“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”-themed, pizza-devouring, chops-heavy pop punk group Cowabunga Pizza Time consists of members from the Baltimore Rock Opera Society and bands like Thee Lexington Arrows, Gunwife Gone, and Entertainment System—and does sound like some kind of candy-colored combination of all those groups’ ideas and ideals. Their new album, “Secret Of The Booze” is out this week with a record release show on Jan. 26 at the Ottobar (if you’ve not heard the band yet, start with ‘(Skeebrawlin’) At The Arcade’). Highly recommended if you like: Horse The Band, Stan Bush, Andrew W.K., Harold Faltermeyer, and Eastman & Laird. Cowabunga Pizza Time took a moment from a recent practice to answer the Beat’s 20 Questions: Below are answers from the Ralph (guitar and vocals), Mickey (lead vocals), June (keyboards, vocals), Leon (guitar), Danny (bass), and Chip (drums).
1. What do you do?
RALPH: Play guitar, sing backup vocals, sleep, and ninja train in the daytime—kick butt at nighttime.
MICKEY: I jump up and down and yell about stuff, swing the mic-chaku around, and give out the free pizza, motivational platitudes, and high kicks. Sometimes I sing too.
JUNE: Play keys, flute, and sing leads and backups. Hone my psychic skills.
LEON: Rip leads, study chord charts, protect the innocent, but pretty much just always drilling scales.
DANNY: Play bass and install secret gizmos and weapons into everyone’s instruments.
CHIP: I play drums and align the rest of the band with the ever burning spirit of the ninja.
2. Why do you do it?
RALPH: It’s all I know.
MICKEY: I dunno. Beats workin’, I guess.
JUNE: Why does anyone do anything? For the love of it.
LEON: There will always be someone who needs Cowabunga Pizza Time and my job is to make sure we are there to help!
DANNY: Because I have rhythm in my soul and it’s important to always be prepared.
CHIP: Because one must do if one can.
3. What Baltimore stereotype annoys you the most?
RALPH: That everywhere is “The Wire”
MICKEY: That the city’s problems are the result of the people who live here not working hard enough to fix them or not caring enough about each other. That’s a load of bullshit. Can I say bullshit?
JUNE: That it’s SO super scary and dangerous and it always will be. Yes, bad things happen, but people need love and assistance, not disdain and ignorance.
LEON: That we bleed orange and purple . . . we don’t bleed.
DANNY: That we have “fatbergs” floating around the sewers here. I’ve never seen one.
CHIP: To be annoyed is to separate oneself from the whole of the universe and presume to be above it.
4. Favorite Baltimorean?
RALPH: As long as you’re not an asshole—all of you.
MICKEY: Tie between the “don’t urinate on my leg” lawyer dude from TV and Kyle Merman.
JUNE: There are too many people to love to pick just one.
LEON: Chip has driven me and inspired me beyond words so I would probably pick him.
DANNY: Ottmar Mergenthaler.
CHIP: Tom Tasselmyer.
5. Favorite restaurant/eatery?
RALPH: Pizza, pretty much any of them.
MICKEY: American Wings and Pizza.
JUNE: Paulie Gee’s pizza.
LEON: I usually don’t have much time to go out to eat. I love ordering pizza from Spartan’s and eating it at home in the pair.
DANNY: Joe Squared.
6. Last thing you bought?
RALPH: Component ingredients for smoke bombs.
MICKEY: A bag of Utz crab chips, a pineapple soda, and two packs of Magic cards.
JUNE: Pad See Ew and a yoga class.
LEON: Pizza and guitar picks.
DANNY: A soldering iron.
CHIP: Money is a manmade concept that holds no value in the realm of spirit.
7. Last thing you read?
RALPH: Dark Nights Metal: “Batman: The Murder Machine.”
MICKEY: I’ve got two comics and an anarchist zine by my bed that I need to finish.
JUNE: A piece of music.
LEON: Frank Zappa’s autobiography.
DANNY: “The Essential Inventor’s Guide” (2010 edition).
CHIP: “The Watchmen.”
8. Last Facebook post or tweet?
RALPH: “Don’t be a dingus, Come out to our album release show at ottobar on January 26th 2018, dingus.”
MICKEY: I post links to music I like. Have you heard that new Andrew W.K. song yet?
JUNE: A video of an adorable man rapping while bathing his cat.
LEON: I don’t use social media too often. It clouds the mind. That being said the last thing I posted was a cute little kitty cat . . . playing a guitar . . .
DANNY: “Hey Table Legs, this razzleberry is happening tonight at the Thermos Center!” (I”ve been unsuccessfully trying to start new slang words)
CHIP: A Tide Pod meme.
9. What do you believe in?
MICKEY: I believe in Human Power.
JUNE: Love rules all, but touch my keys and die.
LEON: Practice makes perfect, hard work, and my totally radical Cowabunga pals.
DANNY: Perpetual Motion, perfect devotion, the things I never had, my Mum and my Dad.
10. What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?
RALPH: The sooner you start training the sooner you start kicking ass.
MICKEY: To never give up, but to have the guts to ask for help when you need it.
JUNE: To trust myself.
LEON: Things tend to work out.
DANNY: Ohm’s Law.
CHIP: Knowledge without experience can be as dangerous as ignorance.
11. “The Wire”—yea or nay?
RALPH: Mostly good, final season was kinda meh.
MICKEY: RE-ELECT FRANK SOBOTKA.
JUNE: Never seen it.
LEON: Is that the one about Baltimore?
CHIP: “Pink Flag” was a good album.
12. What are you tired of?
RALPH: I keep leaving my sai behind after battles. Gotta stop doing that.
MICKEY: Waking up every day to hear some new pile of Trump related bullshit. I can still say bullshit, right?
JUNE: Misogyny. Destructive gender roles.
LEON: All of this Nazi crap. Cowabunga Pizza Time does not play around when it comes to a Nazi threat. They better keep out of Baltimore or they’re gonna find themselves in a world of hurt!
DANNY: Of waking up tired.
CHIP: The importance of significance.
13. What are you grateful for?
MICKEY: Yeah, and our friends too.
UNE: My ability to make music and kick ass. I can say ass, right?
LEON: Rock and roll, pizza, and good friends.
CHIP: The beauty of existence.
14. Favorite quote?
RALPH: “DEATH TO VIDEODROME! LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!’
MICKEY: “If you think you’re too old for rock & roll, then you are.”
JUNE: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard
LEON: “You will only achieve if you let go of your doubt and push past your limits.” – Chip
DANNY: “Invention, my dear friends, is 93 percent perspiration, 6 percent electricity, 4 percent evaporation, and 2 percent butterscotch ripple.”
CHIP: “It’s okay not to know but not okay not to ask.” – David Lieberman
15. Best gift you ever received?
RALPH: Probably Nintendo.
MICKEY: My first bike.
JUNE: The little girl growing in my womb right now.
LEON: My guitar!
DANNY: A graphing calculator.
16. Favorite local nightspot?
RALPH: Anywhere with a stage, some loud as hell speakers, a bar, and is within range of pizza delivery.
MICKEY: Sidebar, l think. I really miss Liam Flynn’s.
JUNE: Sidebar. Ottobar. Windup Space. Metro Gallery.
LEON: I spend most of my time at home in the sewer dojo.
DANNY: Engineers Club of Baltimore
CHIP: Windup Space, Ottobar, or Sidebar.
17. If your life were a book, what would the title be?
RALPH: “Cowabunga Pizza Time: Out of the Shadows.”
MICKEY: “My Life as an Idiot”
JUNE: “’She Can Really Wail’: The Story of June”
LEON: “Practice, Patience, and Pizza: A Story of Determination, Discipline, and . . . Pizza.”
DANNY: “The Phenomenology of Living in the Sewer.”
CHIP: “What Are You Even Saying?”
18. What do you want the most?
RALPH: Justice and pizza.
MICKEY: Fellowship and pizza.
JUNE: Equality and pizza.
LEON: Skill and pizza.
DANNY: Knowledge and pizza.
CHIP: Discipline and pizza.
19. What do you look for in a significant other?
RALPH: Fundamental martial arts understanding and a good pizza recipe.
MICKEY: Someone that loves cartoons, wants the world to be a better place for everyone on it, and can burp at least as loudly as I can.
JUNE: Ninja skills, music skills, emotional intelligence.
LEON: Someone that can appreciate a slice and some good rock!
DANNY: A good library and a working knowledge of electronics.
CHIP: A stillness of mind and purity of soul.
20. Why Baltimore?
RALPH: Because Baltimore is our home.
MICKEY: That’s kind of a big question.
JUNE: Is there anywhere else, really?
LEON: We love the people.
DANNY: It’s a strategic location near the pizza belt.
CHIP: Why ask why?