Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is a funk and psychedelic band from Baltimore, Maryland that will be performing at The Haunt in Ithaca tonight at 8:00p.m. The band is best known for its explosive performing style and the eccentric, fun personalities of its band members. Luckily, we were able to chat with vocalist/guitarist “Scrambled” Greg Ormont about the band’s beginnings, his approach to performing and tonight’s concert in advance of the show.
The Sun: Now that you’ve grown to a very successful nationally touring band, what would you say would be your end goal?
GO: Well really since we started it all, its been the same mentality. It is never enough. I mean it is important to set goals and when you meet them to set new ones. Always expect the most out of yourself.
Sun: Is this the kind of advice you’d have for young artists at Cornell and around the world?
GO: I would say a little. What’s really important is just to have fun. When we started the band at the University of Maryland, we were just a couple of students out to have fun. Now we’re on the road performing across this beautiful country. Do what you love and have high hopes.
Sun: Speaking of your band’s touring, I’d imagine you guys must be inspired a lot by the places you visit on tour.
GO: Yeah sure. The city, the people and the venue play a big role in the musical energy. Like I know in California we have all these factors on mind that let us get loose and just have fun. Obviously, traveling for years on the road with your best friends, you’ll have some conflict. But we never forget where it all started, quitting our jobs and now being on the road doing 200 shows a year. It has given us a lot of perspective. Touring can certainly wear you down, but in the end you just have to keep your eye on the ball. Play every concert like it’s the biggest show on earth.
Sun: I have read of your band’s eccentric and sometimes wild performances. Help me think it through.
GO: Well there’s always a little nerve and anxiety. Some band members have it more than others. But we all know the effort we put in our material and we’re always well prepared. We just stay composed and try to be independent.
Sun: You touched on the preparation that Pigeons has before a performance. Can you speak a little more to that?
GO: We’re always serious about what we do so by the time the show comes. We have a relaxed mindset. This makes it easier to have fun and release that wild side. We always perform with a lot of energy and muster it up from our personalities.
Sun: So were these stage personalities evident since the Pigeon’s beginnings, or is they things you’ve developed over time?
GO: Well, when we started back in college, we played with a chip on our shoulder. We felt like as young people it was our duty to play out of garage and get our word out. Actually, our first album, Funk E P, was completely or mostly recorded in one night. Studio time was expensive, and we weren’t stressed. We just loved it, and it was really love pressure. We approach every project with the basis of having fun. We’re out performing and recording, you know, balls to the wall and all. It’s really self-gratifying just to be out there, so why not enjoy yourself?
Sun: Well have you been enjoying Ithaca so far?
GO: Oh yeah. You know it’s gorgeous, young and lively. Actually, the owners of The Haunt are great, and it is a really warm venue. Just another beautiful place is this beautiful, vast country. I certainly never would stumble upon the gorges of Ithaca or other great places if I wasn’t touring with this band today.
Sun: I, personally, have not seen your band perform live. Coming from my place, what can I expect from this performance?
GO: You’ve got to be ready to dance, sweat and smile your butt off. We have a great following called The Flock. They’re fun and great to be around. You’ll definitely feed off their energy and ours. At times we’ll be in your face reminding you where you are. Get off your phone and out of your notebook, because we’re going to bring the heat.
Michael Chang is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org