By: Cindy C. A. Pereira, Correspondent
On Aug. 26, the Wellmont Theatre will open its doors to Pepper, a reggae rock band originally from Hawaii now in San Diego. They will play alongside Tribal Seeds, also from San Diego with special guest reggae band Fortunate Youth. Their opening band, also on their label, Law Records, is the Canadian Band Darenots.
Pepper formed in 1996 with best friends from middle school, singer and guitarist Kaleo Wassman and bassist/singer Bret Bollinger. Yesod Williams joined Pepper after a long search for a drummer. Since the band’s formation they have released five studio albums as well as two live albums. The band has been influenced by Hawaiian artist Three Plus and groups like Sublime.
Williams spoke to the Montclair Times on the phone from Manhattan Beach in California.
He was recently on the East Coast, in Brooklyn to see Iron Maiden. The Times wanted to know who, other than Iron Maiden, who Williams likes.
“My all time favorite band is Ween from New Hope, Pennsylvania. Fish covers one of their songs, ‘Roses are free.’ ”
He highly recommended their album “Live in Chicago.”
Williams said his uncle and father exposed him to Led Zeppelin, Rush and other classic rockers.
“They [Zeppelin and Rush] were the first that piqued my interest for music and for being a musician as well,” he explained.
But when he began to play drums, he said, “Metallica’s ‘And Justice for All’ was the catalyst to make my subconscious vision clear to me.”
He spoke of how his mother worked for the concert promoter for Metallica and he had the chance to meet all the guys in the band.
“It made a dream seem possible – in retrospect it was probably an unconscious seed planted in my head,” he added.
Some general musical influences he cited were grunge and then the second wave of punk rock. He referenced specifically Sublime and UB40.
“All through [the stages], UB40… my whole life… they were like the Rolling Stones growing up.”
Knowing Pepper’s musical style it was no surprise when he added, “But there was always that island music sprinkled in.”
When asked how California compares to his hometown in Hawaii, Williams said there are no comparisons; he feels thankful to his parents daily for having brought him up in paradise, but he also very much loves the South Bay of Los Angeles.
Williams strongly advocated that music works against frustration in general and felt it should be used as a release for whatever negativity one might be holding on to.
Williams spoke a bit about his record label “Law Records” and explained the lineup for the evening saying, “It’s a bunch of music we are fans of and we think everyone else needs to hear.”
The conversation ended with a friendly invitation to the show. Williams said, “We like to call it the whole Ohana vibe. It’s a big family out there.”
Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, which is used to convey the sense of togetherness that transcends blood ties.