I had first encountered Michael Pitt in 2000 while composing music for Larry Clark’s film Bully. Of the ensemble of young and crazy actors, it was Pitt who made the most resonant impression on me. His character was of a teenager I had remembered from the recesses of High School USA; giddy, feral and recklessly alluring. Two years later I was introduced to him through filmmaker Gus van Sant when Gus was developing the film concept which became Last Days. Michael arrived at my New York apartment and we immediately hit it off. He was very anxious to work with Gus on the character of Blake, based on Gus’ impressionistic take on Kurt Kobain’s final hours. Michael talked about his band PAGODA which prompted Gus to ask him to play me a song. All I had lying around the apartment was a crummy electric guitar and after some hesitation Michael took it and began to belt out a solo rendition of Lesson Learned, the first track off the Pagoda CD. I was taken aback. Not only by his rag-tag confidence in playing to an audience of two but by the song which was hook driven and emotionally genuine. It was at that moment that I said, “dude let’s do a record.”LISTEN to the Pagoda album @ AOL. Buy it if you like it. See them:
After the release of Last Days Michael brought Pagoda to Italy to spend a solid month in Luca Amendolara’s studio to record most of what has become their premier CD. Over 40 songs were recorded as well as a handful more back in Pagoda’s hometown of Brooklyn. By the end of 2004 we had whittled our initial selection down to the tracks which exist on this first disc. Since this time Pagoda has changed radically as a band with almost all new members in place of the recording unit but the intense musical mind of Michael Pitt remains constant.
From what I glean from Michael, he was young kid from New Jersey who migrated to New York City to play rock n’ roll. He fell into a drama workshop of some sort and was cast in a few television programs, and then theatrical film. His star has always been on the rise though his ambitions do not lie in the Hollywood meat market. Pagoda is not a part time job for Pitt; he is not an actor out on vacation here. He is an artist with living expression as his goal and music is where he thrives. And Pagoda as a live band kicks much ass.
Ecstatic Peace records + tapes
Feb 27 - Tonic, NYC w/ Jamie Bochert, Spektor Flux, Hill Rod Deluxe & Larry Wright
Mar 16 - SXSW, Austin - Ecstatic showcase w/ Thurston Moore, Magik Markers, etc.
Actress Jena Malone also has some shows coming up.