Location: Between Het & Pep. Nekkid.
Karma: 61 (+61/-0)
New Pepper Interview! 12/24 Merry Christmas, Indeed!
Posted on the COC board:
Pepper talks with StonerRock
John: In the Arms of God is a lot more politically charged than previous albums, like America’s Volume Dealer. So why don’t you give me your two cents on the current state of world.
Pepper: State of your world or my world?
John: Your world.
Pepper: I live in New Orleans, man. My world is !@#$ upside down.
John: How bad was the damage down there?
Pepper: It’s fucked up. He (Ross Karpalman, Mystic Krewe of Clearlight organist and COC tour manager) lost everything. It’s a mess. It’s beyond belief.
John: Have you been back there a lot since?
Pepper: I snuck back in right after it came. I snuck over the levy, armed to the teeth.
John: Was it both your house and the bar that got fucked up?
Pepper: The bar got looted bad. I got back in there and took care of that !@#$. There’s no power, y’know. Imagine a city just blacked out. Done. Nighttime was !@#$ a whole different ballgame. Cruising around the city on a !@#$ bicycle with a !@#$ sawed off shotgun on your !@#$ back is a !@#$ trip man. I can’t explain it.
John: What was your take on the handling of Katrina, from the state and federal level?
Pepper: Well, in my opinion, anyone who expected the government to take care of you is a bigger fool than me. I know damn well, just from living in New Orleans, when you see a storm of that caliber, with that kind of barometric pressure, even if you’re a !@#$ moron you know to get the !@#$ out of there. Anybody who didn’t get the !@#$ out – I feel for some people, but people had options, man, lots of options to get out of there. A bus ticket to Baton Rouge is !@#$ $10. I got everyone I knew out. I got my handicapped grandfather, my Vietnam vet uncle, shell-shocked uncle, I got everyone out. But I left them in a hotel lobby in Baton Rouge and I snuck back in.
But yeah, I never expected the government to anything right before, why would they start now? Idiots. They don’t care.
It’s a shame; it saddens me to see that it actually happened. We always !@#$ about it and it always in other countries or whatever and here it is in your own backyard, it definitely hits you. It’s weird.
John: How long do you think it’ll take to get things right?
Pepper: It’ll never be like it was. That New Orleans as you know it is gone. It’s so monumental. There’s only 40,000 to 60,000 people in the city. There’s half a million. So there’s nobody there. It’s bizarre. You can ride down streets and houses are gone. Just bulldozed, just nothing, just dust. It’s a trip driving through neighborhoods, miles and miles. It looks like 50 atomic bombs went off. Literally.
John: And your house?
Pepper: I’m all right. I live in a really old part of New Orleans. What’s fucked up is most of the things that got fucked up in NOR were built before 1940 – mostly. The old footprint of New Orleans from the 1870s, they built on the highest ground. The water stopped about six blocks from my house. You drive, and all of a sudden you see a water line. The city looks flat and you assume it flats and you keep driving and all of a sudden it’s five feet deep, six feet deep, seven, eight, nine, ten feet deep.
John: Were you on tour when the storm hit?
Pepper: No. I had a funny feeling about this one, so we put a big hole right in the middle of the summer. We were supposed to go on tour with Motorhead in Europe, but we had to cancel it, which was the worst thing in the world.
John: Are you going to rebook that tour?
Pepper: No, they already went ahead and did it.
John: Sorry, I meant a new set of European dates.
Pepper: Yeah, we go to Europe January 8, but it ain’t with Motorhead.
John: Who you going with?
Pepper: Clutch. It’s a co-headlining thing. Stinking Lizaveta is opening up, so we’re going to freak out a whole bunch of English !@#$.
John: That’ll be a little bit better of a match than what you’re doing now with this.
Pepper: (slowly) Yes.
John: How’s it been going on this tour?
Pepper: It’s !@#$ ridiculous. It’s nothing… it’s the dumbest thing we’ve ever done in our lives.
John: Especially coming after that sweet tour you did over the summer with Alabama Thunderpussy and Weedeater.
Pepper: Yeah, that was a !@#$ blast. I just saw Dixie in Chicago. They played in Chicago the same night as we did. We all went and got !@#$ hammered.
John: That’s right – you sang “Gimmie Back My Bullets” with them.
John: Now on the tour you did with Weedeater, did he throw up every night?
Pepper: Dave? Nah. I’ve known Dave since we were kids, man. A long time. He’s a !@#$ nut.
John: When we interviewed Woody last summer, he had this to say regarding the America’s Volume Dealer naysayers (in terms of the glossy production)…
Pepper: I thought the production was cool on it
John: …“I kinda agree somewhat, some of the tunes were really great, but the production could have been a little more in your face. You know like when compared to Wiseblood or Deliverance, it’s not quite as heavy.” What’s your take on it?
Pepper: Yeah, I agree. It’s an interesting album. I listened to it quite some time ago. It’s got some trippy songs on it. “Sleeping Martyr,” “Thirteen Angels” is bad as !@#$.
John: “Doublewide” was one of the ones I always dug.
Pepper: That was [Dimebag] Darryl’s favorite record. He knew every inch of that !@#$. It was so weird. He !@#$ loved that album. He knew the guitar licks on it; it was crazy. He loved that !@#$ record.
John: And how about “Stare Too Long”? How’d you hook up with Warren Haynes? Buds with him?
Pepper: No, man. I had written the lick, I had the (hums the melody) - it was a melody I was already doing. And I just thinking out loud, “Man it sure would be cool if I could get someone like Warren Haynes to play slide on it.” And I just mailed a cassette to their manager. And he was in New York and he said, “I’ll be there next day.”
He came in there, I showed him how the melody actually went – he figured it out, obviously - and he was like, “Pepper, you mind if I just do my thing?” I was like, “!@#$ !@#$, you do what the !@#$ you want!” So he incorporated that melody and then just went from there. And then he doubled it in the next take. I couldn’t believe it. It was all off the cuff, dude. He went back and doubled that !@#$ perfectly. It was bizarre. It was weird hearing someone get something... he was like, “Was that what you had in your head,” and I’m sitting there all watery eyed and !@#$ going, “Dude, !@#$ perfect!” That’s why I guess he’s Warren Haynes.
John: Speaking of songs, one of my favorites on the new album is “Dirty Hands, Empty Pockets.” It’s got such a great shift in dynamics, with the funky bass driven first part and then it kicks out with the shitkicker jam at the end. Was that a song made out of separate songs?
Pepper: No, it was always like that. Me ‘n’ Stanton were talking when we recorded it, and I wanted it to sound like it was on the verge of collapse at any second. Any second the whole thing could fall apart. I think we accomplished that.
John: Some of the fills he did on that…
Pepper: Furious, dude. We’d just laugh. The whole deal was, when we finished a drum track or a rhythm track live, we weren’t laughing. We rewound it and did it again until it was too much.
John: Now is Stanton going to be a permanent member?
Pepper: Oh no. He’s got Galactic; we’ve got COC. He helps out whenever he can. He was doing some shows, coming in and out with us. His house got pretty messed up down in New Orleans too.
John: Now I know the Suplecs have done or will be doing a show down in New Orleans sometime soon. Are you guys going to do something like get together with all the bands in that area?
Pepper: Nah. The one thing we were talking about doing was getting some benefit shows with Down. That would be the only thing that would raise a pretty chunk of change.
John: What’s the status with Down?
Pepper: I don’t know. Phil just had back surgery, so he’s got his back finally fixed after all these years. We’re talking, figuring !@#$ out.
John: I heard rumors of an acoustic EP. Any truth to that?
Pepper: Yeah, we have some stuff that we’ve already done.
John: So you put “Albatross” back into the set – last time you played “Fuel” instead.
Pepper: We’re going to switch it around even more, but we just don’t feel like it with the stupid crowd.
John: Those kids actually reacting well to your stuff?
Pepper: I mean, it’s over their head. The average Disturbed fan is just a shopping mall… they’re not music fanatics by any stretch of the musicians. I can’t say that about everybody, but from what I’ve seen, they’re just… Hot Topic kind of whatever.
It’s kind of a drag, because the standards of music get lowered by things like that. It ain’t my place to say anything, but we consider ourselves to playing music of some degree. Off the cuff. We fall on our ass sometimes going on some of those jams and !@#$, but at least we’re doing something. We’re evolving somehow. If you ain’t evolving, you ain’t doing !@#$, in my opinion.
John: You’ve got the Clutch and Stinking Liz shows coming up, and in the past you’ve done stuff with Karma to Burn and Sixty Watt Shaman – out of all these bands you’ve played with over the years, which is the one that’s really stuck out the most. And you can’t say Motorhead, because that’s too obvious.
Pepper: Right, I was going to say Motorhead. I still think Weedeater’s one of my favorite bands. Weedeater’s !@#$ crushing.
I was really bummed out about the UK we had to cancel. Because we were doing the UK by ourselves, before we jumped on Motorhead, and all of the shows were all sold out. And then the hurricane came. We had Witchcraft opening up for us. And I was so excited about seeing them !@#$, man. I think that first album is one of the best !@#$ records I’ve heard in years.
John: You hear the new one?
Pepper: Yeah, I got both of them in that drawer right there. That is a band that is on to something. Never seen ‘em live, don’t know anything about them. I’d like to see them on their own show. I wonder if they’re as good as they are live. That first album, they gotta be good players, man, because that record you can tell they did that !@#$ live. There ain’t no studio trickery on that !@#$. So yeah, I’d like to see them.
John: With the Suplecs album, how hands were you with the production?
Pepper: Very. Helped arranging songs, y’know, changing !@#$ around. They’re pretty good songwriters, man. The demos were cool. I was excited to do it. Actually, the guy who was signing them, putting the record out, asked me to do it. I’ve known Danny and all those guys for a long time. it was pretty easy to do. It was fun.
John: You think you’d do more producing going forward?
Pepper: Yeah, I did a band called Soulfire in New Orleans, that’s really cool. Kinda Dr John kind of !@#$. It’s cool. Real cool.
John: Of course, the last big question would be the audition for Metallica. Let’s say you got the gig. Do you think that would’ve worked out in the long run had you gotten the job?
Pepper: I don’t know.
John: I mean, for COC…
Pepper: That would’ve ended it. It was an interesting position to be in. When I was actually there, seeing what was going down, how the whole thing operated, I didn’t really know if I wanted to do it. I wouldn’t have been Pepper Keenan anymore, I’d just’ve been the bass player for Metallica. I don’t know if I could’ve handled that.
John: I wondered how much input you would’ve had on their songs.
Pepper: I was sitting there, they got riffs ‘n’ !@#$, and I’m going, “Man, I could tear that !@#$ up” (laughs). And I just kept my mouth shut.
Everything worked out great though. It worked out the best for everybody. It was definitely a trip, though. Just talked to James the other day; we’re still tight. It’s all good.
John: Cool. That’s all I got. Thanks for your time.
Pepper: Right on, brother.
--- Fuck me gently with a chainsaw
The Pepper Keenan Board
12/24/2005, 1:06 pm
Link to this post