By: Shaya Rogers, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Shaya Rogers
Local band Pepper Griswald has woven together the classic punk music style with deep topics from history, literature and even philosophy for a new take on old ideas.
The four-member band, comprised of lead vocalist Chris Romero, drummer Kevin Bott, guitarist David Castillo and bassist Danny Crouch, has been conquering the local punk scene since forming in mid-2012.
“Lyrically I take a lot from things I’ve learned from philosophy and history. It plays a part in the lyrical content of the songs,” said Paralegal Studies Major Chris Romero.
The band has a do-it-yourself garage style, but the sound is hard to describe specifically, he said.
“We were in Las Cruces a couple weeks ago and someone asked us that and I told them it’s kind of like Junkie-Psych- Rock,” he said.
Bott said with a little luck, and a serious attitude toward song writing, Pepper Griswald was able to gain success, delivering unpredictable, yet nostalgic punk music.
“It’s been a lot of catching lightning in a bottle and just not doing what we did before,” he said.
Three of the members were part of another music project before starting Pepper Griswald, but decided to take a more deliberate and determined approach when starting this band, he said.
“You come out of college different and changed by the process and take certain aspects of your life more seriously and I think it comes through,” said Bott.
While the band has a sincere dedication, song titles like “Junkie Hugs From Jucifer” and “In Food No One Can Hear You Scream” demonstrate the sense of humor the foursome shares.
Crouch said the Albuquerque punk scene has many different aspects to it, but the most important for the band is the willingness to provide an organic sound.
“I think it’s safe to say that this band in particular, as well as other projects we’re all a part of, are within a sort of larger scene of being DIY,” he said.
Punk has its roots within society as a whole, as well as small communities around the world, but has grown into a genre that is not specific to one particular sound, he said.
“I think that’s where it has evolved to is having that sort of ethos as far as interacting with a sort of industry that’s already well in progress,” said Crouch.
The band recently played a live set on KUNM’s radio show “Music to Soothe the Savage Beast” and Castillo said even though it was nerve-wracking, it was one of the best experiences the group has had.
“That’s the coolest thing about playing on KUNM, those radio waves are transmitting and they’re just going to fly through space,” he said.
The band has also been playing shows at The Launchpad and credits the venue and KUNM for helping their music reach such a large audience, he said.
“Those guys, they have made this Pepper Gr i s w a ld thing happen for us,” he said.
Playing music together has served as a form of expression and escapism for the band, said Castillo.
“When I play music, I’m not thinking about anything else in the world, and that’s one of the only points in time that happens for me,” he said.
Romero said the internet is a great source for finding new music, and utilizing it is an important part of broadening musical interests.
“If you’re really serious about discovering new music, the internet is there. There is plenty of stuff out there,” he said.
Being around the punk scene has been a rewarding experience that has made him f e e l accepted in an environment where he otherwise may have not, he said.
“I was a total awkward kid who was really into Tolkien and Star Wars. I still am. Punk rock made me cool,” he said.