By Leslie Krouse
It’s always amazing to me how small this world really is. I had three interviews set up for this issue, of course Slightly Stoopid and Pepper, they kind of go hand and hand, but I had an interview with Flogging Molly. In preparation for the pepper interview I found out they just came off tour with Flogging Molly in Europe, how much more perfectly tied together can this be, and talking with Yesod Williams it became very apparent how everyone has that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon syndrome. The Hawaiian-bred, now Southern California living trio, Bret Bollinger (vocals/bass), Kaleo Wassman (vocals/guitar), and Yesod Williams (drums) have become veterans in the touring world. After their 13 European countries tour with FM, and now a 22 city tour with SS, these quys are quite literally taking the world by storm. Now with the release of their fifth studio album ‘Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations’ via their self run label Law Records, and produced by Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers), this album is filled with the band’s trademark rock/funk/reggae hybrid grooves. Yesod was going to be my first interview out of the 3, so I couldn’t wait to see what how the band is doing, and if I could get some dirt on either one of the bands. Here’s how it went.
RIS: You just got back from touring in Europe with Flogging Molly, and now you’re off and running with Slightly Stoopid. How’s all the touring going, and what’s next?
Yesod: It’s great. Flogging Molly is one of the nicest groups we’ve ever worked with, they may seem underground here, but they are huge over in Europe, we had a great time. Could you do me a favor, I’m trying to set up the same tour I’m doing with Slightly Stoopid for next year, but with Flogging Molly, can you ask Matt Hensley about it. I would love to make this happen. We wrap up with SS in San Diego on the 6th of September, this will be my first time playing at the Open Air, and we’re pretty excited about it. Then in October were doing the Law Records Tour with Passafire, The Supervillains, and we are headlining. We’ll run it for a few weeks on the main land; then we’ll do a few shows in Hawaii to finish out the rest of the year. Then it starts all over again next year.
RIS: Pepper’s new Album ‘Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations’ just hit the stand July 22nd, you guys released 3 different songs to three different radio formats. What made you quys decide to try something like that?
Yesod: We’ve had pretty good luck with radio in the past, but it’s like making a woman orgasm, you just have to keep trying different things and see what works. So we sent ‘Freeze’ to a (modern rock) station, and ‘Stand and Fall’ to a (rock) station, and ‘Black Out’ to a (specialty) station, we get to choose what gets played were. Typically you’d have to wait for some old guy in a suit and tie, to decide on what single he thinks will be a hit. That’s why we started Law Records, well actually my dad started it back in the 80’s, he had a band back then call The Law and they had their own independent label. We want to set a standard of integrity with our own label, that anyone who was under our label, you would have faith in knowing that they are going to be good.
RIS: How much did growing up in a musical family influence you?
Yesod: I guess you could say it was instilled in me at a young age; it just soaked into my brain. Not only did my dad play in a band, but my mom was a promoter in Hawaii as well. I think I was 3 when I saw my first concert. I was always around the stage and performers, bands like Metallica and Bon Jovi. When I was growing up made me realize that these are just regular people doing what they love, it was then when I realized it was attainable to achieve.
RIS: Back to the new CD. One of the singles ‘Black Out’ you released, you recorded with Randy Bradbury of Pennywise, and then cut a couple more with him, how did that happen?
Yesod: We met Randy and the boys from Pennywise on the road with the Warped Tour, and have become pretty good friends. Well, they were recording next door, and Randy wondered over looking for “Hawaiian Water” (we call Coors Light Hawaiian water), we knew he had an incredible voice, so after a few waters we told him to get in there and lay down some vocals, he didn’t even listen to the songs prior to laying his tracks. He went straight into the vocal booth and said “Run It” it was great, one take on every song.
RIS: Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to?
Yesod: You know most people don’t know this, but when we moved from Hawaii we chose to live in San Diego. We knew it was the most like Hawaii, just more people and cars. I would like to say THANKS to Pamela at Canes. She always gave us a place to play; she took really good care of us.
Yesod had nothing but incredible thing to say about both Slightly Stoopid and Flogging Molly, he feels extremely fortunate to be working with both.