John Vanderslice


I’ve stayed friends with John since meeting him in 2003 just before this interview, although sadly our visits are years apart. He’s still making music, running Tiny Telephone and would be touring if all live shows weren’t canceled due to the pandemic. My favorite JV memory is the night in Brooklyn when he brought the entire audience, Pied Piper-style, to the roof of the club for an epic sing-along! He’s a keeper!


John Vanderslice has been releasing self-recorded solo albums since 2000. Before that, he fronted the band MKUltra. John is a master of guitar-driven textural indie-pop topped off with edgy and engaging lyrics. He runs his own recording studio, Tiny Telephone, in San Francisco. His client list there reads like an indie-rock Hall of Fame.

About the interview

John took the time to talk after his appearance at Waterloo records during the 2003 SXSW Music Festival 2003. He was one of the few artists who was actually prepared to talk cooking.






Austin, TX

Lane Becker

Jennifer Robbins

John Vanderslice’s Variation on Puttanesca


  • one can Italbrand san marzano tomatoes
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 cured black olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Amore sun dried tomato paste
  • 1 anchovy fillet cured in salt (optional)
  • 8 capers cured in salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • good olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • reggiano parmesan cheese
  • spaghettini (slightly thinner than spaghetti)


  1. Saute garlic in olive oil for a minute. Add anchovy fillet, olives, capers, and tomato paste, continue for two more minutes. Watch the heat, don’t let the garlic brown.
  2. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add tomatoes, bring to quick boil and simmer covered for an hour. Uncover, season to taste, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. Slightly undercook pasta, drain. Add reggiano parmesan cheese to pasta in warm saucepot to melt cheese. Add sauce to taste. Stir vigorously.
  5. Serve on warmed plates with half a baguette on the side.