Pepper tours to support brand-new EP
Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm in Lifestyle
Pepper has been a force in lesser-known music circuits for more than a decade. Its sound features a blend of punk, reggae dub, metal, Hawaiian spirit and plenty of good times. And the tireless band from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, has toured constantly since it first left the backyards and house parties of its hometown at the start of the 2000s.
Supported by a remarkably networked, passionate fan base, Pepper has released a number of LPs, including Kona Town and No Shame. The band is now touring in support of the five-song EP Stitches.
âThe EP is something weâve never done, so we can check it off our list,â drummer Yesod Williams said. âA handful of songs felt really strong and we always want to put our best foot forward. We also just wanted to get some new blood in the lineup.â
The atmosphere at a Pepper show, livened with ubiquitous drinks in plastic cups and the floating, hazy swells of pot tokes, lifts you in a tsunami wave of energy. Shirtless, tattooed, devil-may-care party animals Bret Bollinger, Kaleo Wassman and Williams have gained a reputation for being one of the most exhaustively enthusiastic bands you can see live.
âThe philosophy of Pepper has always been, and always will be, about spreading the message of fun,â Williams said.
But while the bandâs rager-in-full-effect live shows continue to be a major priority, the liquid, herbal and chemical boosts that elevated its antics have proven to be less necessary. What used to be a constant state of inebriation and recklessness has finally (somewhat) mellowed.
âWeâre certainly not getting any younger,â Williams said. âThe bounce-back time is not so quick anymore.â
The lifestyle would be nothing without the music to back it up. The bandâs songwriting process normally takes on a part-to-whole structure, where singers Bollinger and Wassman will come in with lyrics or melodies and the band will work them out together until theyâre finished.
âWeâd sit down and Iâd try to see if it all made sense, weâd see if the songs were telling stories, if it was really finished,â Williams said. âIn that sense it was more collaborative this time than before.â
The current âLast Calls & Liabilitiesâ tour, stopping at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles on Oct. 9, will show Pepper at perhaps its most interesting stage given that each record to date has been an exploration of the different threads of possibility in the bandâs sound.
Stitches seems to be the ultimate amalgamation of the cherished hybrids the band has created. Though Pepper will surely dig deep into its expansive catalog â it seems perpetually game to play the crowd favorite âGive It Up (Dirty Hot Sex)â â the trio will be sure to showcase the newfound diversity of the latest EP.
A lot of people only focus on the breasts and booze aspect of Pepperâs music. Whatâs less obvious are the unique textures to the songs, the breezy sensitivity and the lyrical desperation in even some of the edgier tunes. Few bands are capable of this.
And despite the bandâs constant travels in the continental United States, it doesnât seem like Pepper has any plans of slowing down.
âBeing away from home, Hawaii, is never easy, but we do take full advantage of ânormal lifeâ anytime we are there,â Williams said. âWeâre able to recharge the batteries.â
Being Warped Tour regulars and touring with other bands, vaguely similar to the bandâs genre (Slightly Stoopid, 311, Passafire, Ballyhoo!), the Kona Town homeboys have become fixtures in areas like Boulder and throughout Southern California, where the bandâs sound perhaps has the most resonance with beach and snow cultures.
Pepperâs cult following constantly aches for new music and for more appearances. And itâs this hunger that makes it likely the members will probably keep playing until the ocean dries up and all the tattooed girls in the world start listening to only top 40.