Gregory Pepper is a very interesting – and seemingly very busy – guy. Aside from his three records as a solo artist – as Gregory Pepper & His Problems – he’s released albums with hip-hop producer Factor under the moniker Common Grackle, designed album art for bands like Junior Battles, and built a life-sized replica of his home recording studio entirely out of cardboard.
On his latest offering – Escape From Crystal Skull Mountain – the Guelph, Ontario-based musician has somehow managed to pack 17 tracks of blissed-out pop perfection into an incredibly tight 26 minutes and 13 seconds. And it’s a concept album, too. Kind of.
We spoke to Pepper from his home in Guelph about his early influences, his love of black metal and the possibility of him infiltrating the world of online cat videos.
Since their debut “A Celebration of Hunger” in 2007, North Carolina-based Spider Bags have been no strangers to critical praise – Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles has called them the greatest band in the world, and they’ve won the love of the notoriously prickly Pitchfork.com. And deservedly so – they really are that good.
With a sound that’s ranged in the past from psychedelia-laced garage rock to bourbon-soaked country weirdness, singer and guitarist Dan McGee (along with Gregg Levy, Steve Oliva and Rock Forbes) have embraced the raucous gods of rock n’ roll on their latest – and perhaps best – LP, “Shake My Head.” We spoke to McGee about recording the album in Memphis, the changing sound of Spider Bags and why you’ll have to wait a while to hear his Cole Porter album. (Photo by Dan Gregg.)