Pepper is a well traveled band hailing from Hawaii that you’ve probably seen playing at your local bar sometime within the last decade. Their drummer, Yesod Williams, also happens to be one of the coolest dudes who is still carrying the rock and roll banner.
Have you been to a lot of Warped Tours growing up?
Not while growing up in Kona, Hawaii. Warped Tour only came to Oahu, which is a completely different island, and only a few times in the late ’90s. We were never close to Warped Your until 2001, when we were the set up and break down crew on the Vulcan stage, which we also played. Not to mention driving ourselves in a van. It was brutal.
Everyone is telling me how grueling this tour is.
It’s funny though, because it sounds like you are being a total bitch and complaining.
“Oh, no, we have to play a music shows! Oooh!”
But you’re only playing like, well they upped it a little on the main stage, but it’s still only like 40 to 45 minutes. It’s just a long day, though.
Since we’re from Hawaii, we wake up early to go surf. It’s called dog patrolling. It’s like waking up early to go dog patrol and hanging out at the beach all day long until the sun goes down. And you know how the sun wears you down.
Do you guys have a new album coming out?
We released our EP called Stitches back in October and we’re still touring supporting that. This is kind of a set-up for a tour we are doing in the fall with The Expendables called Last Calls and Liabilities. That is September and October. After that we’re going to do some shows in Hawaii and then we’re going to get back in the studio and work on the next record.
That will be around winter time?
Yeah, around December or January. We’re hoping to have that album out next summer.
Awesome. You have all your eggs lined up. You’re actually the first organized musician I’ve talked to today.
Yeah, preparation is key, you know what I’m saying?
That tour of yours, where is it going? International?
It’s going to hit all the major cities in the US that you can think of for six weeks. Come check it out. It’s going to be a blast.
Sounds great. So, you’re pretty familiar with the Warped tour. You’ve been abounding it and playing for years now. If you could guess, what would the Warped Tour look like in 10 years?
Who knows? It could be going back to hair metal.
Wouldn’t that be great!?
A full blown hair metal fest. Yeah!
A hair and glam metal throwback thing, nice.
That’s the beautiful thing about the music industry these days and everything with the internet. All of the things that people get so scared of is what makes it so exciting. It’s like the Wild West. You ask what is it going to be like in ten years? It could be anything.
Definitely. And it’s great to have so many divergent sub-genres coming together under the same banner here at Warped Tour. If you had to pick one positive thing that came out of the record industry crash a few years back, what would that be that stands out most?
I can name so many. One thing is that control has switch into the artists hands from the major record labels. You don’t really need a record label anymore and you don’t need all that much money. Everyone has their destinies in their own hands a lot more and that is definitely one of the most positive points. On top of that is just the creativity. There couldn’t be all of these creative ways of releasing music before. None of that would be around if people were stuck with the old, “okay, lets press a record or vinyl or CD and then we’re going to sell it and that’s it.” It’s made the business model a lot less standard, which is great.
Definitely. And what’s even better is that with all of this great technology available people can pretty much have all of the studio equipment they need in their own house and they don’t need to rent out a studio for loads of cash.
Yeah, look at that new Gorillaz album made entirely on the iPad.
Right!? Damon Albarn is pretty genius.
Totally. It’s so cool and so exciting, I just can’t wait to see what it looks like in ten years.
It’s so fucking exciting it just gets my balls all tingly.
Seriously. That nice fuzzy feeling.
Jumping from positive to negative vibes for no reason, who do you think is the most overrated musician today?
I have such love for music, so that’s a hard question…
I would say 3oh!3, but that’s just my opinion.
I haven’t heard them yet, so I can’t judge.
My take on that is that there are these two guys on stage singing or rapping or whatever and you hear drums and guitar and bass and there are no instruments anywhere to be seen. If you make all of this awesome music with music production software, awesome, but when you just play samples on stage that’s not really a live performance, is it?
I have that opinion where if it sounds exactly like the CD the band is playing live then they better have a damned entertaining show as far as what they’re doing on stage, or you might as well listen to the CD at home. We pride ourselves that the songs on stage aren’t the same as the songs on the album. It’s shit that we don’t plan out either. The songs change organically and that’s the way it should be. The bands that sound exactly like the CD, those are the overrated bands.
If you nail the song, that’s cool, but if you fuck up, that’s even cooler.
It’s proof of a true rock band if you have a good live show. You can have a great CD, but if you can’t pull it off live, meh.
Especially with the ADD generation who expect more from a show than just playing music. You need a second or third aspect to the show.
Every Thursday we release a tour update, like a two minute video blog from our website. Check it out.
Really popular in the LA area now are these F.A.M.E. events, which is fashion, art, music and entertainment. It’s a full emersion in not only awesome live music, but there is an art gallery and a runway with models and local independent merch booths. It’s hella fun and I think that may become the new standard.
Have you seen the new Motley Crue tour with Tommy Lee’s rollercoaster drum set? That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about. It’s a huge scaffolding around his drums. They had a contest where the winner rides on a side car behind the drums. The ultimate VIP package is in strapped in behind Tommy Lee while he’s playing.
While he’s wailing on the drums in front of you? I’m not sure if I would want to do that?
It’s one of those things where you have to try it once.
That’s crazy, but I love theatrics like that. It’s kind of kitchy, but it’s a fun novelty.
When it’s done right, hell, it’s rock and roll.
Last question – Favorite Samuel L. Jackson Movie?
Good answer. Thanks for talking with me and good luck with the rest of the tours.
Photos by Dave Gatson