The Laughing Pizza story is a true-life tale of how a family turned lemons -- a child singing along to dirty songs on the radio -- into lucrative lemonade.
At the time, Billy Schlosser and Lisa Michaelis were semi-retired songwriters living in Atlanta and raising their daughter, Emily. "It's kind of weird to watch your kid singing to 'C'mon, baby, get down on me,' or whatever," says Michaelis, recalling the experience. "So we started writing songs for her."
Those tracks found approval among the couple's friends, and next thing you know, the duo started making their own CDs. Even Emily got in on the act, singing along with her parents on numbers like "Share a Smile!" and "Candy Bar." Meanwhile, Schlosser assembled the music. "He plays six instruments. He's a one-man band, and an amazing producer and engineer," says Michaelis of her husband.
And what does Laughing Pizza mean? "Laughing and pizza are both things that are best when shared," says Michaelis in a sunny, upbeat voice. "Our music is best when shared." You can hear some of its tracks on www.laughingpizza.com.
The family released its first Laughing Pizza CD, Meet the Pizza!s, in 2003 via its own company, Little Bean. Three more releases -- 2003's Feelin' Good! DVD, 2004's Pizza Party! CD, and 2005's Share A Smile! DVD -- sprouted forth in relatively quick succession. Regional tours, appearances at the White House and on CNN, and fame among rugrats followed.
Now, after issuing CDs and DVDs for the past four years through its company, Laughing Pizza signed a distribution deal in May with Sony Wonder, the children's division of Sony BMG. Sony Wonder will issue a revised edition of the family's Share A Smile! DVD in September. "They're going to sweeten it up a little bit. They're going to add a couple of bonus tracks and some karaoke features," says Michaelis. She adds that the label is negotiating a TV show for Laughing Pizza.
Michaelis and Schlosser are actually well-traveled musicians. The couple met in the '80s as part of Kid Danger and the Skirts, an ad hoc band formed by Village People member David Hodo (the construction worker), and competed on "Star Search," that TV cheesefest and launching pad for Destiny's Child, Britney Spears and Rosie O'Donnell. "It was such a surreal experience," says Michaelis. "It was, like, Johnny Carson and Mr. T were the hosts with Ed McMahon [during our episode]." (Kid Danger and the Skirts won one week before losing to future country star Sawyer Brown.)
Michaelis scored a dance hit singing on house music legend Frankie Knuckles' 1988 track "Rain Falls," and then she reteamed with Schlosser to form Billy & Lisa. With help from Steely Dan's producer Gary Katz, the couple issued the pop-rock album Wake Up the Neighbors. "It never really came out," says Michaelis. MCA Records only gave it a limited release, but the album managed to yield the satirical NPR favorite "Young Republicans."
As songwriters for Warner/Chappell during much of the '90s, Michaelis and Schlosser penned tracks for everyone from Roger Daltrey to the Olsen Twins before settling down in Atlanta to raise Emily. "We really got out of the music business," says Michaelis, who became a homemaker while Schlosser launched an IT consulting career.
Now back in the music industry, Michaelis says, "[Laughing Pizza] paved the way for us to go back to the music business, but actually do it from our heart without trying to write the next No. 1 hit. Laughing Pizza is [not only] the answer to us being able to do something that we were really meant to do in our lives, but it was more of a need for our child."
Laughing Pizza has special plans for its Father's Day show at Eddie's Attic. Michaelis excitedly says the group plans to perform "Daddy," a song from Meet the Pizza!s CD. "We have the ultimate Father's Day song. We always love a good show on Father's Day."
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.