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The spirit of aloha is alive and well and currently residing in sunny Southern California. Meet Pepper; Bret Bollinger, Kaleo Wassman, and Yesod Williams, three young innovative minds mixed with divine inspiration from the Hawaiian Islands. Pepper has been perched on the cusp of success since their relocation to Southern California in 1999, inspired by Volcom Entertainments (a subsidiary music company of the surf/skate/snow lifestyle and credibility leader www.volcoment.com ) excitement and interest in producing and distributing the bands endless eruption of original music. "Given It" recorded at Kailua-Kona studio Jags (actually a coffee shack), is the bands first official release combining dancehall, reggae, punk, hip-hop, and pop, sparked some initial interest in Warped Tour promoter Kevin Lyman. With Kevin's interest and Volcom's involvement Pepper graced the premiere side stage at Warped Tour 2001. As the early morning heat rises on the grounds of the annual punk rock "summer camp", Volcom's side stage is being built, however, not by someone from the higher budget stages and lighting companies hired by the "econo-core", tour, but by the very hands that will later be handling skins and axe duties for this particular side stage's freshest new talent...the sunny sounds of Hawaii 's very own Pepper.
Immediately following a whirlwind of shows, Pepper takes to the studio with Steve Kravac (Less Than Jake, MXPX) to create ground swell album " Kona Town ". Released in March of 2002, with an overwhelming surge of signature sounds " Kona Town " paddles the band into uncharted territory, scanning over 45,000 copies to date. This sophomore release by Pepper not only charted for several weeks on the DMA chart in their hometown of Hawaii , but also yielded #1 hit "Give It Up" (aka Dirty Hot Sex) on Clear Channel affiliate Star 101.9 KUCD in June of 2003. KEDJ in Phoenix added the track in September of 2003 which instantly jumped into the TOP 10 "call-out" (or most requested), and still receives recurrent airplay.
Concentrating on live performances and culminating rich sincere relationships with each and every fan, Pepper continued to tour throughout 2003 and into 2004 which included dates with 311 and Snoop Dogg (with Pepper as main support) appearances at the annual Bob Marley Birthday celebration, San Diego's premiere Festival "Street Scene", some scattered headline club dates and a complete US tour with Slightly Stoopid. The bands ambitious spirit and relentless positivity has made them one of the most successful, independent, nationally touring acts of today. This Dub/rock power trio's fan base is not limited as one would assume to Southern California surf towns, with sold out shows in Phoenix, Orlando, Jacksonville, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Seattle, Eugene, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco Pepper proves that there are no limits.
March 2004 Pepper releases "In With The Old", and it debuts at #35 on the Billboard Heat Seekers and #18 on the independent albums chart. The band relinquish their nostalgic sentiment in saying they named their album "In With The Old" as an ode to a time when music used to be collectively better, when bands like Metallica were still relevant, and all the real old shit- Cream, the Beatles, Sabbath and so on"there's your diamonds in the rough nowadays, but it seems there were so many legendary bands in the old." Recorded at 311's completely analog Hive studios by legendary board master Ron St. Germain (Bad Brains, Living Colour, 311, Tool, Sonic Youth, Sound Garden), the album showcases a broader range of influences shared by the trio. The new album contains everything from the countrified "Border Town", which features steel laptop playing from ex Doobie Bros and Steely Dan alum, "Skunk" Baxter, the Heavy Metal leaning (and Andrew Blake porno inspired)"Keep Your Head Bangin", the 80's influenced first single "Ashes" evoking the likes of The Police and English Beat, and the solid reggae tinged rock of "Love Affair" and "Use Me" bringing back the spirit of both Bad Brains and Sublime. "In With The Old" cements itself amongst Pepper's 3 album catalogue as the latest in what will prove to be a seamless repertoire of some of the best kick back sunny side back side air grinding mellow guitar picking cool wave riding sounds to grace the genre itself.
Over the past few years Pepper has been able to hone their skills as songwriters and recording artists. As harder influences such as Nirvana, Black Sabbath, and Pantera are incorporated into their already well developed reggae-rock roots, Pepper is beginning to explore new ground stylistically. And as their fan base spreads, sales of "In With The Old", as well as the two previous albums, continue to increase. Pepper also began a record label of their own, LAW Records as a vehicle to promote music they believe in and love. The first official release was a re-release of their first album entitled "Give-n- It", a collaboration with CornerstoneRAS. The second is aptly named "Afta Party" and features tracks by a group of MC's from their hometown of Kailua-Kona , Hawaii as well as a few guest appearances by PEPPER. Be on the look out for future releases from LAW Records, as this is just the beginning!
September 24 and 25, 2004 Pepper performs back to back SOLD OUT nights at the famed Hollywood Troubadour. The full length DVD (recorded and filmed both nights) slated for release February 15, 2005 shows Pepper in their true element, surrounded by vividly painted palm trees, bright razor-sharp blades of grass reminiscent of the "In With The Old" album cover, and well over 500 kids (each night) rocking in unison to the bands familiar sounds. Chanting every word to every song being played while the band playfully eggs them on, the DVD's release promises to boost the band a step further in terms of sales and live draw. In December of 2004 Pepper will support the Kottonmouth Kings on a Midwestern city tour, which will end in Salt Lake City , Utah ; but not before a "Garage Session" at KTCL in Denver which the band has been invited on, and will perform for a select audience at the station on December 21, 2004 .
As the year draws to a close Pepper heads "Back Home" for a string of SOLD OUT shows on the Islands . Pepper will play their first headlining Arena performance on New Years Eve 2004 at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu , Hawaii .The year to come is already promising to be nothing less than amazing, with a National headlining tour in place for January running through March, as well as many International endeavors on the rise!