Pizza with Six Bands: Alpha Rabbit, Dust of Days, James Harold (aka “The Arrivist”), Jesse Elliot, Meeko Brando, and The Paper Jets at Federici’s in Freehold

by Brian Erickson • November 29, 2017 • Arts & Entertainment, MusicComments (0)35

“Just let your stomach do the chewing.”

-Frank Lettieri Jr.

It happens every November. Like clockwork, the air takes on a dry, harsh quality; the wind cuts and an unforgiving, immovable cold settles upon our region for what will likely be the next 5 months. It’s also the season of Franksgiving, where Frank Lettieri Jr – frontman of Dust of Days, drummer of The Paper Jets, and occasional producer/engineer – celebrates his birthday! At the behest of Meeko Brando bassist/bandleader Scott Silvester, we all met up at Federici’s in Freehold to help Frank ring in his 35th year. Shortly after ordering our appetizers, I looked around, noticed the company I was in and offered a simple proposal: “Let’s do a ‘Pizza with the Band’ article!” As for who exactly that company was and which bands they play in, here’s the breakdown:

While we all remain connected through music, we know one another primarily as friends. Parker was the first person I ever met as a student at Rider University. I’d meet Frank the next year, and James the following one. He introduced us to Jesse Elliot four years after that. Scott Silvester started hanging around and brought Ewaskiewicz with him. Harold has known Yen since high school. We’ve all been playing shows together, off-and-on, for over a decade.

Since this wasn’t your traditional sit-down/interview segment, I just decided to dip in and out of the many conversations that were happening around me and focus on the common factor that brought us all together: food!

Four orders of mozzarella sticks and a couple ginger ale’s later, our food arrived. Lettieri and I each ordered a large plain pie for ourselves and he added Mama’s Special Lasagna which was served in a deep ceramic dish with sauce still boiling around this massive stack of homemade pasta, ricotta, ground beef and sausage. Elliot ordered a pepperoni and mushroom, Ewaskiewicz got a pepperoni, Harold added a half plain/half pepperoni, Parker got a vodka pie, Silvester took on the sausage while Yen took her pie with shrimp scampi on top.

The pizza was an old fashioned thin-crust, cooked well-done so that the blackened crust broke apart as soon as you folded each slice. The cheese held firm and worked in perfect, savory harmony with the thin layer of sauce.

Since we were all there for Lettieri, it should not go unmentioned that his Dust of Days project will be playing two shows this December, their first since the release of their latest album Analog Mind Bender. Meanwhile, the other acts are all winding down their respective years. Jesse Elliot, Alpha Rabbit, and Meeko Brando all have one more show each, and while I’ve got three, The Paper Jets have none as we continue our work in the studio. Silvester’s Mixtape Nation television program is set to air its third season early in 2018. Here are each band’s forthcoming schedules:

Alpha Rabbit:

  • December 30th, at Mill Hill Basement, Trenton, NJ
    • With Ernest, Little Vicious, and Real Rude Dude Girl

Brian Erickson:

  • December 5th at Pierce Memorial Church, Farmingdale, NJ
    • With Matt Cook
  • December 9th at The Chubby Pickle, Highlands, NJ
    • With Matt Cook and Jesse Elliot
  • December 29th at The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, NJ
    • With Fun While You Wait, and Lowlight

Dust of Days:

  • December 6th at The Asbury Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ
    • With Avery Mandeville, Justin Pope, and Tara Dente
  • December 16th at John & Peter’s, New Hope, PA
    • With Jeff Fiedler, Quality Living, and Lowlight

Jesse Elliot:

  • December 9th at The Chubby Pickle, Highlands, NJ
    • With Matt Cook & Brian Erickson

Meeko Brando:

  • December 28th, at Mill Hill Basement, Trenton, NJ
    • With The Low Doses, Soldiers of Suburbia, and The Carousers (acoustic)

Full gallery below.

Copyright, You Don’t Know Jersey, LLC (2010-2017)

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