Pie or die

Personal and the Pizzas deliver to the Total Trash Fest

Nothin' crusty about it


MUSIC This year's Total Trash Fest delivers a number of reasons why the Bay Area is a peerless pizzeria of garage rock: Shannon and the Clams, Hunx and His Punx (or Punkettes), and Nobunny are on hand to serve the most powerful, flirtatious, and leporid trash, whether they're in outerwear or underwear that's fun to wear. But the freshest studio delivery of the event belongs to Hoboken, N.J.'s Personal and the Pizzas, who'll be delivering 12-inch black discs of the debut album Raw Pie (1-2-3-4 Go! Records). Unlike the regular slices the group shares with lucky audiences, they ain't free, though.

Raw Pie kicks off with the heartfelt anthem "I Don't Wanna Be No Personal Pizza" before moving on to declare love for a girl with "Pepperoni Eyes" and make it clear that "Nobody Makes My Girl Cry But Me." Raw Pie's lead guitar sound — one that bears an uncanny resemblance to the livewire riffing on a great album by a Bay Area band last year — is the one-of-a-kind sauce that makes songs like "Pizza Army" so tasty. Will Personal and the Pizzas hook up with Italy's Miss Chain and the Broken Heelz at Total Trash? Who knows? As Raw Pie's most inspiring song "I Can Reed" attests, Personal is a man of few words, but I recently cornered him to get some answers about what matters most in his world.

SFBG Can you tell me about how Personal and the Pizzas met and what your upbringings were like?

Personal Uh, we met at this pizza joint called Benny Tudino's in Hoboken [N.J.] after some rock 'n' roll gig in the city. We were all real young, but we didn't go to school or nothin'. We just hung out on the street and sang Stooges songs and stuff. Real dropouts.

SFBG What pizzeria makes your favorite pizza, and what do you like on it?

P Carmine's Original in Greenpoint [N.Y.) Totonno's is good, too — the Coney Island one. I usually just get a regular.

SFBG What's your favorite place — pizzeria or not — to take a girl with pepperoni eyes?

P Usually just get a pie delivered, watch the tube, and make out on the couch. Drink a few brews. Get real loose, ya know?

SFBG Personal, you're a talented guitarist who has lent your abilities to some Bay Area bands. Raw Pie rips. What are the keys to your signature guitar sound, and how do you keep your fingers from catching on fire?

P Thanks. You know those hand grippers? Yeah, I just work out with those everyday. Do a few reps, then crank my ax to 12. The thing just starts rippin'. SMOKIN' HOT!

SFBG This is the drug issue, so if you're high, what would you order on your pizza? Is pizza your favorite drug?

P I don't smoke dope. I ain't no hippie.

SFBG "I Ain't Takin' You Out" is a timely song. What is your idea of a perfect night in?

P Usually just get a pie delivered, watch the tube, and make out on the couch. Drink a few brews. Get real loose, ya know?

SFBG "$7.99 for Love" makes me wonder if you might be penning a beer-and-pizza diet book sometime. Do you eat anything other than pizza and drink anything except beer?

P Uh, no. I mean, I like spaghetti.

SFBG If you curl up at night with a good book or magazine, what do you read?

P Hustler, Barely Legal, Buttman. You know, all the classics

SFBG Personal, are you a lover, or a fighter, or both?

P I'm the world's best lover. I like to get in fights though, too, if I'm bored.

SFBG What shouldn't be put on a pizza?

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