Reggae band Pepper and punk band The Offspring are currently opening for rock band 311 on their month long Unity Tour.
The tour began on June 22 in Pittsburgh and ends on July 25 in San Diego.
The tour will be making a stop in Clarkston, Michigan on Wednesday, July 7 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.
Pepper is getting ready to release their seventh album, Back To The Island. The first single “Wake Up” is already getting some airplay.
Yesterday I got a chance to talk to Pepper drummer Yesod Williams.
Q: The tour just began this week. How’s it going so far?
A: So far so good. 311 are a bunch of big guys so we’re excited to play with them and we’ve been listening to the Offspring since we were teenagers. Couldn’t ask for a better lineup.
Q: You’ve toured with 311 quite a few times now haven’t you?
A: Yeah we’ve done a bunch of shows for them but as far as a full tour we’ve done it once before in the Summer of 2006. We’ve worked with Nick Hexum [311 vocalist] in the studio a little bit. He did some producing for us so it’s all good: a great experience for us.
Q: The new album Back to the Island is supposed to come out in July right?
A: Actually the new single “Wake Up” is coming out in July and what we’re going to do is if you buy the single on Itunes you’ll get another one for free so you’ll get two songs for the price of one. The full album is gonna come out in October and we’re going to be doing our own headlining tour at that time.
Q: Will the album feature the same type of music that you are known for?
A: Yeah, I mean it’s the same but different. You know each album has it’s own identity and it’s own life because you know if we had the same album over and over again it would kind of get mundane and redundant.
Q: Is there any particular song on this album that sticks out for you?
A: Yeah we wrote a song about one of our really good friends who passed away last year from cancer. We thought about him a lot and that song is probably the one that really hits close to home for us.
Q: Do you all work on the albums together?
A: Yeah especially on this one. This has been the biggest collaboration of any of our albums.
Q: Do you do most of your writing on tour or in the studio?
A: Pretty much all of the above. Music kind of surrounds our life so you’re always working on it. I mean whenever you get inspired you have to take advantage of it.
Q: What is your personal inspiration?
A: I mean just life in general and all that comes with it like traveling, Hawaii and family.
Q: Music was around you from a young age because of your musical family but was there any particular artist that inspired you?
A: Yeah when I was really young my mom took me to see a Metallica concert and that was a big part of my life. When we got to L.A. bands like UB40 were a huge influence on us and bands like NOFX, Pennywise and Bad Religion. Then there was the early 90’s grunge scene with bands like Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
Q: Is there anybody that you would like to work with in the future?
A: I mean there’s tons of people. One big one would the band I was just talking about NOFX.
Q: You’ve toured with quite a few bands. Is there anyone you enjoy touring with the most?
A: Slightly Stoopid is probably one of our favorite bands to tour with because we’re good friends and it’s like going on a extended road trip with a bunch of your close friends. Also we have fun with bands on our label like Iration and Passafire and Supervillians.
Q: Did anyone work with you on this album?
A: No this one is pretty much just us.
Q: You mentioned your record label Law Records, was having your own label something you always wanted to do?
A: Yeah, I mean we didn’t really know it all at once but eventually it made sense and it seemed like the perfect thing to do to have full control of your art. To be able to promote and sign some of the bands that you’re a fan of is just real cool.
Q: Do you get to get out when you are on tour at all?
A: Yeah. We’re definitely about the whole situation. We have our down time and like to soak up the culture especially when we’re out of the country in places like Japan and Europe. We definitely take full advantage.
Q: You’re going to be playing out in the Detroit area on July 7. Do you enjoy playing out this way?
A: Yeah. It’s a place we’ve been coming to for a long time and it’s pretty much a place with a lot of history to it.
Q: You said you will be doing a headlining tour in October?
A: Yeah, it’s going to start in the middle of September and run through the beginning of November.
Q: You moved from Hawaii and made a name for yourselves here in the States. For up and coming bands who are looking to try to break over here, how did it happen for you?
A: Basically just like getting to know other bands. Getting out into the industry and going to shows and seeing them. Getting the one on one experience.
Q: Any songs you enjoy performing most live?
A: There is one, “Back Home”, from our album “In With The Old” that we haven’t played for four years and we’ve brought it back into the rotation. It’s been so long that it almost seems like a new song. That’s my favorite to play.
Q: For people who haven’t heard your music, how would you describe it?
A: Like it’s really all over the place. You’ve got a lot of different styles and blend it together with punk, rock and reggae.