NORTH FALMOUTH – The free ice cream is one of the best parts of running the open mic show at an ice cream shop, said Tony Pizzo. “I prefer that over the free beer I get at most places,” he said on Sunday between songs by Pearl Jam and the Beatles.
“We’re paying him,” said Stewart Bellerive, the owner of Holy Cow Ice Cream in North Falmouth. “But we’re not paying him much.” Pizzo runs the open mic show at Holy Cow on Sunday afternoons.
Free ice cream, a little bit of cash and an audience guaranteed to be thinking sweet thoughts is payment enough for Pizzo, who said, “I was pretty excited about it. It’s a good break from playing inside of a bar.”
Pizzo, a guitarist and singer, runs the open mic show on Sunday afternoons. At other times, he plays in 10 different bands, he said. Among the bands he plays in, he said, are Acoustic Rebels, 57 Heavy, and The Clique.
He said he plays five to six times a week, and especially enjoys playing at Holy Cow. Various other musicians show up from time to time to play as well, he said.
“One of the musicians last week asked for a job scooping ice cream” said Bellerive.
It’s a small setup at Holy Cow. “It’s out of the way on a quiet corner in a nice, historic village,” said Bellerive.
Set up with two speakers and a small mixing board, Pizzo will play any song requested by those eating ice cream on the picnic tables in front of him. “I ask them to name a song,” he said of his song choices. “When they come to one I know, I play it.” Pizzo said he knows 500 or so songs and is always learning new ones.
Scott Wayne of Falmouth said, “This is my fourth Sunday coming here. I stopped by once, and now I’m a regular. It’s a beautiful place to be. Sunshine, a patio, ice cream and music. A great day,” he said.
And Ryan Fletcher, visiting from Princeton, MA, said he was enjoying the music, “and this is probably the best ice cream that there is in Falmouth,” he said.
The audience is sporadic, and Bellerive takes breaks when the picnic tables empty out. But then someone will show up, and he is back asking what they want to hear. Often, families show up to listen, which is different from his normal audience at bars. “I don’t mind playing in front of anybody. Drunks or kids or whatever, I just like playing in front of people.”
There is one other perk of running the open mic at Holy Cow Ice Cream, he said. “They are working on designing a custom ice cream cone for me,” he said. “It will have peanut butter on the bottom to stop the cone from leaking, coffee Heath Bar ice cream, and M&Ms on top,” he said. “They might call it the Pizzo Nutty.”
— Brian Tarcy