The members of Pepper — guitarist and singer Kaleo Wassman, bassist and singer Bret Bollinger and drummer Yesod Williams — never thought the band would become a hit single-seeking, record-label-starting, multiple-album-selling success.
Despite expectation, the trio has steadily strived toward stardom.
Williams said the success is attributable to the hard work of the band members and the supportive fans. It’s the fans who Williams said he hopes come out in masses to Pepper’s concert today at the Knitting Factory in Reno.
“I think mainly from all the touring we do,” Williams said of the genesis of Pepper’s fan following. “We come out and shake the hands and kiss the babies personally. We’re going and seeing the people and doing the hard work ourselves.”
The hard work paid off since the band took a leap of faith and moved from Kona, Hawaii to San Diego, Calif. in 1999 to be able to tour, promote and make music.
“It created a better outlet to tour,” Williams said of the move. “To be able to jump in a van and hit the pavement, and on top of that it just added to our experiences of our lifetime. Adding those experiences added fuel to the fire of stuff to write about.
“The main thing I think is the word of mouth,” Williams added. “I think going out there ourselves and doing the grunt work. This person tells their friend who tells their friend.”
The fan base that Pepper has garnered has allowed the band to continue recording albums, including a self-titled release due out later this year.
“It’s our first self-titled album actually,” Williams said. “We’re kind of excited to do it because bands usually do that earlier in their career.”
The first single from the album was released Tuesday and is titled “Wake Up.” It can be purchased on iTunes. Williams said Pepper deviated from the normal creative process with albums such as 2009’s “Kona Town” in order to make a product that could appeal to the masses.
“I think it’s just more positive and it’s more universally appealing,” Williams said of the new album. “Instead of kind of being more niche, it’s still the same band you know but I think it’s better collaborating as far as working together with the three people.”
In the past, Pepper worked with Nick Hexum of 311 (with which the band currently is on tour as well as with the Offspring), bassist Tony Kanal from No Doubt and and Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers to produce the album “No Shame.”
Despite the big-name collaboration, Williams said Pepper is a product of the band members’ hard work.
“We just built our own studio so we’ve been kind of holing up in there and throwing ideas at each other and that’s what I’m talking about with better collaboration instead of one person writing a song and then bring it to the table,” Williams said.
Pepper will perform at 8 p.m. today at the Knitting Factory in Reno with bands Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds and Orgone. Tickets are $19 to $45 and can be purchased by visiting http://re.knittingfactory.com.
“We’ve got a lifeguard theme going this tour,” Williams said with a chuckle. “If anyone is in trouble during the show, we can save your lives.”
For more information about Pepper, visit www.pepperlive.com.