Interviews | Sep 15th, 2011

Iration, Pepper, Fortunate Youth, Katastro @ Stone Pony Summer Stage, Asbury Park, NJ (45)

Having formed in 1997, Pepper has since become one of the premier rock/reggae bands the lands have seen. Their fusion of punk, rock, reggae and dub has helped them sell more than half a million records worldwide independently on their own record label LAW Records. The band is a touring machine and they have been so kind as to take a few minutes out of their busy schedule and constant rocking to answer a few questions for ReadJunk.

1) The first time that I heard of Pepper was at the Pittsburgh date of the Warped Tour way back in 2001 if I recall. A friend and I were walking past one of the stages on our way to see the Dropkick Murphys when the Pepper sound kicked in over sound system. We looked at each other and said “Sublime? The Dropkick Murphys can wait!”. Back then, everyone seemed to be looking for the next Sublime and Pepper had the obvious similarities. Was being compared to Sublime ever even and issue and did they actually have any influence on your sound?
For sure had an influence, they’re one of my all time favorites! But there was a time around when we first moved from Hawaii to the mainland where a handful of peeps seemed to resent us for sounding like Sublime, which you know as a human it bums you out, but at the end of the day I take us sounding like Sublime as a compliment!

2) Speaking of influences, what are some of the not-so-obvious influences of the band?
Pantera, Faith No More, early Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, we’re huge metal heads…

3) Pepper’s latest release was last year’s “Stitches” EP. Is there a new album looming anytime in the near future?
Absolutely, gonna start recording after the first of the year and shooting for a Summer release.

4) Some bands absolutely despise their earlier stuff. Looking back to your first release “Give ‘N It”, do you think that Pepper’s sound and the band in general have outgrown what you have done on your earlier releases? Knowing what you know now as a band is there anything that you would have done differently with your earlier material or are you still proud of it?
I’m for sure proud. I don’t think I would change anything. It’s all part of The evolution ya know. I do listen to some of the songs on given’it and have a little chuckle inside =)

5) Pepper is headlining the “Last Calls & Liabilities Tour” so it’s time for the obligatory tour questions! Where are some of the bands’ favorite cities or venues to play throughout the land and who are some of Pepper’s favorite touring partners?
Fave places are everywhere anyone wants to rage with us. We’re so blessed to do this as a job. To really narrow it down, I’d have to say back home in Kona is always the best.

6) Be honest and don’t be afraid to offend…are their any of your songs that people constantly request that you play that you either hate playing live or that you’re just plain sick of playing?
Ya, Freebird!

7) My wife absolutely loves you guys and I’ve noticed that quite a few ladies are easily drawn in to the Pepper sound. What do you think the real reason is that the girls just can’t get enough of Pepper?
Hmmm, good question… Maybe it’s the extremely woofing bassline’s ;)

8) As a band what is Pepper most proud of and what do you look to accomplish in the future? Do you have lofty goals or do you just want to keep playing music and rockin’ out?

Being a band for 13 years and still going strong. As far as goals, yes on both ends. We have lofty goals and want to just keep rockin out! We’re really concentrating on spreading our wings internationally right now!!!! Real exciting time!

9) I always like to finish an interview off with a quirky question about superheroes. (It’s the comic book geek in me) No one ever answers it…but here you go…if Pepper’s sound were to be described as a superpower, what would it be?
*no answer*

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