Pepper ~ July 25, 2013 @ Playback Recording Studio

photo by p.dunkley

Because It’s Fun

I have to admit, I was never a big Pepper fan. I was too old (maturity wise) when they hit the scene. I am, however, a fan of Santa Barbara’s own 92.9 KjEE and of Playback Recording Studio. These two local businesses joined forces to bring Pepper to Santa Barbara to perform a private acoustic show for KjEE’s Summer Sessions.

Pepper, for those of you who may not know,  is a threesome consisting of Kaleo Wassman (vocals/guitar), Bret Bollinger (vocals/Bass), and Yesod Williams (drums). Hailing from Hawaii, Pepper is known for their reggae rock party anthems. The band has been touring aggressively and has not released an album in five years. Their most recent track, “F* Around,” is getting good radio play and a new album is due out in September.

When asked why bring Pepper to all the way to SB to perform a private show for only forty people, KjEE’s marketing director Stephen (“Blazer”) Meade responded, “Because it’s fun.” Yup, can’t argue with that kind of logic.

It was an odd scene. Pepper came out to a crowd of forty
photo by p.dunkley
Santa Barbarians sitting crossed legged on the stone floor of the small recording studio underneath what Bret called a “vegan chandelier” (wooden chandelier which look oddly a lot like antlers).  Kaleo quickly claimed the crowd looked like “a game of duck-duck goose on crack.” Despite the oddness of it all, they seemed open to the situation.

Pepper, photo by p.dunkley 
The first song was an acoustic version of “Give It Up.” Not a romantic song by far, but they held in giggles as they softly sung the lewd lyrics. This is how they won me over. They were funny, given the situation, and very humble. Kaleo frankly stated they didn’t understand what was going on here, then began telling tour stories. Bret told stories of their first visit to Isla Vista, naïve right off the Island. They even brought up their tour guy to do an impromptu comedy skit - known to some in the crowd, but not to me.  

Pepper proceeded to play five more songs, two of which were new. In between each song they continued to banter and play with the audience, asking questions, telling stories, ratting each other out. It was an experience to see the party band being so genuine and down to earth. If the party rock reggae didn’t win ya over, the charm of the Island boys did. Indeed, it was fun.