Concerts & Clubs / Big Island band Pepper finally returns to Hawaii after more than a year away to perform hit songs from their albums Stitches and Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations. Since Pepper’s formation in 1997 they have released six albums and have attracted a loyal fan base with their “shock and ah” rock and island rhythms akin to that of Sublime and Slightly Stoopid.
Although he gets homesick, frontman Kaleo Wassman says, “You have to try and capture anything like home.” One way he does this is by seeking out whatever surf spots are nearest to the day’s gig–even in, say, Maryland, where he and I got to speak recently.
“There is nothing quite like Hawaii to me; it hits you right when you get there . . . Being from there reinstates itself in me every time I return.” The beach lifestyle is Pepper’s predominant inspiration for their music. They even admit to a little bit of cruising, career-wise. “We like to not take things too seriously,” says Wassman. “The ocean can explain that to you very well, because if you think you’re all that, no matter who you are or how big you are, the ocean has a way of humbling you.”
If bro wisdom has a way of accumulating around Wassman, he doesn’t try to fight it. When he began playing music at the age of 16 it was “only to impress girls,” he says. “Who knows, maybe I’ll be, like, 65 one day in Waikiki, being a beach boy with my little red shorts, teaching hot tourist chicks to surf.” He doesn’t sound at all unhappy at the prospect.