"Ohana has been our foundation from before Pepper was formed and it will always be that way. Our OHANA is what we come home to from touring the world and it's also where we go to spend so much of our time. Visiting all of our loving and like minded friends and family, is our OHANA" - Pepper
Scrimshaw had the pleasure of attending Pepper's album release concert at The Casbah, in downtown San Diego, as they performed their new cd, OHANA, for the first time in front of a live audience. As I walked into the Sold Out show, there was palpable energy in the air. A buzz of excitement, small clouds of smoke, and the smell of whiskey was present in the crowd as some of their most loyal fans were here to celebrate, admire, and party with their favorite band.
Pepper, who formed in 1996, has their own Pepper OHANA, which is embodied by the three-some – Bret (vocalist/bassist), Kaleo (vocalist/guitarist), and Yesod (drummer). OHANA, a Hawaiian word meaning family and togetherness that transcends blood ties, is a perfectly fitting title for Pepper's 7th full length album. Going back to their roots, Pepper's decision to self produce this album on their own, LAW Records, at their studio, Kona Inn Recording, is an ode to the band's origin, with fresh reggae rock sounds and lyrical fluidity. The album is stripped of any trivial or excess noise and embodies a raw sound allowing their distinct Pepper style and energy to carry their genuine lyrics throughout every track. Speaking with Bret about his new process he broke it down by saying "Well if you know Pepper, you know we have to make records different every single time. This is an example of us doing it again but in a way that we've never tried. Three Kona Boys, three instruments (plugged and unplugged), 10 songs all done in a unique live way, which made it fun and organic from start to finish. But, like every other road we've ever gone down, gotta keep eyes wide open, singing as loud as we can, having the best time possible and most importantly, being TOGETHER, like the OHANA we are."
The moment Pepper stepped on stage in the incredibly intimate venue in front of screaming fans, there was electricity. Their ability to connect and show love for their fans is something that can get lost with a band these days, but came in spades as they opened with some of their classic songs. After playing a quick array of Pepper's favorite tracks, they tried something new and intimate, as they played their new album start to finish for the first time in front of an audience. Listening to Pepper grow lyrically and still capture the essence of OHANA, while experiencing something new as a band, was inspiring.
"The album was named while we enjoyed an amazing sunset, gathered together, at home in Kona, Hawaii, just reminiscing about how beautiful our lives have been and how much the people in them make it so full and meaningful. Thats what OHANA is all about." - Bret Bollinger
Even with new material, the band brought their same energy, passion, and party atmosphere to each note they played, and the show fucking rocked. In perfect time for the summer, Pepper's album OHANA is a must listen. Whether you are driving down the 101 with your windows down or kicking back with a tall boy on your porch, make sure to press play on OHANA, and turn up the sound a little bit louder.