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    Vinyl Music Hall at Vinyl Music Hall

Event Details

Pepper - 20 Years of Kona Town at Vinyl Music Hall

Two decades.They've gone by in a blur, filled with soundchecks, encores, album releases,and sold-out shows stretching from the California coastline to the UK mainland.Along the way, Pepper has sharpened its own "Kona dub-rock" sound — ablend of reggae, alternative rock, island rhythms, and punky spirit — whilealso building a community of fans and likeminded bands.


That communalspirit runs throughout the band's eighth studio album, LocalMotion. After sharing shows for years with theirheroes and peers, Pepper's three members — vocalist/guitarist KaleoWassman, vocalist/bassist Bret Bollinger, and drummer Yesod Williams — areno longer merely artists; they're ambassadors of a scene, bringing peopletogether under an umbrella of positive-minded music and collaboration.Appropriately, they share the spotlight with some of their longtime friends on LocalMotion, whose songs feature appearances by Stick Figure, E.N Young, MicahBrown, Iration, The Green, Tribal Seeds, and Reel Big Fish's Billy Kottage. Acelebration of artistic synergy, brotherhood, and modern reggae music, LocalMotion is Pepper's most collaborative record to date, shining a light notonly upon the three bandmates themselves, but also upon the wide communitythey've helped build.


"We're part of a communityof bands who have the same mindset," says Wassman. "They're ourpeers. They're our friends. We all exist on the same plane, and that's why wecalled this album Local Motion, because this is our local scene. It'swhere we fit in."


Before Pepper began building acommunity in its adopted hometown of Southern California, the group held itsvery first rehearsal in 1997 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. All three members werenatives of the Big Island, and together, they made a sound that nodded to theirtropical roots while also moving forward into new territory. After earning alocal fanbase in Hawaii, they moved to the mainland, where Pepper quicklybecame a popular live act. Pepper's diverse music allowed the group to tour thecountry with a wide variety of bands, including reggae icons (The Wailers),punk bands (Pennywise), reggae-rockers (311, Slightly Stoopid), and hip-hoplegends (Snoop Dogg). Meanwhile, the band's admiration for DIY-minded groupslike NOFX inspired Pepper to launch its own label, LAW Records, which gave thetrio complete control over its own music. It also allowed the band to sign otheracts, which expanded Pepper's circle even further.


For an album that featuresnearly a dozen guests, Local Motion was appropriately recorded withseveral producers, including Stick Figure, the English Beat's Wayne Lothian,E.N Young, Henry Fong, Jinco, the Dirty Heads' Dave Foral, and Jungle Josh.Working with a range of collaborators gave Pepper a chance to experiment withnew sounds. The result is an album that pays tribute to the band's past whilealso pushing forward — and, perhaps, hinting at what might be in store for thenext 20 years. There's the brass-filled bounce of "Carnaval," thesexed-up swagger of "Sugar (808 remix)," and the summery grooves of"Warning," all wrapped into a tracklist whose songs celebrate thebright side of a life well-lived.


"When we moved toCalifornia, we were playing small clubs," remembers Bollinger, who nowplays outdoor amphitheaters, indoor theaters, festivals, and otherhigh-capacity venues with his bandmates. "We felt like we were one of theonly bands carrying the flag for this genre in America. These days, it'sdifferent. We're seeing some real movement within the reggae scene. This soundhas become an established part of American music, and we're grateful for theother bands who are flying the flag, too. Everything is connecting. The energyis right. Incorporating those bands into our new record was the perfectalignment of where we need to be."


"In a world of socialchaos," adds Yes Williams, "we wanted a ‘return to community,' thatcommunity being the reggae-rock community. We continue to flourish and grow dueto the synergy of likeminded bands and fans. Without each other, we arenothing, fom where the music comes from to where it goes. This record isfiltered through the community, a true Local Motion that we are lucky enough tobe a part of."

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Vinyl Music Hall

2 S Palafox St, Pensacola, FL, 32502

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