Big in Bologna 

Basking with Brooklyn's Oneida

In The United States, a touring DIY-type band eats what and when it can and crashes on people’s floors. In Europe, the same band eats a fabulous meal before the show and later sleeps soundly in hostel accommodations arranged by the show promoter. But not before an amiable bohemian in beret, scarf and leather pants invites them all back to his sailboat after the show to smoke hash sprinkled on tobacco.

The members of Oneida have been living the Euro dream a lot lately. The Brooklyn trio’s droning ’60s nod-scene psych attack has won them plenty of fans in their hometown and in scattered enclaves of cool around the U.S.A., but in countries like Germany and Italy the music inspires the kind of fervor that makes fans ask Oneida members to rub themselves with their own merchandise before handing it over. Scale model stardom, you might say—the real rock-star deal in miniature. What’s it like being bigger in Bologna than Brooklyn?

“It’s not something I’ve really thought about a ton except with gratitude,” says drummer Kid Millions of the band’s continental success, “and it’s not entirely true in terms of the feeling. The love we get from the Brooklyn audience is just as intense, and the difference in numbers is actually negligible.

“I’m not sure there is a downside to it,” Millions continues, “because we’re in Italy drinking wine and getting scooter rides by beautiful women. But seriously, after seven years it feels like Oneida isn’t the band for the big stadiums. You can’t cram a round piece of rock into a square hole, if you know what I’m saying.”

Still: Into every Euro fantasia, a pink elephant must wander, and these days you can barely rub elbows with a Dutch baggage handler over a 7 a.m. bracer in the airport lounge without someone mentioning the B-word straightaway. Does Oneida ever get caught up in the political jive-talkin’?

“I might talk shit about specific people,” says Millions, “just to prove that we’re not the monsters we’re made out to be in their press. When I travel, I’m not so interested in feeling inadequate about the U.S.A. There are some things that ancient cultures just figured out, and our break from that was a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, though, it’s hard not to see the curse when you’re eating olives in Sicily.

“What’s special about being in Europe,” he continues, “and meeting new people in the circuit that Oneida is lucky enough to ride, is that we just end up feeling like people with something interesting to share. And me, I’m in it to share.”

Oneida shares the stage with local favorites Volumen on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at The Other Side. Show starts at 9:30.

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