City City is multifaceted. It feeds on diversity. It also feeds on pizza. Did we mention pizza? Because that’s pretty important. The formally trained band members have a passion for travel, non-profit work, and educational involvement. They also leap out of burning buildings with armfuls of puppies and small children on a regular basis.
While eating pizza, because that’s awesome.
The origins of City City stretch back to an era before Lady Gaga, the 7th Harry Potter book, and the Droid. One fateful day, two members of two different Midwestern college bands crossed paths. The year was 2006, the place a mutual friend’s party in Los Angeles. Singer Dan McCollister and guitarist/engineer Jeff Kirchner met and sparks flew. Platonic, bro sparks. They knew instantly that they wanted to make beautiful music together. Platonic, bro music.
The duo from Nebraska was soon joined by New York transplant Kyle Minichelli, a guitarist who met Jeff when they both worked as pizza delivery drivers in Los Angeles. See? The whole pizza thing ties into the story after all. Continuity, baby. That’s what we’re all about.
In true starving artist fashion, the dedicated trio moved into a cheap, dilapidated house together and remodeled the garage into a soundproof rehearsal space. When Jeff later bought his own house, a detached unit on the property was transformed into Tip Top Studios, a first class recording space that the band uses to create their distinct compositions.
In 2010, the three-dude ensemble decided they needed more people to join the madness. They also wanted to improve their live show by adding more instruments. Enter drummer Jarett Portnoy, another Nebraska native who had attended high school with Jeff. Like the others, Jarett had made the rounds in his local indie scene with a previous band, honing his skills along the way.
The band also welcomed bassist Valerie Ngai, who had honed her skills in both rock bands and classical orchestras back home in Hawaii. She moved to Los Angeles and landed in the Silverlake indie band scene, where she joined several regional tours as well as a national tour. She met Kyle through a mutual friend.
As if being in a band wasn’t enough, the fab five regularly increase their coolness quotient through their day jobs working with children and the less fortunate. Jeff, Jarrett, and Valerie are involved in education, Dan is a counselor at a residential treatment program for adolescent boys, and Kyle is a job trainer for people with special needs. Human rights and diversity? This band is all over it, having performed at LGBTA events, non-profit fundraisers, and cultural festivals.