Between being a member of a triad of bands and co-DJing the killer dance phenomenon known as “Strangeways,” chances are you’ve encountered today’s inquisition feature:  Jesse Ley.  Talented and charming, Jesse will rock a set on the drumkit and then have friendly chats with admiring audience members.  Staying busy with his myriad of projects, he’s pulling double duty this Friday at the Delicious Pastries‘ double a-sided single release show, where he’ll play percussion with the Pastries and then DJ for the “Strangeways” afterparty.  We at Punksburgh caught up with him to inquire about the following:


List the names of every band that you’ve ever played in ever. 

Delicious Pastries, Mantiques, City Steps, Black Tie Revue, Camera

What was the artist, album, or song that inspired you to play/write music?

SpiritualizedLadies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space

What is your favorite piece of merch that you own? 

Honestly, I’m not much of a band merch kind of guy. But I do have this one amazing STEREOLAB t-shirt that I scooped up on their ‘Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night’ tour, and I absolutely adore it.

Tell us one thing about the Pittsburgh music scene that could be better and one thing about the scene that you love. 

Admittedly, I have a tendency to be overly optimistic with regard to the local music scene– mostly rose colored glasses over here!! But Pittsburgh certainly has its shortcomings.

Most notably, the near complete lack of industry infrastructure can be frustrating and problematic. Finding competent local individuals who are willing, able, or interested in working with your band to help expand to the next level is nearly impossible.

But Pittsburgh is a great place to make a big splash, and hopefully bands can use that momentum to help propel themselves forward.  The relationships between bands is enjoyable. A healthy mix of competition, support, and encouragement.  I do feel like the city, as a whole, is poised for big things.

What’s something about you/your band that you think people should know that maybe they don’t? 



Delicious Pastries live at the William Pitt Union.  Photo by Julie Sokolow

If you had to pick only one of your songs for people to listen to, which one would it be? 

I think ‘Radial Blur’ from Aleatoric Delay is a pretty good representation of the band up until that point. Poppy, dreamy, psychedelic, heavy. It’s a good cross-section of our influences and tastes.

Who would you cast in the movie of your band? 

Probably just a bunch of Jason Schwartzmans, tbh.

How does your mom/family react to your music? Do they come to your shows? 

The absolute perfect combination of encouragement and indifference. My family has always been incredibly supportive of all of my artistic endeavors, but they rarely make it out to shows. In my mom’s defense, she lives in San Diego, so that’s a long commute to the east end, but generally,  they are behind me 100%.

What band or artist have you seen live the most number of times? 

Probably the Apples In Stereo, but maybe Of Montreal or Elf Power.


Jesse with Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo.  Photo by John McNicholas

What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you at a show as a performer or spectator? 

As a performer: Jonathan and I having the honor of joining Miles Kurosky on stage to sing and play tambourine on the Beulah hit, ‘Popular Mechanics for Lovers’, when DP opened for him at Brillobox.

As a spectator: unbeknownst to the band, the sound system at Heinz Hall completely malfunctioned during ‘Virginia Plain’ at the Bryan Ferry show last April. The monitors apparently still worked so the band carried on enthusiastically to a room full of puzzled faces. I’d been waiting to hear that song live for nearly 20 years. It was completely devastating.


Photo by Marie Mashyna


Catch Jesse on the drumkit this Friday (November 10th) for the Delicious Pastries’ brand new, double A-sided single release show at Spirit, along with Slugss (who are also releasing a new single) and Throwjoy (an amazing new project from Jackson Scott).

Check out past inquisitions as well!

Adam Sniff (the Scratch ‘n’ Sniffs)

Pat McGhen (Playoff Beard / the Shutouts)

Sikes (Sikes and the New Violence / Greywalker)

Abe Like Lincoln (the Filthy Lowdown)

Becki Gallagher (LoFi Delphi / Garter Shake)

… and many more!