On the way from their hometown of Philadelphia to Los
Angeles where they will catch up with the 2005 Ashlee Simpson tour (opening
40 dates of the tour), Peppers Ghost
stopped by Epiphone Headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.
The blue-collar Philadelphia band has crafted a sound
belying its geographic origin: harmony-rich and literally vibrating with
manic energy, struts the bleeding edge between polished showmanship and
beer-fueled rock 'n' roll mayhem. For frontmen Anthony and Michael Montesano,
multi-instrumentalist Rob Bennett, bassist/vocalist David Hartley and a drummer
known only as Zil, their collars may be blue but their songs are
Set to release their Hybrid Recordings debut Shake the
Hand that Shook the World on April 5, 2005, the album is the culmination
of five years as a band, and for brothers Michael and Anthony, a lifetime
as musical partners. The record was produced by the legendary Andy Johns,
(The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St., Led Zeppelin's IV and Television's
Marquee Moon) and the result of the collaboration is a rock 'n' roll record
in the truest sense: an analog gem polished through performance and song
craft, not with ProTools or pitch correction.
EPI: Tell me about
how you guys got together and how this all started.
ANTHONY: Michael, Robby and I have been together
now for about 5 years. We were playing around Philadelphia and played
occasionally with another band that Zil played in. At one point we were in
the market for a drummer and as it turned out Zil had just left his band
so we thought it was a great opportunity for us since we had already known
him for a couple of years. Then about a year ago we started recording our
record and Dave joined us then.
MICHAEL: Yeah, we signed in January and the album
started in February and I think Daves second rehearsal with us was with Andy
Johns in the Studio. He was learning the songs as we were getting ready to
EPI: How did you
hook up with a legend like Andy Johns for your first record?
ANTHONY: The A&R guy that signed us actually
hooked us up because he felt like Andy was a good match for what we were
trying to do.
EPI: How was the
experience of working with a guy that has worked with the biggest names in
the rock world?
MICHAEL: David has the best answer to that
DAVID: I always say that he is certifiable! We
love him ....everyday was an adventure.
EPI: Do you feel
like he brought out the best in the band?
MICHAEL: Yeah…he brought a lot sound wise.
DAVID: He is the master of tone and has a great
ear for drum sounds and guitar sounds. From an engineering standpoint he
was amazing and he definitely doesn’t cut any corners.
EPI: How has working
with Andy in the studio translated to your live performances?
MICHAEL: Well, we are definitely trying to duplicate
those sounds live. My guitar tone has definitely changed because of it.
ANTHONY: It's even changed my playing style. I'm
the rhythm guitar player so I was kind of used to just pounding through it
all. After the record I'm a lot more aware of different parts, you know where
you might pluck the strings differently or use arpeggios instead of just
ding, ding, ding! Those are the kinds of things that make the songs sound
cool and add little bit of color to it.
EPI: We're thrilled
that you guys are playing our stuff!
ANTHONY: We love it. The whole album is full of
Epiphones and we'll be playing our Epi's on this tour.
EPI: And that's
where your headed now... right?
ANTHONY: Yeah, we'll be driving all night tonight,
on our way to LA. We're ready to get out and play our music and we're excited
to get the chance to do so on this
Ashlee Simpson tour.
congratulations on everything and we'll see you at the Ryman on April 11th
Anthony Montesano checks
out the new
Michael Montesano belts out
a tune on piano with the guys.
Robby Bennett checks out
David Hartley jams on an
El Segundo acoustic bass.
Back on the
Grey Ghost and headed
for Los Angeles!
For more information about Peppers Ghost and tour dates
with Ashlee Simpson visit