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Oakland, Calif., band debut is homecoming for Tucsonan
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Oakland, Calif., band debut is homecoming for Tucsonan

You rarely hear of a rock ’n’ roll Plan B like those of the indie dance rock band Pistachio:

Linguist. Molecular and environmental biologist. Anthropologist/businessman.

Not that Tucson native Zach Briefer and bandmates Devin Hollister and Antony D’Avirro — all graduates of the University of California, Berkley — have any plans to fall back on Plan B.

“I feel like our high-achieving pasts are kind of just representative of our personalities in general,” notes Hollister, 23, who graduated from Berkley with a biology degree two years ago. “I feel like we can do anything pretty much.”

Hollister and D’Avirro, 25, who graduated a year ago with a linguistics degree, are so confident that their nutty band has a future that they recently quit their day jobs. Briefer, 22, just graduated with a business/anthropology degree and didn’t have a day job to forfeit as the trio hits the road for a summer-long tour.

They will play Monterey Court with Tucson duo Monkey Puzzle Nut on Saturday.

“I’m a bit nervous but I think it will go well,” said Briefer, a Catalina-Foothills High graduate and former member of the Tucson band The Opposables, which won the 2011 Arizona Daily Star Battle of the Bands competition. “We’ve played out a lot and we’re well polished now. I guess I want people to understand why I’m pursuing this full time and why I’m in this band and why I’ve chosen to go all into music.”

The trio formed Pistachio last fall in Oakland, California, as Briefer was starting his final year at Berkley. They took their name from Hollister, who uttered the word “pistachio” in his sleep. Briefer said he heard the “sleep talking” and decided the name fit their blend of funk and indie dance rock.

“We play indie rock but it’s really dancy and there’s a lot of funk and Latin, stuff that gets you dancing,” D’Avirro said.

“We have a diverse range of influences and so our music spans a lot of genres,” added Briefer.

Their summer tour takes the trio to New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and back home to California.

D’Avirro, who also studied Russian and Turkish at Berkley, said he was hoping to use his degree to travel.

“I was thinking traveling to more far-flung places” than Tucson, he added, then joked “but I plan to study your culture and language.”

As for his Plan B, he’s putting it on hold — for now.

“We have that conversation almost on a daily basis of where we want to be in two years. I think it’s just a baseline. If we can support ourselves and have fun, we’re going to continue doing it,” he said. “We are 75 percent of the way doing this and it’s hella fun.”

Briefer said they will have five days in Tucson and he plans to take Hollister and D’Avirro to some of his favorite haunts, including El Guero Canelo, Eegees and Casa Molina.

Briefer’s former Opposables bandmate Joshua Every is bringing his Warpstar bandmate Ricky Tutaan to open for Pistachio. The duo will perform under the name Monkey Puzzle Nut, according to a posting on the Warpstar Facebook page.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch.

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