part of. We were all like 11…Dan and I didn’t know Tom yet. We had a really awkward relationship with tom at first since he was a quiet boy.
Dan: Yeah. We thought tom had a really sh*tty taste in music at first. One of the bands he said he liked was “Bush”.
Tom: I still don’t recall ever liking “Bush”.
Joe: Then, I had met Lucas when we were playing in another band; he played guitar and sang in that band. As time progressed he started playing some saxophone in that band. We’d been looking for another troupe of the instrument in Ppink at the time, and I realized that Lucas may be a good fit.
Lucas: I had already known Tom through school, and was introduced to dan through Joe. Dan and I pretty much instantly became bros. My first show with these handsome kids was at a place called Joe Broadway’s. I sang, played synth, and mostly saxophone.
Joe: Lucas had a pretty awful taste in music when I met him. He was pretty much into all of those Hot Topic bands and I was so critical of that the first year of our friendship that I completely reinvented his taste in music.
Lucas: Joe made me the man I am today. Anytime he would catch me listening to Pierce the Veil ion my zone, he wouldn’t feed me anything but potatoes for 9 months in a dark damp space.
Tom: Boot camp for this band is pretty intense.
How has high school changed outlook?
Dan: High school showed us really how far we can this. Prior to high school it was more of a Saturday play date that’d we’d rehearse and get pizza (shout out to “Nonnas”-best pizza in Staten Island).
Joe: Once high school started, it became evident that this was a thing that we can revolve our lives around. As freshmen in high school, Dan and I were introduced to a new music scene, a lot of bands that kept you on your toes and challenged you to be tighter and tighter. That helped to make us the band we are today.
Lucas: When I started high school the following year, Dan and Joe introduced me to a bunch of people. We were playing with bands like Shunklings and Kinsey Scale. Seeing people so close to my age releasing records and playing these shows was just motivating.
Tom: Fun Fact: The first time I crowd surfed was during “Death Aquatic Part Two” by the Kinsey scale at this basement in Bushwick.
Joe: I think we can all agree 72 is our favorite venue.
Dan: “deadass fact”
Lucas: No doubt.
Joe: It’s just such a good spot. The guys who run that place are giving kids a space where they can give back to the community through music, art, and film. We’ve gotten to know all the dudes there super well throughout the past 2-3 years, and they’ve been so supportive.
Tom: It is a second home to us, whether we are playing shows there or just going to see some of our friends perform. A lot of friendships that I have in our scene can most likely be traced back to shows at the 72.
Lucas: Bro and they give out free candy.
How have we added to the community?
Dan: I like to think that any show we play, any show we attend, and any venue we support is in some respect giving back to the community.
Joe: For sure, like Dan said, we stand on the shoulders of giants. There are bands from New York that pioneered the scene that is so close to us today- bands like Ex Models, Sonic Youth, and you can even go as far back to the Velvet Underground. I think any band from New York can agree that we all want to earn a status as high as those guys.
Lucas: Aside from creating a name for ourselves, the New York scene and D.I.Y. scenes across the country are saving lives. We are the type of people who can’t work office jobs or sit through 8 years of college because it is harmful to our mental health. With spaces like Shea Stadium, Silent Barn, Muchmores, and 72, we are presented with spaces where we are free to do what we love, and are surrounded by people who love what we do- musically or conceptually. You are keeping On Pink and every other band alive and outside of a world of corporate oppression.
Tom: There’s no better feeling than playing to people we’ve never met and just seeing them dig everything completely. It’s like having a new member of a family. We appreciate everyone who has come to a show throughout the last 3-4 years, it seriously means so much.
Describe your first gig?
Dan: Our first gig was without Lucas, even though he was in the crowd.
Joe: We played a local bar and restaurant, had no original music yet, and we jammed on Talking Heads and The Cars for a half hour without vocals, it was pretty lame. But, people were super impressed for some reason.
Tom: It was booked in promotion for a 2-hour Avant/harsh noise album Joe, Dan and I had released the previous week. That is not a joke.
Joe: I still think of that album to be brilliant, but it never took off.
Dan: I think a big moment was being handed $25 at the end of the gig and realizing that something so ridiculous can support us, was remarkable. That night, Joe decided that we needed to start a band fund if this was going to be a thing and crudely wrote “band fund” on a white envelope.
Tom: To this day, we still keep all of our fat stacks in that envelope.
Show that impacted all of you?
Joe: We can all agree that our first show at Muchmores pretty much changed our outlook on how we play together.
Dan: We were playing with my other band, “Chalklit”, and a band from Italy named Jaguanera. There had to be about 15 people there, but it was the best we’ve ever played.
Lucas: We like strangely connected that night. We didn’t even have to look each other and changes in dynamics and tempo just came naturally as a unit.
Joe: Ok real talk, there was a brief 30 seconds of that show that I remember levitating. It was in the live breakdown of our song “Whale Couple” and I still recall me jumping off an amp and just staying there in mid-air for a while.
Tom: I’m sure I saw that happen.
How have we progressed?
Lucas: The amount of progression in this band has been terrifying over the past year. We went from playing super fast garage psych stuff to just playing some of the most challenging and progressive stuff I’ve played.
Joe: When our first record dropped, we kept hearing from people that it was really different which was surprising to us. We were fully convinced that it was just generic rock music, and we still are. So I feel the goal for this new album when writing was to write more progressively.
Tom: The efforts on writing this album was a lot more collaborative than the last one too. On the last one, Joe came in with the songs pretty much written and we would play them and they’d still bump. But this time, Joe would come in with just a skeleton of his parts and we would write our own parts and piece them together bit by bit. Right now we’re are working on songs that I wrote the basis of.
Lucas: Tom pulled through with this riff. It bumps.
What impact have you guys had in the current social/ political climate?
Joe: We do what we can and in the past, we’ve played a ton of benefits for causes we believe in. We have played benefits for Bernie Sanders, ACLU, and solidarity. We try to be as active as possible, but I think it’s important that we focus all our attention on keeping our scene existent.
Dan: A few of our songs are about corruption, which is something we all feel very strongly about. I think the way to spread the message is the way we do best, through our songs.
Tom: It’s important that we stick together and we are here to each other in the past months.
Especially growing up, and living, in this toxic Trump, ridden waste land that we call Staten Island.
Music really changed my outlook on high school, it’s basically fueling my high school existence. All I look forward to is the next show or practice with my brothers. For the people that don’t have a crutch like music or art to get them through high school, I apologize, because it’s truly amazing.
I just knew from the start high school would be different. There’s no real music scene where we come from, so I knew going to high school in another borough would not only get me in touch with lifelong friends, but it also fueled so much creativity for On Pink and for everything that I do that involves music. It steered me in the right direction for sure.
I feel ridiculously passionate every day. I’m constantly reminded by all my amazing friends and acquaintances that what I’m doing and that what On Pink, as a band, is doing is worthwhile and it’s necessary. Someone who has given us an incredible amount of support in the past is our brother Rain “Raymond” Johannes. He has driven us from gig to gig, consulted with us on our songs, and is co-producing our next record at his studio we helped him build from the ground up.
Before high school ends, I would:
1) I would like to create a book of my photography throughout my high school years.
2) Finish at least 4/5 albums with the band.
3) Finish at least 3 solo records.
4) Learn how to fly fish.
5) Get better than joe at magic tricks. (“Never happening”-joe)
6) Hit the vape with Toms dad.
7) Take a band road trip but not play any shows along the way.
8) Take a band road trip and play as many shows as we can along the way.
9) I would seriously like to be at least 6 foot 3″.
10) I want to do something that will help a lot of people in a very small way, just something that will have an effect on a lot of people on a daily basis but in an almost unnoticeable way and when I figure out what that is I’ll let you know.
How did your parents first react to the idea of becoming a musician/ joining a band?
My dad at first kind of hated us because we just made noise, but at that point, we were basically a joke band. Now he digs our music though, so that’s cool. My mom has always let us practice in the basement, even since the beginning (when we made noise), so shout outs to her.
What is one thing that people would not expect from you if they did not know you well?
People who don’t know me wouldn’t expect that I am super good at martial arts. Like black belt. And I’m like stupidly good at foosball. I won a tournament once.
What do you hope to do in the future?
I’m trying to go to college for journalism, so hopefully, after that, I can get a job writing for some publication. That is if one of my bands doesn’t make it. And if both of those things don’t work out, I can always work at Chipotle™.
On Pink allows us to express ourselves in ways that nothing else can. When I play music with joe dan and Lucas, I get to do what I can’t do with words and just let loose. Without On Pink I don’t know what I’d be doing.
There isn’t much I’d tell my younger self, probably just to take music seriously, and the importance of how it can give back to the community. I think that things are going well so far. But if I could tell my future self 3 things, I’d say to make sure he doesn’t forget about the people that put him where he is now, have fun and never stop producing bangers with his boys. Which I don’t see stopping anytime soon…