Band challenges norms, audience  

caeserpink 46G
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1/25/2006 5:46 pm

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3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Band challenges norms, audience

By Paul Thompson
Collegian Staff Writer

As their drummer Frank Picarazzi tells it, State College hasn't always been hospitable to the radical sexual politics that are part of Caeser Plnk and the Imperial Orgy's music.

"Last time we played in State College, there was some big muscular guy who must've taken some umbrage with what Caeser was singing about and came up and started yelling at us pretty viciously," Picarazzi said. "But, you know, it happens. We like to be lightning rods."

There will indeed be something stirring up Saturday night, as Penn State alum Caeser Pink and his band, The Imperial Orgy, will take the stage at Café 210 West, 210 W. College.

The envelope-pushing band explores sexual norms and rocks hard while doing it. As Pink said, the Imperial Orgy's music and his message go hand in hand.

"It's very hard for me to separate the two," Pink said. "Music is what I use to express what I need to say, but in music, there's both the literal meaning of the lyrics and the message I try to convey, and then there's the instrumental aspect of it."

The band is familiar with the local downtown scene and Pink said he's not convinced State College is ready for the controversial content of some of the Imperial Orgy's music, but he's glad to offer anyone the chance to find out for themselves.

"The political environment on the national map has certainly grown more conservative," Pink said. "And in State College in particular, you have a bulk of the people who are mainstream conservative. But then, with the college, you have all these groups, the gay group and other sorts of groups. Most of the entertainment in town is geared toward that mainstream audience, but we try to offer something for those who might feel disenfranchised from that mainstream group."

Besides, as Pink said, he's not just trying to shock, he's trying to educate and entertain, too.

"The thing is, when a lot of people hear the name Imperial Orgy, they're outraged," Pink said. "But we're very serious about what we do, and if you take the time to look past the superficial things, you see that there's a really positive message at the core of the music."

As guitarist Tony Coque said, Pink's music doesn't offer a particularly partisan message so much as it challenges its audience to think for themselves.

"I just think it's basically social commentary," Coque said. "It questions the current administration and the things they're doing, sure, but it's not a liberal message or a conservative message. It's really just trying to encourage people to think about their liberties."

The Imperial Orgy, with group members numbering in the double digits, might seem a bit hefty for the tiny stage at Café 210.

So does the rock 'n' roll explosion the Orgy offers work within the constraints of the space at the Café?

"From a technical point of view, not at all," Pink said. "This is music that ideally needs to be performed in some sort of theater setting, instead of cramming 10 people onto a little stage. But as far as what happens between the band and the audience, it's pretty amazing. People come in and see something going on that's very different than what they're used to. But we draw them in, seduce them as the night goes on."

Drummer Piccarazzi seems to think Pink's got another reason for choosing the band's regular homecoming spot for their upcoming concert.

"One thing that strikes me as odd is that it's sort of a sports bar," Picarazzi said of Café 210 West. "But I think there's some method behind that madness. I mean, the demographic there isn't exactly the kind to buy a Caeser Pink CD. But I think that charges Caeser up and gives him a chance to either convert them or piss them off."

Whatever the crowd's reaction, Picarazzi feels Imperial Orgy's show is a memorable experience.

"Even now, when we go back, people from State College, Lewistown and the surrounding areas, they all remember the band," Picarazzi said. "It makes it more special to play here than, you know, just some place in Jersey."

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