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New Breed
A Conversation With Kepi
by Samuel Barker
June 15, 2000

Being a huge fan of the Groovie Ghoulies, I was stoked to get an opportunity to interview Kepi. However, figuring they'd have a big crowd show up, which is usual for them in Houston, I decided I probably couldn't interview anyone in the band so I failed to prepare any questions. But the show wasn't packed...it was Wednesday, everyone had to work I guess, so I was able to get an interview. I was ill-prepared, and it showed. Next time the Ghoulies come through, I'll definitely get some real questions in order. Thanks out to Kepi for being way cool, and to the rest of the band for one hell of a show. If you get a chance to catch them in your neck of the woods, be sure to make it to the show. You won't be sorry.

Kepi And Samuel
Kepi and Samuel

Samuel Barker: First off, who are the members of the band and what do they do?

Kepi: I sing, Roach plays guitar, B-face plays bass, and Amy plays drums.

Samuel: One thing we notice about you is there is always someone new everytime you come through here.

Kepi: Hopefully not. Amy has made it to Dallas and New Orleans twice.

Samuel: Yeah. This time B-face made it back. I remember a few years back you were playing bass.

Kepi: Was that when we played with the Muffs?

Samuel: Yeah, I think so.

Kepi: Yeah, we kicked B-face out in Boston on that tour. That was our second tour, so he's done all but one tour with us.

Samuel: Well, I feel lucky to have caught you on bass.

Kepi: Yeah, actually he's in a wedding in a few days, so I'm gonna play bass about 3 shows. So it's more rare for me to play bass now.

Samuel: The new album is more stripped down, less overdubs, how'd that come about?

Kepi: Yeah, yeha. It's not too much different, it's just that it sounded so full without the other stuff.

Samuel: Are you guys big 50's rock fans? You can hear a definite Chuck Berry style influence in there.

Kepi: We're huge fans of Chuck Berry, the Stones, Muddy Watters. It's timeless music. Like the Ramones are timeless music, and Iggy Pop. People who aren't just gone after a few years. I like bands that are in it for a while.

Samuel: Here's a cheesy one. Being the Groovie Ghoulies, which horror movies do you really love?

Kepi: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Living Dead, all the Universal stuff, Godzilla...

Samuel: I love Godzilla, what did you think of the new one?

Kepi: The American one?

Samuel: Yeah.

Kepi: I didn't like it. I'm more forgiving over time though.

Samuel: Yeah, I felt Godzilla was too buffed out in this one.

Kepi: Yeah, not a big body count, not much fire breathing.

Samuel: Yeah, no electric breath, and I missed him just bumbling into buildings, he was too deliberate. He was also too small.

Kepi:Some of the best parts were seeing his tail scaping across a building.

Samuel: So, where'd the Halloween theme for the band come from?

Kepi: Being a fan of the Ramones, and at the same time a fan of bands like Kiss and Alice Cooper, it seemed natural.

Samuel: Being a really fun to watch perform live, is it safe to say the Groovie Ghoulies are happy-go-lucky people?

Kepi: Not really. We do a rock show we'd like to see. We try not to emphasize anger, there is enough of that in today's music. We just try to make the show fun to see.

Samuel: It's nice to see that you play older songs as well as the newer ones.

Kepi: Yeah, yeah. Bands that play the same songs over and over have to get bored. You have play all the different songs to keep from being bored.

Samuel: One of the things about the Groovie Ghoulies that won me over was when I first saw you all play, it was like "This is your city, what do you want to hear?" Is it fun to do requests?

Kepi: Yeah, yeah. Certain towns have their favorite songs. It's always nice to play requests.

Samuel: You guys travel a lot, do you love touring?

Kepi: We love to tour. You get tired, but everyone is tired when they come home from work. I'd rather live on diner food than sit at home and do the same thing for 20 or 30 years and never change. I'd be too restless.

Samuel: One thing about the band, there is usually very little downtime when a new member is picked up.

Kepi: Yeah, we've been lucky with that so far. Amy(the new drummer) is doing great. ROach, B-face, and myself have been playing together for a few years, so we're way tight, now that Amy is getting there, we're doing fine.

Samuel: Is it hard dealing with the never ending carousel of members?

Kepi: I do my best to check in with them to make sure they're happy with the band, and enjoying touring.

Samuel: Does you and Roach being married make life on the road easier?

Kepi: Yeah, she would have been bummed if she hadn't been in the band. Touring helps with everything. We get along well. It's nice to work together. My parents worked together for a great deal of years, so it all works out.

Samuel: So is it easier on the road for the two of you?

Kepi: Yeah, it's nice to have something together, and we also get space on the road. She runs the merch booth, I drive all the time while everyone sleeps. We get to do other stuff.

Samuel: Well, I'll let you go, anything you want to add?

Kepi:Well, I'd like to add something about websites. They're great at helping bands reach their fans, and helps to get them heard. A lot of bands can't afford to make a record and get it heard all over. It's great to get heard more. We have a thing where I write postcards to Lookout! and they post them on the site. I was talking to someone at a show a few days ago telling him a story, and he already knew it from the website. It's amazing the kids know all about you so easily.

Samuel: Well, I have to ask one more question now. What is your take on MP3's?

Kepi: It's good when it's a song or two off of an album. A lot of bands only have one song you like, so it helps you get it. It's just like the radio. Kids used to record off of the radio for free, so it's the same thing. If you want kids to buy your records, you have to make the entire album good. I work hard to make every Groovie Ghoulies song as good as it can be. After you record one or two may not be as good as you had liked, but 10 or so are still very good.

Samuel: It is nice to get certain songs instead of buying an entire album for one song.

Kepi: I totally know what you mean. I've bought so many records growing up where you have the one good radio song, then one that sounds similar to it, and the other 10 tracks suck. It pushes for quality albums.

Samuel: Well, you're free to go. Thanks for the interview.

Kepi: Thank you.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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