Happy Monday Interview Series: Pepperwine

Pepperwine Home Image

Pepperwine is a band of pure happenstance, the stars aligning, the fates conspiring together.

It was back in 2010/2011 when punk rock musician Breece Panepinto wanted to improve on his singing skills. He sought out a vocal teacher and found local teacher Kellie Shane. Little did he know that his teacher would become his new bandmate. After the lessons were complete Kelli and Breece emerged as Pepperwine, a fun, high-energy, “rusty blues” band that has been performing in the local Jersey Shore scene for the past three years. Their sound is perfect for the sand-swept towns they perform in. It’s got an undeniable groove and his this wonderfully summery bounce to it.

Today, Monday June 9th, the band, who just finished a busy weekend of shows, will take the Happy Mondays stage at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park along with Bog Iron Bloom and Brother Valiant. In our weekly column, Pop-Break sits down with Breece and Kelli to talk about the band’s fortuitous meeting, their unique sound and the Asbury music scene.

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Pepperwine Is (Members of the Band): Kellie Shane – keys, lead vocals, Breece Panepinto – guitars, vocals, Anthony Cauterucci – bass guitar,
Chris Kanenbley – percussion

We Formed In: Spring of 2011

We’re Based Out Of: Belmar, NJ

Any Records Coming Out Soon? We’ve spent the last few months breaking in a new drummer and bass player and are taking advantage of the summer and playing out as much as possible. Come fall time we intend to record a new full length album.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Pepperwine!

You’ve Seen Us Before [In Other Bands]: The Fly Honey (Kellie), Treasure Buried Here (Breece), The Natadors (Chris & Anthony)

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Famous/Awesome Bands We’ve Performed With Before: The Dirty Bourbon River Show, The Memphis Dawls, The Places We’ve Been, Bog Iron Bloom, Tash, Even & Kyle, Matt Wade and many many more..

Pop-Break: The name. I absolutely love the name Pepperwine. It just rolls off the tongue and it’s name that just sticks with you. Can you give us the story of how it came to be?

Kellie: I have a lot of crazy dreams. So, I had one where I was in the cafeteria of the elementary school I went to. I walked in and it was filled with older ladies. They were drinking boxed wine, and I asked for a glass. They gave me a wine glass that was filled with red pepper. I don’t tend to remember all my dreams but that one stuck with me for some reason…and for good reason.

PB: The band came together when Breece was looking for vocal lessons and Kellie became his teacher. Can you tell us what drew you two together to form a band? What was it about the other that made you say, “This is someone I want to perform with.”

Breece: I think we both could feel somewhat of a chemistry in our music lessons. It took some time into our relationship before we actually played music together. Kellie lived in a small (to put it nicely) apartment in Ocean Grove and didn’t have cable TV or internet. So playing music was our only form of entertainment.

Kellie: Breece really inspired me to dive into writing. When we first started communicating outside of our lessons the first thing we would always say to each other would be “let’s jam”. It took us some time to get to know one another, and finally we just started playing. The no cable/no internet tiny apartment I lived in helped as well. We both had been in other bands before and when we started playing we saw eye to eye on the type of sound we were trying to achieve, and what each other had to bring to the table.

PB: You describe your style as “rusty blues.” Can you tell about the genesis of this sound, especially since Breece came in from a punk rock background?

Photo Credit: Marlo Montanaro
Photo Credit: Marlo Montanaro

Breece: One of the very first songs we played together was a song that Kellie wrote called “Rusty Blues.” It became what we considered to be our signature song – a really nice mixture of unique sounding blues and groove. Funny enough the song took a backseat to newer songs that we were (and are) writing, but we have made it a point to start playing that song again. I like to call our sound “groove/rock/blues.” In terms of the genesis of the sound, I believe writing good music involves listening to good music. So listening to a lot of good music throughout the years has certainly helped my songwriting abilities.

PB: You have music out there for people to listen on Reverbnation and other sites, but if someone reading this and discovering you for the first time wants to listen to a song of yours to truly get the essence of Pepperwine, which song would it be and why?

Breece: For me it would be a song called “That’s The Trouble.” It is the first song on our EP, Mighty Fine. It’s a flamenco-type, foot-stomping, driving force of a song Kellie wrote. It’s got a little bit of everything – and since recording the song for the album, we’ve elongated the reggae part in the middle of the song. Both versions of the song are available online for your listening pleasure – the EP version is available on our SoundCloud page, and there is a live video on our YouTube page from the Brighton Bar with the extended reggae part.

Kellie: I skipped this question initially because I didn’t know what to write. Its really hard for me to pick one song. Breece and I have asked each other this question a lot and each time I’ve never answered it. However, I do agree with him…

PB: What can the people coming out to Happy Monday expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience?

Kellie: We definitely are much different than what we are portrayed as online. We have worked hard with the two new guys (Chris and Anthony) since March to get our repertoire together and get as tight as possible. We try to keep it grooving, moving, and keep it interesting. So people should expect to hear rocking tunes with soulful singing sewn in over top of it all.

Breece: You can expect a performance full of toe-tapping and unique songs performed energetically and passionately.

PB: The Asbury scene has so many bands performing in it right now, so what makes Pepperwine stand out — from a musical standpoint?

Breece: Kellie Shane. She is an unbelievable piano player, and an even better singer. She even writes most of Pepperwine’s songs. Her presence at the front of this band really makes us stand out.

Kellie: I think we have a very signature sound. There isn’t a lot out there that sounds like us. I try to write music that is relatable, that I would want to play through my own stereo, and not something you could hear anywhere else. We work hard at achieving various dynamics, and levels in our sound so you get a little something different with each new tune while still maintaining our Pepperwine flair.

photo Credit: Marlo Montanaro
photo Credit: Marlo Montanaro

PB: What are your plans for the band for the rest of 2014? What are you most excited about that’s on the horizon for the band?

Kellie: Plans are to continue getting tighter with the guys. We’ve only been with them for two months so I’m really excited to get to the point where we really understand each other and can play off each other in writing and performance. We want to play out as much as possible and re-brand Pepperwine. Breece and I have gained a reputation in the area as a duo. I think that people were responsive to us, but I really think that the guys take our music to the next level. We played our first show with them on Saturday, and we had a lot of people who’ve seen Pepperwine from the beginning there. Everyone was blown away of where our music has been elevated to. I want to stretch ourselves outside of the Jersey shore area and play elsewhere. Lastly, recording. Our EP, Mighty Fine is keys, guitar, and light percussion. We need to get our sound out there so people really know what we’re cooking up. I’m just excited to finally have the Pepperwine I’ve been longing for since the beginning.

Breece: Our plans are to record a new album in the fall. We are very excited about the way we sound now, with the addition of bass, and I cannot wait to start recording!

PB: Last question — what is it that you love about being in this band the most?

Kellie: It’s so much fun. Writing a song, seeing each member do their thing with it, and then performing it for a live crowd…it’s all really great. I love it.

Breece: I have been playing some of these songs for over two years and have not grown tired with any of them. I love the songs we write and the groove we create.

Tonight Pepperwine takes the stage along with Bog Iron Bloom and Brother Valiant tonight at The Wonder Bar’s Happy Mondays. Admission is absolutely free.

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Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party columns and contributes regularly through out the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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