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Underground pop -- it may be an oxymoron, but it's a worthy cause. It stems from the desire to make hook-driven, toe-tapping tunes without compromising creativity in the name of fame. Guillermo Izquierdo has been a staple of Buffalo's underground pop scene for well over a decade, and his new outfit, the Corrections -- which he fronts on vocals and guitar, along with the incredible Rob Pacillo on keyboards and vocals; Mark Ricci, lead guitar; Tim Mroz, bass; and Eric Hallmark, drums -- already has a legitimate following, despite having only two gigs under its belt.

The band will be supporting a much more worthy cause at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf, 622 Main St. (851-8725), when it kicks off Rock for Food 2004 to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York. Also performing are Scott Celani Band, 28N, More Than Me, Agent Me, Jinxed, Andy Mac, Humphrey, the Fated Grey, A Bitter Fashion and Jennifer Marie, and admission is only $3 with a nonperishable food item ($5 without). Izquierdo took some time to spill the beans about the new band.

Q: Your bandmates have quite a diverse background. Was that by design?

A: Definitely. (Mroz) and I played together with the Contortionists, and he wanted to do something different in pop music, too. He got me into bands like Belle and Sebastian, and I wanted a departure from the guitar-driven riff rock that Original Skin was.

(Ricci's) one of the most versatile guitarists I've ever played with. You see what he's doing with us, you'd never believe he was a founding member of Industry of the Life Divine. (Pacillo) directs and plays in musicals with Mroz, and our drummer's only 18 -- his dad used to take him to see Bread Gone Wry! That's really scary, but it's so refreshing to meet someone who's young, but isn't brainwashed into thinking that the stuff on the radio is great, because it's horrific.

Q: How is your pop music different from the stuff on the radio?

A: If you define pop as being popular, than we're not doing it. I define pop as catchy, upbeat, a rhythm you can tap along to -- when you can get a sense of the sound and still be pleasantly surprised. It's still melodic, and very light, but not repetitive.

We have no aspirations of being on MTV or record labels -- we want to do it on our own and establish ourselves as a regional entity. I'd rather mean a lot to a handful than to be average to the throngs. Take the Push Stars -- I think Chris Trapper is one of the greatest songwriters, but the average person doesn't know him, and he's from here!

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