Recently, Josh Sickels and Nic Snyder of the awesomely awesome 1,2,3 took the time to answer some questions for us about their hometown of Pittsburgh, or “The Burgh” as these resident Pennsylvanians have earned the right to call it.
I think this just might be my favorite Hometowns ever. The guys show their The Steel City a whole lotta love, and somehow I tricked them into giving Saint Louis a whole lotta love, too. I think we should make them honorary citizens or something.
The good news is that they will be back in “The Lou” (just kidding, I don’t really call it that…anymore) this weekend for a show at the Koken Art Factory. They’ll be playing with their friends, The Mhurs, a Saint Louis band celebrating a CD release on Saturday, August 20th. HUMDRUM and Spelling Bee will also join the fun. The show starts at 9 PM, and tickets are available at the door for $5. GO TO THIS, GUYS!
Check out 1,2,3’s video for “Work,” one of my favorite songs of the year so far:
First off, I just caught you guys back in June when you opened for GIVERS at Cicero’s. And now, you’re coming back to my town in just a few weeks. What do you miss most about YOUR town when you’re away? ‘Cause it seems like lately, you’re away a lot…
NS: Those things that do tend to creep into your mind are mostly people. Friends, family. But, if you’re talking about places, and I think you are, there’s a pizza place called Jioio’s that is like no other. That can quickly become missed. There’s a great bar called Gooski’s, which is in possession of the finest jukebox in the city, which is easy to miss. Jerry’s Records or Paul’s CDs. Rt. 993. Iron City Beer.
JS: Cheap drinks, cheap food, no traffic, family, friends, my cat.
From what you can tell, do Saint Louis and Pittsburgh have anything in common? Or if not, what makes the cities so different?
NS: We’ve had a few small opportunities to wander around Saint Louis. And from what I can tell, it’s not very much like Pittsburgh. It seems a little more spread out. And there’s more of a southern vibe going on. We’re big fans of southern culture, so that’s a good thing. We’ve always had a great time in Saint Louis, though. And that’s not bullshit. We really do. We’ve always had really great audiences, and we made friends with The Mhurs, who we’re fans of. People have been very gracious to us here.
JS: The two cities aren’t that similar, but at the same time, they aren’t that different in certain ways. They both seem to have that “if you live here, you’re from here” type vibe, whereas cities like LA and NYC, no one who lives there is from there. They are also similar in the fact that you have some really nice neighborhoods that kinda border some really gnarly parts of town. Like Nic said, we have some good friends in Saint Louis, and I always enjoy playing there. Something about Saint Louis I just enjoy… it’s a vibe I cant really explain.
When you’re back in Pittsburgh, what are some of your favorite spots to visit? Walk me through all your favorite off-the-beaten-path bars, restaurants, shops, museums, etc.
NS: Hmm, I guess I kind of ruined this one on the first question. So, I’ll let Josh tell his side.
JS: Pittsburgh has a lot of these things. Nic mentioned Jioio’s, well, I’ll raise him Mineo’s and Fiori’s for pizza, People’s for some of the best Indian food anywhere in the country. Great bars like Gooski’s, The Squirrel Cage, Brillobox, etc, where you can still get a beer for three bucks or less. We have some cool museums, a really cool science center, with one of those bad ass Omnimax theaters that make you wanna puke when you’re sitting inside it. There is also some really cool parks here, that are huge… there is nice greenery in the middle of the city.
What are some of your favorite Pittsburgh venues to play? Have you played any homecoming shows recently, or do you have any lined up for the near future?
NS: Brillobox for a small club gig, Mr. Smalls for a big. We just played this DIY place called The Shop for our album release. There are a lot of really cool places like that in the Burgh, that nurture creativity and art, and do it on an artist’s budget.
JS: Nic nailed it. Our next show is at Mr. Smalls with Bombay Bicycle Club. It’s always nice playing in front of your family and friends; it lights a certain fire under your ass to play with more intensity.
Does Pittsburgh, in any way, ever infiltrate itself into your music? Either in terms of sound or lyrics?
NS: Of course, both our dads/step-dads were/are a part of the Pittsburgh music scene ever since we were alive. Whether we want it or not, the city pops up in the DNA of our songs.
JS: I’d say more lyrically than anything; our sound is pretty unique compared to what goes on here, but the spirit of the city is felt in it. I think our next album, especially, will have more of Pittsburgh creep in… Whatever that may be exactly. Being from Pittsburgh is like it’s own entity…it’s something we’ll always identify with. I’m sure it’s the same for artists from a town like Saint Louis as well.