[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]
YOUNGSTOWN — The War on Drugs band member Anthony LaMarca describes “Indianola Pizza Dough,” the new album by his side band, The Building, as an homage to his Youngstown roots.
“Indianola Pizza Dough,” set to be released April 23, has 14 songs and is named in remembrance of LaMarca’s great aunt Margaret Seminara and her pizza shop, Margie’s Pizza, on Indianola Avenue on the South Side of Youngstown.
“Also on Indianola Avenue is Peppermint Productions, which is where I do all my recording and [it is] a super huge, really important part of Youngstown music. All of these great Polka records have been recorded there, all these really cool pop records and funk, soul, rock,” he said.
“The overarching idea is like imagining this world in which all these musicians from Peppermint, you know, at some point they would be eating pizza from my family's pizza shop back before I was ever born and these worlds were interacting even before I existed and just trying to live in that,” he added. “The album is kind of like a celebration and a tribute to all of these different artists.”
LaMarca told Mahoning Matters that he collaborated with a variety of Youngstown musicians such as Polka favorites, The Del Sinchak Band, and Tony March, founder of Tammy Records and former manager of The Edsels.
“It's like a bit of a collage. The way I like to describe it to some people, it’s as if you overdub me, The Building album, on top of it cassette that someone had recorded a Polka radio show. There's all these little bits from some of the local Polka radio shows in there and it's this kind of collating mixtape of my vision and celebration of music from Youngstown,” he said.
Additionally, some of the audio on Indianola Pizza Dough is from Pizza Joe’s, which was founded by LaMarca’s uncle Joe Seminara in New Castle. LaMarca’s brother currently owns the Boardman shop.
“[There’s] some old tapes of my family back in the 80’s just talking at my uncle's pizza shop, a different pizza shop [than Margie’s Pizza]. There's like all these little snippets of audio of my family talking when they were kids. So it’s as much [of a] nostalgic thing for them as it is for me,” LaMarca said.
LaMarca told Mahoning Matters that he’s had a passion for music for as long as he can remember.
“I was just obsessed and I had a little Walkman that I was attached to,” he said. “I started playing drums when I was maybe like 4 or 5, [I] got a little drum set and [played] songs with my brother. We started a band with our cousin when I was like 12.”
LaMarca moved to New York City in 2005 after high school and attended The New School. While in NYC, LaMarca began touring with different music groups, such as Dean & Britta in 2007 and St. Vincent in 2009, before starting his career with Grammy Award-winning rock band, The War on Drugs.
“I did a tour with [The War on Drugs bassist Dave Hartley] and around that time they were finishing up recording Lost in the Dream and he was like, ‘Oh, you should come down to Philly, and hang out for a couple days and just play with us. We're thinking about adding a couple guys this tour,’” LaMarca said. “I started touring with them in 2014 and that was it. I’ve been with them ever since.”
“Throughout that [I] was always releasing my own music as well,” he added.
LaMarca said even when he lived in New York, he always felt musically connected to Youngstown and identified as a Youngstown musician.
“I've always been really excited by artists that have a strong sense of place, a strong sense of regionalness to their work … and I feel like this record is really kind of the biggest expression of that idea of regionalism,” he said.“Indianola Pizza Dough” will be released on Peppermint Records, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and will be available on vinyl for $20, cassette for $10 or digitally for $8. Go here for information or to preorder.