|COOKIN' WITH THE ISOTONERS is the La MaMa debut
of the new satirical gay cabaret punk band which has been gathering a devoted
following since it sprouted in the East Village bars this year. The ensemble
is four young endearing noodlers whose charm is in their unpolished musical
style and the innocent satires of young gay life in their lyrics.
Clint Asay (guitar, vocals) and Ben Lerman (keyboard, vocals) met in
2001 as waiters at the Time Café. In early 2002, due largely to
the acquisition of a friend's 4-track, they decided to set their sense
of humor to music. (They wrote a song before going out one night.) About
six months later, they played their first show at Sidewalk Café
(at Sixth Street and Avenue A). In November, after that show, having named
themselves The Isotoners (for no particular reason; it sounded funny and
reflected a campy sensibility), they added accordianist James Andralis
(their favorite bartender) and drummer Bryce Edwards (who had been guitarist
and vocalist of the band Boy Crazy). Edwards is the only "band"
musician in the bunch.
Their musical style evolved into what you would rightly call gay cabaret-punk.
They play songs about dating foreign men, rebellious teenagers with a
penchant for fashion, and having sex while commuting. Their material is
novelty songs and parodies, all written by the band, but mostly by Lerman
and Asay, with musical input from the rest of the quartet.
Ben Lerman lives the Lower East Side, Clint Asay in Williamsburg, Brooklyn;
Andralis in Sunnyside, Queens and Edwards in Kensington, Brooklyn.
Their most popular song so far is "Subway Love," about finding
love in mass transit. There is another song about dating foreign waiters,
with a chorus that goes: "You are a love refugee/You're in my arms
illegally/you fucked up and now I'm having you deported." In a parody
of the hobo classic "Big Rock Candy Mountain," they sing: "In
the Big Gay Paradise Valley/The men are hot as hell/And everyone gets
photographed/By David LaChapelle."
The La MaMa show will be a 45 minute-set by the Isotoners, some special
guests, and a couple of very short films by Brendan Toner.