Ahead of their upcoming Step to the Local Motion Tour and their show at the TLA in Philadelphia on February 15th, Pepper’s drummer Yesod Williams took some time to speak with IndependentPhilly.com about their new album, Local Motion, the band’s history, his favorite thing about Philly, how much pot the 3 members of Pepper can all smoke in one day, skull-conuts, and so much more. IndependentPhilly.com’s co-Editor/HBIC, Jen Strogatz, had a blast chatting it up with Yesod and got the scoop on the bands’ upcoming tour.
Yessod Williams: Hey! How are you?
Jen Strogatz (IP): I’m doing good. How are you?
Yesod Williams: I’m good. Thanks, Jen.
Jen Strogatz (IP): Are you in California right now?
Yesod Williams: Yeah, yeah, I’m in the South Bay of Los Angeles.
Jen Strogatz (IP): Very cool. So it’s earlier right?
Yesod Williams: Yeah, one. It’s one right now, yeah.
Jen Strogatz (IP): So… what you’re saying is that I’m pretty much in the future? Sick…
Yesod Williams: Yep, Absolutely. How are things up there?
Jen Strogatz (IP): I can’t tell you, it might really screw things up if I do. Okay, cool.
Yesod Williams: No sports bets or anything?
Jen Strogatz (IP): No, I’m sorry. I can’t do it. Might create a hole in the space time continuum, you know, all that. So.
Yesod Williams: Haha yeah.
Jen Strogatz (IP): So. You’re the drummer for Pepper and the three of you are the original band members… since like 1997!
Yesod Williams: Believe it or not! Yeah, no, it’s crazy. I recently, like over the past couple of years saw a list, I don’t know where it
was, maybe Rolling Stone or something, it was like the top 10 longest original member bands. And we like aren’t that far from that list. Because it’s crazy, how when you really start to think about it, how few bands actually have the founding members still in it.
Jen Strogatz: I know, not to mention all three. I mean, that’s like huge…
Yesod Williams: Yeah. We’re very proud of it. For sure.
Jen Strogatz: I would be. I mean, I was thinking that it’s basically like a marriage. Like, how do you guys, you know, keep the passion alive?! Haha.
Yesod Williams: I mean, it’s, it’s like it’s like a marriage but you’re married to like more than one person. So I mean,
honestly all it is, it’s just the love for what we do and that’s what keeps us together. Of course, being a band for so long, through any hard times that we’ve ever experienced and the downs, the ups, whatever. We’ve always kept it in the forefront that we’re so grateful to play music for a living and whatnot. Then I always repeat this to people too, I’ve known the other two guys for my whole life. So, it’s like, they were my brothers’ way before the band.
So, I feel like we have a special bond beyond just being in a band together. Like we’re actual, like truly ohana, truly family. I just think that, for lack of a better term, there’s extra pride that you carry for me personally it’s like,
like, yeah, of course, I don’t want to let my band down, I don’t want to let our fans down, but like, I don’t want to let my brothers down, you know. So I think it’s a bit of an unfair advantage in my opinion, but I’ll take it.
Jen Strogatz: No, that’s really sweet. That’s really, really cool. I mean, basically you just got to do what you love with your two best friends. That’s amazing.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, I feel like I feel like we cheated something somewhere, but it really is such a blessing.
Local Motion, Kona Dub-Rock & Skull-Conuts
Jen Strogatz: That’s awesome. So yeah, I remember back in 2006, maybe 2007, I used to live in South Florida and I think I saw you guys at Marley Fest that year. Or one of the years. You guys were there, I think. But no, I used to love your song Ashes. As soon as I saw the name Pepper show up in my email, I was like, “Ashes! I remember them, they’re amazing.” Your new album is really awesome, too though. So how did this come about and what influenced the making of the new album, Local Motion?
Yesod Williams: Honestly, the community. That this reggae-rock, or whatever you want to call this genre, like the California reggae, I don’t know. I hear it called a bunch of different things. But I just say reggae-rock because it’s not traditional reggae.
The way that we’ve approached it, you know, we’ve always been huge metal fans and huge punk rock fans and everything. We come from that history of Warped Tour and whatnot. And from the time that we started this band up until now, there’s an actual like, sub-genre that exists around the music we play.
Jen Strogatz: Is that the Kona Dub-rock? Or no?
Yesod Williams: Yeah, Kona Dub-Rock‘s the name, that’s our brand of music that Pepper plays personally. That we’ve dubbed ourselves.
And yeah, just the idea of making Local Motion was that we wanted to get all the rest of the community involved. Because basically, like I said, in 20 years this huge community has built up around us, and it’s so amazing. All the inspiration that just circles this community. So, we wanted to basically dig into it and get the best out of it that we could and give the trust of our music into the hands of the community. And that’s why we have about four different teams of producers on it – from the Stick Figure boys, to Noah Cronin and the Sea Major Seven Studio in Hawaii, to E.N. Young – he used to be from Tribal Seeds, he’s a solo reggae artist nowadays, he did one track. So that’s where the idea for the album first came about. And so, we basically came up with these broad ideas for songs and sent them out to each respective production camp, Dave from the Dirty Heads produced the songs.
So, that was the original idea and the inspiration, we wanted to make it a true…
Jen Strogatz: Like one big collaboration. That’s so cool.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, a true piece of “Local Motion” you know what I mean?
I don’t want to say concept album whatsoever, because
there’s not really like a consistent concept throughout the theme as far as what the content is about. But I mean, as far as we named it Local Motion, we knew we wanted to put our trust and see what our music sounded like when we put it through the filter of the community and the genre. And so we had the theory, and we had the idea of how to make it, and literally, this was the first time, and this probably doesn’t happen most of the time with art in general, because, you know, our art leads the way. You kind of just are blessed to be a part of it, and however it wants to pivot, you pivot with it, but this was the first time for us where like, this is the idea we have, and we got to the other end of it and we’re like “holy shit, we’re still going down the same road, this idea is working perfectly.”
Yeah. And it kind of went exactly to plan so it was amazing, and we just had so much fun doing it too. Like, all these kind of artists that are kind of a lot younger than us, hearing like what they did with our music and like, like Scott from Stick Figure, his whole thing was like, I want to just bring back the Kona town sound, man, and then kind of like put a little bit of my signature producing onto it. And that’s where you got
Warning and Candy from.
Jen Strogatz: Nice. I was just listening to Candy and I really liked it. Yeah, the songs on the new album, they’re different from what I remember you guys doing, but they’re really, really great, you know. They’re different in their own amazing way. I love that.
Yesod Williams: Yeah. But it’s still like got a bit of our old school vibe to it you know?
Jen Strogatz: Oh, for sure.
Yesod Williams: And that’s what I gotta tell you like, it’s a struggle, as a band we’re always trying to like, keep… like, have that lightning strike from your early days. That’s why you always sure that band’s chasing that ghost of like, ‘Oh, your first album, your earlier stuff was so much better.’ And, for lack of a better term that is, of course, but like, we have been trying for a while to be like, ‘Hey, we want to take everything that we’ve learned in the past and bring it to the present, but make it better… but still exist with those elements that are so valuable, what made us what we are today. And we’ve been trying to do that for a couple albums, and hey. Everything happens for a reason. And that’s exactly the way it should. And it didn’t really happen until this album, and it is perfect in my opinion.
Jen Strogatz: Couldn’t agree more, everything does happen for a reason. So that’s really cool. And yeah, I like that you definitely retain your sound which is cool, but you do definitely hear the difference the years can make!
Yesod Williams: Thank you, yeah, appreciate that.
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, it’s great. So, who would you say are your biggest musical influences for the Kona Dub-Rock sound, like who inspires that do you think?
Jen Strogatz: Oh really?
Yesod Williams: Yeah. I mean, take like Stone Love, I mean shit, take even something like Candy or like… We love the real dubby shit. But we love getting the blood pumping and the punk rock spirit and what that’s all about. So I mean, that’s what the Kona Dub-Rock sound is all about, it’s just the groove and the melody of reggae and dub music with the absolute blood boil of Punk Rock and the Hard Rock attitude. So like, we can pull off that kind of shit [talking about playing at Aftershock Music Festival,] but then we can also play the Bob Marley Fest like you were talking about.
Jen Strogatz: Right, totally. That’s awesome. I mean, you guys are super diverse, which is great. And I guess now that I think about it, I can definitely see the Punk Rock influence in your music and just like, your whole vibe and everything. I never really thought about it. But that’s so interesting.
Yesod Williams: Yea and definitely maybe in our older music a little bit. But definitely if you come see us live, I mean…
Jen Strogatz: Well I’m coming! You’re coming to Philly, so…
Yesod Williams: Fuckin A, the TLA! Yea, we’re just gonna put on a straight up Rock N’ Roll show. I mean, there’s gonna be some heavy elements of Reggae and some really deep, nasty grooves, but at the same time the blood’s gonna be boiling and we’re just gonna be like… it’s just that we’re so grateful and so excited to get up there on stage every day because we’re like, “I can’t believe we get to do this, dude.” And fuck man, it’s just pedal to the metal and we get up there and do everything short of knocking ourselves unconscious to entertain everyone. Haha.
Jen Strogatz: Haha, that’s awesome. You’re getting me really pumped up actually thinking about the show. Yeah, I’m excited, I’m really excited to see you guys live and also, I’m psyched to do some band photos with you guys before soundcheck.
Yesod Williams: Yep, yep! Right around like soundcheck time, for sure, that’ll be right around the VIP time.
Jen Strogatz: Oh yeah! That reminds me. I saw that you guys are doing a VIP upgrade that people can get up on stage with you for one song and I thought that was pretty cool.
Yesod Williams: We got the idea from, this is gonna be way fucking out of left field too, but we got the idea from The Flaming Lips. We played with The Flaming Lips like five years ago.
Yeah, it was in Florida and we saw them, they go and they get people from the crowd, I guess it’s a known thing for their shows, and they dress them up in costumes and they let them fucking run around on stage during part of the show. And we were like, “Dude that was the raddest shit ever, getting the fans involved for part of the show!” So we’ve been sitting out the VIP thing for a couple tours too, because it’s like it’s so awesome that fans get to meet their favorite bands and stuff like that but you know, we like to not do it every tour and whatnot. Just because we like to just go out there and meet fans organically and just say what’s up so like, for the last couple of tours we have just been doing that where we’ve been able to come out to the merch booth and hang out for a while. But this is our first headlining tour in a few years so obviously we had to do the VIP thing. And then we instantly thought… flashback to The Flaming Lips and we’re like “Oh shit, we should do like a smaller controlled version of that.”
Jen Strogatz: You should dress them up too!
Yesod Williams: Yeah, well, we’re making skull-conut masks for them. Cause you know, the skull-conut’s are those ghost figures that are on the cover of Local Motion, you know?
Jen Strogatz: Oh, okay, yeah, I’m looking at it right now on my TV.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, so we’re making masks that look like that. But the fans are going to get to put on and be part of the show, and of course take home and keep ’em forever. But yeah. So it’s gonna be super awesome and the history about the skull-conuts is, if you look on the album that Ashes came from, In With The Old, on the cover, the palm trees on there have the skull-conuts hanging from them, as coconuts. Because they’re palm trees, so that’s where our artist first did that. Yeah, it was the first one with all the skull-conuts and now they became our like, iconic figure that we’re super proud of because, speaking of Pennsylvania, my all time favorite band Ween and they have a figure that you might know of, that’s their like guy. He’s got the pointy hair and he’s got the big smile. Yeah. So the skull-conuts are our version of Boognish. In our imaginary world, Boognish and skull-conuts hang out together a lot and Boognish is skull-conuts like, older uncle.
Jen Strogatz: I also just noticed the merch on your site and I’m really into it. What’s it say? Fucking aloha or something?
Yesod Williams: Aloha fuckers!
Jen Strogatz: Haha, aloha fuckers! Yeah, I hope you have all of those at your show because I’m gonna need about like five of them.
Yesod Williams: Hahaha, yeah, that’s right, see we we did that shirt like see they’ve gotten a lot better and like the designs have gotten a lot better. But like six or seven years ago, we first came up with that and we put just the words on a shirt, “Aloha, fuckers,” I’m like, of course they like just fucking flew off the shelf. So we’ve done like, in the last five years, we’ve probably done five different versions of it. Obviously, you’re seeing the latest version, but Yeah, aloha, fuckers. It’s so good.
Yesod Williams: Absolutely. They’re from like the Orlando area and they’re also on our record label because we have an independent record label that we’ve developed younger artists and Kash’d Out, we’ve put out two of their records, we put out their second record on the label in July, I think it was.
Jen Strogatz: Nice. When did you guys start the label by the way?
Yesod Williams: Like, technically… Well the real long story is that technically, my father started it in 1983. He had a hair metal band, it was called The Law. So they released their album, self released it in 1983 on Law Records, the band broke up, obviously raised me, this and that and life went on. And then in 2003, after we’d been a band for about five years, some of our favorite punk rock bands, of course NOFX, Pennywise, we knew that they had independent labels. So right around 2003 we really re-released our first album, which is called Give’n It, the one before Kona Town, we released it on Law Records so that was technically 2003 was when Law Records started.
Jen Strogatz: That’s the album I saw that you recorded at 311′s analogue recording studio?
Yesod Williams: No, no, that’s ‘In With The Old.‘ This is the one that you might have read we recorded in like a coffee shack back in Kona
pretty much. So we recorded it back in ’98 before we even moved to California. So we released it in 2003. And that’s when Law Records, our record label was established. And then we just kind of had it sitting there. And over the last, maybe six years, we’ve really been very active with it. We built up a roster of about 10 to 12 artists besides ourselves.
Jen Strogatz: And I love that you know, the connection there with your dad. That’s really cool. So, how old were you all when you moved to California from Hawaii?
Yesod Williams: I think me and Brett were 19 about to turn 20 and then Kaleo was I think, like, just turned 21.
Jen Strogatz: Wow. Okay. So you spent a good chunk of your life growing up in Hawaii pretty much.
Yesod Williams: Oh, oh yeah. Yeah, we graduated high school in ’96. I mean, Brett graduated in ’97, which was the year we formed the band and then two years later, we moved to the mainland to follow the crazy dream.
Jen Strogatz: 1997. Okay, so I think you’re about 10 years older than me. How old are you? I won’t put this in the interview.
Yesod Williams: No, it’s all good! Haha, I just turned 40.
Jen Strogatz: Okay, you’re exactly 10 years older than me. I only know that because I was definitely in kindergarten in ’97. I was born in ’89.
Yesod Williams: Nice! Yeah, my wife was born in ’89.
Jen Strogatz: What’s her birthday?
Yesod Williams: December 15th.
Jen Strogatz: DECEMBER 18th, 1989, that’s me!
Yesod Williams: No way! Hahaha.
Jen Strogatz: For some reason I swear I just had the inclination to ask you what her birthday was because I just had this feeling. That’s so weird! So, she’s a Sagittarius.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, she’s a 150% Sagittarius.
Jen Strogatz: She’s like me then, I’m pretty much the ultimate Sagittarius, it’s kind of crazy actually. That’s so funny.
Yesod Williams: Are you like an empath too?
Jen Strogatz: Big, big, big, big time. Yeah.
Yesod Williams: So is she. Yea you guys are super in tune with uh with energy and everything. Which has been crazy out here because obviously for the news about Kobe Bryant.
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, I’ve been very emotional about that. Yeah, that’s been really affecting me honestly, like on a very deep level, and with his daughter.
Yesod Williams: Totally like we’re in LA so it’s like, you could understand the whole energy of the city, yeah.
Jen Strogatz: It’s just so shocking.
Yesod Williams: Well, I mean, it’s like… like Elvis died.
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, exactly. Right, right.
Yesod Williams: I can’t remember the last time someone that was so prolific passed away. Yeah, but like you said it’s energy, the whole world’s mourning.
[ We rant a bit about the Illuminati, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, how sad we are for the other family that was in Kobe’s helicopter — I won’t go into all that here… ]
Yesod Williams: Yeah. What a time to be alive.
Jen Strogatz: Man. So you guys started a wine company and then besides that, I heard that you also have your own strain of weed called “Hawaiian Pepper” right? How do you get your own strain of weed? How does that even happen?
Yesod Williams: So, that was a one-off, so the wine is super awesome, it’s all from Paso Robles, up in Central California. Like, I don’t mean to toot our own horn, you hear of a band making wine and you’re like ‘Right on, it should be okay,’ but we’ve won like awards at the San Francisco Chronicle, we’ve won a gold medal and like, two silvers, so it’s like really quality shit that we make. We all were waiters before we started the band and when we started the band, so we have a huge appreciation for you know, the culinary world in general.
But, then the weed thing was, some manufacturers slash growers up in the Bay Area had this strain that just like totally reminded us of the shit we grew up with so we just did like a limited amount of it. And so that obviously went real quick but it caused a huge buzz and we got some good press for it and everything. So, I’m glad you asked that because we’re actually ramping up a full cannabis line that’s gonna have like pre-rolls, flower and the whole deal, and that’s coming within the next year or so.
Jen Strogatz: Really? Awesome.
Yesod Williams: We want something like that people can always get because we loved having the Hawaiian Pepper little limited batches, it was really cool for the people that got it. But fuck, man, like in the real world, no one really got it because it was so limited to not just California, but like Northern California, so it’s gonna be real cool to have a brand out there that we want to basically do what George Clooney did with tequila, but with weed.
Jen Strogatz: That’s awesome! You so could too!
Yesod Williams: Well, just like commenting on the name, like like we’re not going to call it like ‘Pepper‘ or something, we want to make it a brand of its own. Yeah, that’s why I mentioned that, I’m not comparing us to George Clooney or anything like that, I just am making the comparison because he made this really high quality product and gave it a life of its own, not off of him being George Clooney.
Jen Strogatz: Right, didn’t call it George Clooney’s Tequila. Totally get what you’re saying.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, totally! Yeah, gave it a life of its own by calling it Casamigos instead of being like, ‘hey, go buy…’
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, exactly. Like, “go buy George Clooney alcohol!”
Yesod Williams: Yea exactly, and Conor McGregor did the same shit with his whiskey that just took over in sales, like just trumped, excuse me. Not trumped. Just overtook Jameson in Irish whiskey.
Jen Strogatz: Haha! I didn’t even know that. What’s it called? I didn’t even know he did that. I mean, that’s a good thing. Good for him you know?
Yesod Williams: No, that’s a really good thing! totally. And so anyway that’s kind of like our overall goal. And also, we come from a place where we think that marijuana and everything that’s in it and have been everything has such beneficial qualities for this world and this planet and we’re all about promoting that. And so I don’t know, I guess we started with music and now we just want to promote things that do nothing but good in this world, you know.
Jen Strogatz: I love it! No, all about the positivity and I love that. That’s awesome. That’s really really fucking great. Well that’s exciting. I mean, you know I mean, obviously, the world’s changing so much with weed, but yea, in Philly, you know, it’s decriminalized and everything now. Well, no it’s like, medical marijuana is legal. I mean, we have dispensaries in Philly now which is just wild. Yeah, you can smoke weed on the streets here. It’s not a big deal. No one cares. So, just FYI.
Yesod Williams: Alright, I love it. Thanks for that. Haha.
Sweeter Than Mary Jane...
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, you’re welcome. So like, between the three of you, what do you think is the most weed you could smokein one day? Or that you’ve ever smoked in one day between the three of you.
Yesod Williams: So, what I’m gonna say about that first is, I don’t like wasting drugs. Not that weed is a drug. But let me rephrase that. I don’t like wasting medicinal herbs. But in that respect.
Jen Strogatz: Wait, so why would it be a waste?
Yesod Williams: Cause you can only get so high.
Jen Strogatz: True. You gotta hit a wall at some point.
Yesod William: Well, this saying comes from, Miguel from Sublime, told me an old story he heard about Keith Richards from
The Rolling Stones.
Jen Strogatz: Oh yeah, I think I’ve heard of Keith Richards before. Yeah. Yeah, sounds familiar.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, the guitar player from the Rolling Stones. Just a little bit of a celebrity. Just a little bit.
No, but his whole theory was like ‘no don’t waste drugs.’ And that’s like, I think why he’s maintained so long. I read his book too. It’s called “Life,” and it seemed like he was very strategic about his drug taking as far as like, he seems like the most whacked out lunatic ever, but it seemed like he just did what he needed to do to like stay up in the studio, to maybe get inspired at the studio, but never
got completely whacked out.
Jen Strogatz: That’s probably how he’s still alive!
Yesod Williams: Yeah, that’s what Miguel told me, he read some interview with him or something and was like, ‘yea, you can only get so high man, enough.’ Like, you know what wasting weed is? He made a good point. He’s like, which I only smoke dabs these days, they don’t affect your lungs as much but he’s like, honestly, taking dabs, that’s like wasting weed because you can only get so high. If you want to get higher, you quit smoking for a day and then smoke and then you get high. You get what I’m saying though, right?
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, true, okay yeah.
Yesod Williams: So on that note though, cause I’m still gonna go there, cause of course, I/we have… If we’re just rolling just straight big joints and maybe have a few of the boys around at the beach, we probably go through like a solid, probably a half ounce I think.
Jen Strogatz: Okay, well that’s a lot less than I thought you were going to say.
Yesod Williams: In a day. You gotta think though, that’s like, a half ounce is probably like a solid like 20-25 like really big, big nugs.
Jen Strogatz: I thought you’re gonna say way more. I don’t know why. Yeah.
Yesod Williams: Yea, no cause I’m being completely honest. I’m not trying to like inflate it too much. I think that’s an honest thing and I even include like maybe being at the beach and a few of the boys rolling up and taking a couple hits off us.
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, no for sure. Well I like the whole ‘don’t waste drugs’ thing, that was a pretty cool story. And frickin Sublime? That’s cool.
Yesod Williams: We gotta credit that to Miguel from Sublime. I think he literally just told me that like like a month ago I was hanging out with him and I was like ‘Oh my God, that just blew my fucking mind. Then I continue it the next couple days, I still haven’t quit smoking for it you know which I probably should…
Jen Strogatz: Here’s the thing. I was a big pothead my entire life and I have not smoked pot in over 2 years now. Not even by choice at this point, but literally because I don’t want to get too high and I know if I smoke I’ll get too high. I’m just a better version of me when I have some pot in my system.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, totally.
Jen Strogatz: Haha yeah that’s where I’m at.
Yesod William: I like it. I like it.
Jen Strogatz: So you’ve been to Philly before. What is the best thing about Philly in your opinon? What do you like best about Philly.
Yesod Williams: Um, best thing I like about Philly. I mean, definitely the passion. Like you see it. We’ve got a couple of
really good friends that are like some of the gnarliest Eagles fans you’ll ever encounter. And, the passion you know, I mean, it’s like just kind of, I don’t know, like, everyone’s so passionate and just wants to, everyone’s just like ‘let’s do this you guys. Let’s get it on.’ And it’s just that passion and that hunger for life. I think it’s one of my favorite things about Philly.
Jen Strogatz That’s us to a tee. We are some of the most passionate fans, I think in the country, honestly.
Yesod Williams: Yeah! You know what, that’s a perfect way of putting it, Philly, like, everyone so just meets us halfway, because like, that passion is what I was talking about earlier when we get on stage and we’re just like, “AHHH, I just want to just, I just want to fucking explode right now cause I’m so excited!”
And it’s like, Philly just fucking meets us halfway where we don’t even gotta fucking get to the point where we’re gonna explode. It’s like, Philly‘s like right there.
Jen Strogatz: Yeah, we got you!
Yesod Williams: Then we’re like, Oh, maybe we gotta raise our game up a little bit! Yeah, Philly makes us raise the bar and step it up in the best way ever.
Hey, how do you guys like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia?
Jen Strogatz: It’s hilarious!
Yesod Williams: Ok good. Yeah, good. I love, I love it. It’s a hilarious representation.
Story Time With Yesod
Jen Strogatz: Okay so what’s your craziest hidden talent? Do you have any? Or anything unexpected you can tell me.
Yesod Williams: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Jen Strogatz: Yeah?
Yesod Williams: I’m sure. Well fuck, I’m sure I do. There’s gotta be something. I just was thinking like, maybe there’s something that I
can do that maybe I don’t think is that weird, but maybe it is that weird…
Jen Strogatz: Haha. Are you double jointed?
Yesod Williams: Yeah, yeah. My left shoulders double jointed.
Jen Strogatz: It comes out of the socket?
Yesod Williams: No, not that bad. I can just kind of like move it. You know what I mean? Move it like, like pop it out. itself.
Let’s see. Does it gotta be some kind of weird talent?
Jen Strogatz Whatever you want, no rules. Or like, a weird story.
Yesod Williams Okay. Do you ever watch the Seth Meyers show? You know how they have guest sit in drummers every week? So I got invited to do that in September. Because the drums I play, Tama, they supply the drums for that show. But so anyway, I finally got an invite which you gotta understand, for a drummer, I had to like sleep on it, wake up the next day and call him back, like ‘is this real, did that actually happen?’ Anyways, so long story short, I got…which, I always like to continuously blow my mind, so I’m not gonna say it’s the biggest opportunity I’ll ever get, but definitely one of the biggest opportunities, and I also surf every day of my life. It’s like beyond a hobby it’s a lifestyle. It’s like you look out at the waves, then you decide if you’re gonna go surf if the waves look good or not, and then whether you surf or not, then you go on with your day. The first line of defense though, is ‘are you gonna surf?’ And if you’re going to, it’s always gonna be better day.
Anyway. I was supposed to fly out with my wife on September 15th, to fly out and play on the show the 16th through the 20th. So, Friday the 13th. September. I go out like I go to surf every day. I go to Venice, and the waves aren’t that big, it’s not too crazy or anything and like, my last wave after being out for two and a half hours, didn’t even have a good session. I fall weird. Like, something weird happens, like I come up after the wave had already passed and my board must have done something weird with the leash and it snapped back and my fin nailed me in the back of my heel and cut my Achilles tendon.
Jen Strogatz: Your right foot?
Yesod Williams: No, it was it was my left foot. It was my hi-hat foot, which obviously, if it would have been my right, I
would’ve had to cancel. So, two days before the thing, man, me and my lady are in the fucking emergency room. And they’re telling me like ‘hey, you gotta sit here,’ basically the wound was cleaned but they had to leave it open because they’re like ‘we gotta wait to hear back from the orthopedic surgeon because you might have to rush you into surgery right now.’ And I’m like “fuck!” So that four hours of like, mental anguish is like just torture.
It was the worst pain of the whole fucking ordeal. So finally the we hear outside of the curtain or whatever the doctor talking to the orthopedic surgeon like ‘no, no, yeah, no, no, it’s still connected’ cause I guess it was hanging on by like a string, it went in and cut 80% through but it was still together. So we hear the guy like, ‘No, no, okay cool we’re gonna stitch him up.’ And we’re like, “Yes, thank God!” At that point I figured out like it’s my hi hat foot, it’s not my kick drum foot, I’m pretty sure I can technically play as long as we get out of here, as long as they discharge us, we’re good. So they did the whole ‘Okay, you’re good to go, we’re gonna stitch you up but only put a few stitches in so you gotta come back on Monday.’ This was Friday. So, I’m like, straight up like, I’m just gonna be straight with you, doctor, like we’re flying straight to New York because I got it. I got basically a something I can’t cancel on. So, they did the whole like, ‘Okay, we gotta go to the doctor in New York on Monday.’ And then I proceeded to make a appointment for the following Monday, back in Southern California for the doctor and went out, of course, fucking stressed out my buddy that’s the producer of the show. But I ended up pulling it off, played the whole show, no one knew anything. It almost made that, in a weird, weird ass way, which I like to say everything happens for a reason, in a weird way it made it even more memorable. Went out there with one and a quarter achilles. And I was like, through my frustration, I was like yelling during it, telling my wife like, ‘Fuck, maybe this will make it even better.’ In some weird fucking like alternate universe, I don’t even know. And it’s cool because after it was all said and done, I have a few friends that are professional athletes and my buddy, Joe Musgrove, he pitches for the pirates. He was so pumped. He’s like, ‘dude, champions play through injuries, man.’ That made me feel so good. I was like, FUCK YEAH!
Jen Strogatz: That’s fucking crazy!
Thank you for sharing, that was a good one! So I’m excited to see you guys on February 15th at the TLA. Yeah, I’m even more excited now. It sounds like you guys are awesome live! Looking forward to taking some band photos too. Oh, maybe you can bring your skull-conuts!
Yesod Williams: Yeah, we’ll have that fucking mask on hand!
Jen Strogatz: Well you should wear them!
Yesod Williams: Yeah. Oh yeah, we’ll take some
pictures with them. And we’ll take a picture of you with one too.
Jen Strogatz: Awesome, that sounds like fun, can’t wait