If there’s one outfit you’d figure would keep their sense of humor during the COVID-19 mess, it’s Cheekface. The indie-rock humorists (a term we invoke in reverence of the great lineage of American humorists) have been busy podcasting, doing live streams and, main man Greg Katz confesses, watching “Wheel of Fortune.” He buys a vowel in the latest edition of Buzz Bands LA’s QUARANTUNES:
THE LATEST FROM CHEEKFACE
Cheekface debuted in 2018 with a memorable ode to Buzz Bands LA’s World Headquarters, “Glendale,” the first taste of what would become their 2019 album “Therapy Island.” The cheekiness comes courtesy of Greg Katz, the speaking-singing frontman who’s the head honcho at indie label New Professor Music, bassist-singer Amanda Tannen and drummer Mark Edwards. Having been compared to Jonathan Richman, Stephen Malkmus and Lou Reed (and we would add L.A.’s own Henry Clay People), Cheekface makes wryly humorous, often self-effacing and sometimes astringent indie-rock, all of which Katz delivers with a hard-earned smirk, having toiled in publishing and A&R. He knows how things work and can write couplets about it. Their latest single “Reward Points” salutes “diet fries,” and they also recently covered a Green Day song for a compilation benefiting the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
HOW ARE YOU HOLDING UP AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MANAGE THE ‘STAY AT HOME’ EDICT?
I’m watching a lot of “Wheel Of Fortune,” and I’d like to solve the puzzle. We started a podcast, Cheekface Tonight, that’s out now wherever you listen to podcasts. I got sucked into a group art project called Bananaphone where I’m writing songs responding to other people’s art – basically an artistic game of telephone – that will probably see the light of day in a month or two. I’ve also been doing covers and live streams on our Twitter and Instagram. There’s also an action figure.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WHEN THIS IS OVER?
In February we played some truly crazy shows in Chicago, Philly, and Brooklyn. We’re looking forward to getting back to those cities, and to Texas, Seattle and Atlanta. We also still have to do our first-ever headline gig in L.A. and set up the long-promised Cheekfacetival. Also, we’re gonna have to do another Talking Heads tribute show eventually.
ANYTHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PLAYLIST?
The playlist starts and ends with songs about the end of the world, an older one from Skeeter Davis and a newer one from Mitski. The rest are songs that me and Mandy have turned to for inspiration when writing for Cheekface.