Geriatric YouTube Stars Dish About Pop Music From the back booth of Sulimay's Restaurant in Philadelphia, three saucy old-timers have become a viral success — as pop music critics.

Geriatric YouTube Stars Dish About Pop Music

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GUY RAZ, host:

The back booth of Sulimay's diner in Philadelphia has become a hotbed of music criticism.

(Soundbite of Internet Program, "Breakfast at Sulimay's")

Mr. JOE WALKER (Host, "Breakfast at Sulimay's"): Oh, good morning and good day. Here we are once again, "Breakfast at Sulimay's," home of that bargain breakfast and all the hottest hits.

RAZ: "Breakfast at Sulimay's" is a music review show. You can see it on the Internet.

NPR's Zoe Chace visited Sulimay's and sat down to talk with the show's unlikely hosts.

Mr. BILL ABLE (Host, "Breakfast at Sulimay's"): My name's Bill Able, and I'm 75, resident of Fishtown all my life.

Ms. ANN BAILEY (Host, "Breakfast at Sulimay's"): I'm Ann Bailey. I've lived in Fishtown for 66 years now.

Mr. WALKER: I'm Joe Walker. I am 84 years old, hoping to be 85 on the first of August.

ZOE CHACE: These guys are fixtures of Fishtown, one of those rough around the edges, blue-collar Philly neighborhoods.

Mr. ABLE: They ask me to critique music that I know nothing about.

Ms. BAILEY: I really like the new music. It's really not bad.

Mr. WALKER: It is the music of the age. It is the music of the young people, and it's what they're going to remember 20 years from now with nostalgia. I don't know how because it really doesn't appeal to me, but I try hard to listen to it and give a honest review.

CHACE: Bill, Ann and Joe have gone totally viral. You can find their reviews posted on YouTube about every other week.

(Soundbite of Internet Program, "Breakfast at Sulimay's")

Ms. BAILEY: Welcome to "Breakfast at Sulimay's," where we still have those breakfast specials and toe-tapping pancakes. We're going to hear two ditties today from Flo Rida and Gemini Wolf.

Would you like to take the first one, Bill?

Mr. ABLE: Oh, jeez, I didn't know I was here.

CHACE: The man behind the camera is Marc Brodzik of Woodshop Productions. He came to Sulimay's regularly for the pancakes.

Mr. MARC BRODZIK (Founder, Woodshop Productions; Director, "Breakfast at Sulimay's"): And there would be these three or four characters. One would be sitting at the counter, one would be sitting in a booth and another in another booth.

Mr. WALKER: Discussing the affairs of the world, the Phillies and different things, and he was dazzled by the wit and humor and the erudition, and he decided to put it on tape. He thought it would be something that other people would be interested in and love us as, you know, the people around here do. It sort of caught on.

CHACE: Their audience is small but influential. Music review site Pitchfork has noticed, so has Philadelphia Weekly, the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones. They're all impressed with the old-timers' brevity.

This is the way a typical production works. Brodzik chooses the music, sits the three in the back and films their unscripted response.

(Soundbite of Internet Program, "Breakfast at Sulimay's")

(Soundbite of song, "My Girls")

Ms. BAILEY: I'm starting to get a headache.

Mr. WALKER: There you go.

CHACE: This is their review of a single from Animal Collective called "My Girls."

Ms. BAILEY: Oh, god. Is that the music? That's it? The lyrics are too repetitious. It's as bad as "Rocket Man," you know, with (unintelligible).

Mr. WALKER: I think, you know, they introduced that theme, that (unintelligible), that monotonous thing early on. And I don't think they should have sustained it through the entire recording. They should have cut it off after about four bars. I doubt that this group is going to get very far from Baltimore, Maryland.

Mr. BRIAN McMANUS (Music Editor, Philadelphia Weekly): I think some of their reviews are actually really brave.

CHACE: Brian McManus, music editor with Philadelphia Weekly.

Mr. McMANUS: I think that there's a kind of a community of critics, and, you know, we all live within a bubble. If something's really critically lauded and you don't like it, it's kind of scary to say sometimes. Like, if you don't like the new Animal Collective, it might be kind of a scary thing to say in front of, like, critical company. And I think that's what makes Sulimay's great is that they have - they come with none of that baggage.

CHACE: Ann Bailey, Joe Walker and Bill Able actually don't have much good to say about the new music, as they call it. Despite that, indie bands like the Fiery Furnaces, Harvey Milk and others coming through Philly vie to get on the show. Rolling Stone, the Apollo, Def Jam Records, now add the back booth at Sulimay's to the list.

For NPR News, I'm Zoe Chace.

(Soundbite of music)

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