Pigeons Playing Ping Pong make Charlottesville a second home

Baltimore-based jam band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong built a local following through repeat visits to Charlottesville. Photo Credit: Jordan August Photography. Baltimore-based jam band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong built a local following through repeat visits to Charlottesville. Photo Credit: Jordan August Photography.

Odds are, if you keep an eye on music in this town, you’re familiar with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Whether you’re one of the devoted and exponentially growing “Flock,” or simply a fan of the work of behavioral scientist B.F. Skinner, the name just sticks. To clarify to the latter group, it’s a band: a moveable feast of super high energy funk, rock, electronica and psychedelic jazz from Baltimore (I know, another neat band from Baltimore, what’s with that place lately?) who’ve been carving a niche in our town, with some noteworthy appearances at The Box, a recent opening gig for the Kings of Belmont at the Southern, and a headlining spot on Thursday at Rapture. C-VILLE sat down with vocalist and rhythm guitarist Greg Ormont for some softball questions.

C-VILLE Weekly: What made you want to make music for a living? And why with these particular people?

Greg Ormont: “We all met at the University of Maryland in College Park and had a great time jamming together since day one. While some of us always had dreams of rocking out for a living, we all shared in the fun that is music. In our journey from playing in our friend’s basements to playing on big stages at festivals, we’ve had more and more fun at every show and always took notice of how live music brings different people together. There is nothing we’d rather do with our lives than bring people together while having a blast playing music with each other.”

What keeps you coming back to Charlottesville?

“The people. Every show in Charlottesville has this energy that’s through the roof. Young or old, people in C’Ville seem to love funk music and dancing all night, which is what we’re all about. Our last show at the Southern was awesome, and we can’t wait to come back to Rapture on the 13th for another funky psychedelic dance party.”

The year is coming to a close, what were some highlights for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong in 2012?

“Oh man that’s a tough one, because we have so much fun at all of our shows. First and foremost, we played at over a dozen festivals this summer, including Camp Barefoot, Catskill Chill and The Werk Out, and they all were insane. Playing side by side with some of our favorite bands was surreal and we are super thankful for that opportunity. Another big highlight of 2012 was jamming with John K. of Furthur at a small festival in Maryland. Meshing 40 minutes of Grateful Dead and Phish tunes with one of the great guitarists in the jam scene was nuts to say the least. We also did a Phish after-party in Atlantic City on a boat in July that we will never forget. Honestly, I could talk about the highlights of last year for hours, so I’ll just stop now.”

What’s the band working on?

“We’re gearing up for our biggest year yet in 2013, starting with a big New Year’s Eve show at the 8×10 in our hometown of Baltimore. We will be hitting old and new markets up and down the east coast all year, while expanding our reach to the mid-west, including a run to Colorado and back this spring. We are booked at a number of major festivals this summer, and are currently working on our next album, which we plan to release mid-2013. We are constantly writing new music, touring new and familiar cities and having more fun than we thought possible. And there’s no end in sight.”

Thursday 12/13 Pigeons Playing Ping Pong/Rapture, 303 E. Main St. 293-9526.