Pepper fans got a pleasant surprise when the band announced that they were releasing not one, but two albums in 2015. A live album recorded at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA that’s available now, and a studio album, which is set for release this summer.
After a nearly three year hiatus, the band took a risk and updated their sound for the release of their self-titled album in 2013, and are now primed to give their fans even more of the high-energy, summertime sound that they’ve come to know and love. We recently spoke with the band’s drummer, Yesod Williams, who took some time from working in the studio and petitioning to protect Mauna Kea to give us some exclusive details about the new albums.
Pepper: Live at the Belly Up
This album was recorded during the band’s performance on December 12, 2014, and features twenty-two tracks of high-energy performances spanning all of Pepper’s albums. The band hasn’t released a live album since 2009’s Kona Gold via Volcom Entertainment, and the limited independent-release of Like a Surgeon Live in 2010. When asked about their inspiration to release another one, Williams said: “It was actually Belly Up’s idea initially, they’re the ones that approached us because they do this periodically through their channels with the series ‘Live at the Belly Up,’ and that’s how it was born. We’re always ready to put out content for the amazing family of fans that we have, and it was the perfect place too because Belly Up in Solana Beach is awesome, it’s one of the best places to see a show, both personally and from the fan’s perspective.”
Released on April 7th, Pepper: Live at the Belly Up is available for download now, exclusively through the Belly Up Tavern’s site by clicking HERE!
Pepper: Live at the Belly Up Track Listing:
2.) Crazy Love
3.) Higher Ground
4.) Your Face
5.) Stone Love
6.) Like Your Style
9.) Point and Shoot
11.) Every Little Thing
12.) Love Affair
13.) Davey Jones Locker
14.) No Control
15.) Storm Trooper
16.) Use Me
17.) Too Much
18.) Bring Me Along
20.) Fuck Around (All Night)
21.) Nice Time
22.) Give It Up
Pepper: New Studio Album
The aforementioned self-titled album was met with mixed reviews from fans that had grown accustomed to a cookie cutter Pepper sound, so the band is taking a slightly different approach with this new record.
“Compared to the recent self-titled, there’s definitely more reggae [on this album] for sure. Our main goal is to record it on the record as we play it live. Because there are a lot of elements on a record that usually aren’t portrayed live, so rather than aim for a specific sound, we want to capture the energy of the live shows, and be able to play every song from the record live… We always will be and always have been just three guys on stage, so we want to make sure it sounds like there’s three guys on stage, in the studio.”
After their most recent foray with a major label release, it seems like Pepper is returning to their indie roots for this next album. According to Williams, the album, which is still untitled, is being recorded at Kona Inn Recording, the band’s personal studio in Redondo Beach, CA, and is mostly being self-produced with the help of Mike “Mitch” Sutherland.
“We haven’t released an album on LAW Records since ‘Pink Crustaceans,’ which has been many years. So we’re going back to that kind of DIY, grassroots style.”
When asked if creative differences with the label led to this change, Williams said, “Both of the deals we’ve done with major labels, we did ‘No Shame’ with Atlantic Records and the last album with Island, and they were just one-album deals. We’ve done every kind of record deal you could think of, so it’s just our preference these days if we are going to go down that road, not to get locked into something for a long period of time. Having a choice of freedom is critical in our opinion.”
There are no collaborations set for this upcoming album, as the band is staying consistent with the “three guys in the studio” sound, but Williams says, “We’re always open for options, so you never know.”
During our conversation, Williams revealed that the band is taking a unique approach to some of the tracks on this album, and are making sequels to some of their older songs. “There are a couple of songs that we’re calling part two of older songs. That was kind of our direction when we approached this, like let’s pick up where we left off… So we’ve got a ‘Stone Love 2’ on there, and we’ve done that with a couple songs.”
Releasing two albums in one year is unheard of in Pepper’s history, but it’s news their fans greatly appreciate. The band is aiming for a mid to late summer release for the new studio album, and are excited to be releasing material at a steady pace again. “For lack of a better term, we’ve learned from our mistakes,” says Williams of the influx of new material. “We didn’t release an album for many years, like five years between ‘Pink Crustaceans’ and our last album, and there’s just no reason for that. For anyone’s sake. It’s so fun making it, and having people listen to new music and what not is great, so you know, the more the merrier.”
Pepper’s Summer 2015 Tour Plans:
Pepper will hit the road this summer on tour with Sublime With Rome, Rebelution and Mickey Avalon. The tour starts July 16th in Chula Vista, CA and travels east to Florida and back to the northwest by the end of August. On August 22nd, Pepper will join SWR, Third World, Wailing Souls, John Brown’s Body, Mighty Diamonds and Judge Roughneck for Reggae On The Rocks at the infamous Red Rocks amphitheater in Morrison, CO. Stay tuned for more details as they’re released!
Article By: Andrew Aroche
Photo By: David Norris
Pepper: Live at the Belly Up