Hold tight folks – these crazy maniacs from New Orleans will blow you away! Formed less than a year ago, they have already released a killer angsty debut album and have already done heavy amounts of touring. Released via Gunner Gunner Records, “Go To Prison” has received gleaming reviews and has seen PEARS, in their 10 months of being a band, being catapulted all over the States and now Europe, nailing support slots on tours with some of the biggest punk rock bands in the world. Generating a well deserved buzz in the worldwide punk rock scene, the PEARS electrify with their songwriting abilities, and displays some classy, scornful lyrics. Check out their amazing debut record and scroll down to read my interview with the band’s vocalist Zach Quinn and find out what the guys have been up to and what you should be looking forward to this year.
Hey there Zach! How are you? How has the tour been so far? Where are you at the moment?
Hello there. I’m decent, very hungry, waiting to order a pizza at The Firehouse in Normal, IL. This tour has been a spiral. Upwards or downwards, only time will tell, or so I hope. Sometimes time has a way of keeping it’s lips locked tight.
Awesome! And how are the good guys from DIRECT HIT? Were you already pals before this trek?
DIRECT HIT! are a fantastic band, and they are fantastic people. What a blast it was to play with them for all those dates. They are amazing live. We had known them before, but not nearly as intimately as we know them now. It was an honor.
Have you done a lot of touring this year? What does the gig-o-meter say?
We’ve put about 35000 miles on our van, and we’ve played almost 100 shows since August, so yeah we’ve been pretty damn busy!
What are the biggest cons of touring? Do you find it difficult finding good spots to eat? What does your American show promoters absolutely suck at? Haha
Missing home is hard, but home stopped feeling like home, so now it’s not so bad. Finding places to eat is easy, finding places to shit can be difficult. At least comfortable places to shit. No promoters we’ve worked with have sucked so far! Let’s hope it keeps going that way. Either we’re getting paid money or teeth, it’s up to them to decide. ;)
Photo by Angry Norman Photography.
You are gearing up to tour Europe in February, aren’t you? What do you know about European punk scene? Have you been to Europe before?
We sure are! For about a month! I’ve never been to Europe, and I know virtually nothing about the punk scene over there, so I’m very excited. The I only thing I know is that people in Europe have been downloading our record, so I can’t wait to meet our over-seas supporters.
How did you team up with Gunner Records from Bremen, Germany?
The short version is that our buddy Jojo from the band RED CITY RADIO thought we would be a good fit for the label. He sent the record to Gunnar and we began talking later that day. Gunnar is a one of the raddest dudes around and were super pumped to be working with him.
You stated that you “don’t plan on stopping until we’re the first punk band to ever play in North Korea”. On the other hand, your bio says that you “started PEARS one night in December 2013” at a party where you “wrote the skeletons of seven of the ten songs” that would become our first release “Go To Prison”. How do you go from being so laid-back to being so involved and committed to your new band?
Allow me to clarify: we wrote half the music for the record in one night before we ever had a bassist or drummer. This was never laid back, it was as if we were a wind-up toy, cranked as tightly as inhumanly possible, and then dropped to immediately begin the march into the ever-beckoning abyss. North Korea, here we come.
Haha, awesome! Ok, but before you shoot us a comprehensive guide to touring the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, tell us a bit more about your local scene. How is New Orleans’ punk music scene? How vital is it compared to other parts of the US you visited this year?
The scene here is fairly well-sized, and diverse. The reason there haven’t been more bands from New Orleans to gain wider acclaim is most of them are too drunk to get it together, or simply don’t have the desire to do too much. Then the other handful are just really bad. But we’ve got good venues, and a good scene, but my favorite New Orleans bands aren’t even really punk bands; YES MA’AM, WOOZY, and DONOVAN WOLFINGTON would be my top three. But there are bigger scenes elsewhere for sure. I’m really into Detroit, THE SUICIDE MACHINES have that shit locked down.
Are there any new bands now that you see as having and sharing radical ideas worth exploring?
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The nihilism present in the impossible purity of her music is absolutely fucking delightful. Her music makes me want to quit making music and run away and live on a beach. I’m not sure everything that I experience through her music was the intent of the artist, but isn’t that the wonderful thing about art? Most everything ever is sooooooo boring. She excites me. I’m also really into Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa’s ‘Toropical Circle’. That record bums me out more. I’ve been listening to ‘Loveless’ by MY BLOODY VALENTINE a whole lot, and DIRECT HIT!’s ‘Brainless God’, and a BORN WRONG 7″.
Do YOU have any specific criteria for the lyrics that you want covered in your tracks? Is there a specific objective in mind while writing a track?
I feel like I communicate more successfully through lyrics than conversation, which isn’t saying much. I fucking hate conversation, I think it’s so petty. If I said what’s on my mind It would be super weird, so why bother? I’m rather reclusive as a result, but it’s so comfortable. I feel like every song lyrically is more about conveying a mood, not ideas. How do you describe the intangible? Someone told me it’s called “toska”, that’s pretty close, but no one word can capture an entire pallet of human experience, and I’m not sure many words will work either. Every song is just another attempt to say the same thing from a different angle, but the joke is that I’m not all that interesting.
Interesting. What’s the purpose of music and punk music in particular then?
None. Art is inevitably trite and irrelevant. But only as meaningless as everything else. Something to do between the moments of birth and death. The long grueling moments waiting for the bell. The arrogant beauty of sharing my own ambling experience with others in hopes to impart information because….. no reason.
I believe there were a few artists, lyrics and art works that has changed people’s lives. Is it just an illusion?
I don’t think so! There is plenty of art that I love and adore, but “meaningless” and “meaningless to me” are two very different things. So, let’s say I love a song by a dumpy punk band (hint: I love plenty of songs by dumpy punk bands), It would be a strange thing for me to say “this song is important!”, because, that’s not true. Rather, I’d say “this song is important TO ME!”. I reject the idea of citing artists as important because I feel like its reinforcement of a hierarchy. What it is presenting opinion as truth. We are all of equal value, and anyone can change a life. Everyone has uttered a phrase that anyone might be moved by. I had an intimate meeting with a good friend recently that moved me more than any Rachmaninoff ever could. Be your own hero, ascribe your own truth, ya know? Isn’t the truth but a fiction we write ourselves?
True indeed. Can you give us your final reflections upon music business? How do you like the current era of digital music?
Well, I think the internet has leveled the field in a lot of ways. We no longer have to listen to whatever record labels choose to distribute, we have an entire world at our fingertips. We can enjoy music from anywhere in the world with a couple clicks of the mouse! Of course this also means there is so much music I sometimes feel like I don’t know where to start. From a business standpoint, this can be scary, there’s so many bands working hard trying to make enough money to survive, but it’s no more scary than the pre-internet alternative. PEARS is doing better than any band that I’ve been in previously, and I can’t begin to describe the amount of work we’ve put into it, but we do this because it’s simply what we do. The bottom line is that I’ve half-assed so many things in my life, and I never want to half ass anything ever again. We love it enough to go all in, and I am supremely excited to connect with people via the most honest and true thing about me. Even in this interview I have tried to answer honestly, but mostly I’m just a parody of a parody of a parody of myself. This whole thing could blow up in my face financially, but I love it so much that it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll finally make some friends.
Fingers crossed that it ends up resulting in some good adventures for you guys! Let’s predict what the music industry will look like in let’s say 5 years from now. What prognosis would you offer?
Thank you! I don’t have to guess. We have traveled great lengths to get to this particular juncture, the question isn’t from where but from when. We wrote ‘Forever Sad’ in December of 2048, then illegally entered a collapsing wormhole, leaving us now. Time is a successfully traversable plane in the future, and it is now, it is just an extremely cloak-and-dagger affair. When we arrived we had to slay multiple nameless members of a federal agency that don’t exist to escape. All this said, enjoy music while you can. In 5 years, music will begin to shift. In ten, music will no longer be something that you listen to, rather, it will be something that you rub on your face that gives you thoughts. I know it sounds like I’m making this up, but why would I lie to you?
Because you’re an incurable optimist? Some might say that music today is too shallow and meaningless compared to was it used to be 60, 50, 40, or even 30 years ago. I mean, despite of all the great independent movements and DIY music, there is so much plastic shit music all around us that I truly fear what music I general will be like in ten years. My daughter is 1 year old and I fear as my daughter enters her teenage years :)
Ya know, I think about that sometimes too. The thing is, I feel like maybe the music from past generations that is regarded as deep is regarded in such a way because it’s generally accepted that it was. I mean, sure, interesting lyrics versus bland party tunes is one thing, but I think it’s more that the listener applies their own understanding and meaning to whatever piece of music they are listening to. One person might hear a crappy pop tune, another might hear a campy, tongue in cheek, nihilistic anthem. The next question would be one about artistic intent and whether or not it matters, and I would say that the question itself is irrelevant anyway. Look at the lyrics of any highly regarded artist, and even with the more wordy of poets, one might take one look and say “this is pretentious bullshit”. I think that the killer is when people stop asking questions about whats around them, and if there’s any ability that I know that you have to pass down to your offspring, It’s asking questions. I think there’s garbage and gold anywhere, It’s just a matter of which you’re truly seeking. Maybe you can find either in everything.
And that’s the perfect punchline :) Thanks man, thanks a lot for your time! Feel free to sum it up with a few lines about PEARS’ plans for the coming months and anything else you’d like to add here. Thanks!
Well, we’re in Germany now, we’re working in the new record in the van, I have almost completely cycled food out of my diet, I mostly eat plastics and metals now, and we will be touring the US with OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, then with TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET, then with STRUNG OUT, and we’ll be playing Punk Rock Bowling, yada yada yada. Cool stuff! Check our Facebook for tour dates!
PEARS on tour:
+ RED CITY RADIO:
02.03.15 Berlin – Cassiopeia
03.03.15 Hamburg – Hafenklang
04.03.15 Bremen – Lagerhaus
06.03.15 Hannover – Lux
07.03.15 Münster – Gleis 22
08.03.15 The Junction Plymouth, United Kingdom
09.03.15 The Flapper Birmingham, United Kingdom
10.03.15 Wharf Chambers Leeds, United Kingdom
11.03.15 The Owl Sanctuary Norwich, United Kingdom
12.03.15 Brixton Windmill London, United Kingdom
+ OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
3/18 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium
3/19 Minneapolis, MN – The Triple Rock
3/20 Green Bay, WI – The Lyric Room
3/21 Lombard IL – The Brauerhaus
3/22 Ft. Wayne IN – The Brass Rail
3/24 Lansing, MI – Mac’s Bar
3/25 Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
3/26 Pittsburgh, PA – Howler’s
3/27 Cincinnati, OH – Southgate House Revival
3/28 Normal, IL – Firehouse Pizza
3/29 Madison, WI – The Frequency
+ TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET:
March 31 Fayetteville, NC – Drunk Horse Pub@ Mickey’s
April 1 Gainesville FL – Loosey’s
April 2nd St Petersburg FL – Local 662
April 3rd West Palm Beach FL – Respectable St
April 4th Orland FL – Will’s Pub
April 5th Birmingham AL – Syndicate Lounge
April 6th Nashville TN- Exit/In
April 7th St Louis MO – The Demo
April 8th Kansas City MO – Record Bar
April 9th Colorado Springs – Triple Nickle
April 10th Fort Collins CO – Aggie Theatre