Interview with Pepper Keenan (Vocals, Guitar) (Corrosion Of Conformity)

In the summer of 2000, I was given a cassette (pre-hipster cool) with Corrosion of Conformity‘s Wiseblood on side 1 and America’s Volume Dealer on the other....



CF:       Remember that time when you were in the Beatles?

SPM:    Yes I do.

CF:       That was so cool!

– Excerpt from SNL’s Chris Farley Show – Interview with Sir Paul McCartney



In the summer of 2000, I was given a cassette (pre-hipster cool) with Corrosion of Conformity‘s Wiseblood on side 1 and America’s Volume Dealer on the other. That cassette lived and died in the red (“piece of shit”) Sun fire I drove into the ground.  It also reminded me that good songwriters are not extinct and that real rock and roll was alive and well living in a place called Raleigh.

Since then, I have not missed a live performance of Corrosion of Conformity in Toronto.  It will be exactly 354 days since the last time they hit my fine city as a trio.  This time though they are bringing Pepper Keenan – the Kevin Bacon of Metal.

Having followed Pepper from COC to Down and back again – upon observation – it seems unfair that so much cool be allowed for one person.   Which has led me to consider the thought that perhaps Pepper Kennan is not human He is a species from another planet where cool is taken in like air – and he breathes it out on all us earthlings.

Hence my area 51 behavior during this interview With that, so begins the FAngUrL episode of this MGlobalMind one of a kind interview.

Laugh, cry and hurl along with me while I humiliate myself talking to Pepe The King Prawn of All The Rotten.



(ring ring – ring ring)


PJK      Hello?

MGM: Hi is Pepper there?

PJK:     This is Pepper.

MGM: (Squeals – first sign of alien brain occupation beginning)  How are u today Pepper?

PJK:     I’m good! Who’s this?

MGM: It’s Marianne from Canada – the Bacon and Beer girl!

PJK:     The what?

(At this point let it be known that I am transcribing this interview and remember nothing – like alien abduction victims)

MGM: Exactly!  That’s my first question.  I’ve met you at a Down VIP meet and greet twice.  My question is:  How do you remember everybody? 

PJK:     I don’t remember anybody!

MGM: Ah Good Man (or other cooler species)!  So you treat everyone like they are your friend?

PJK:     Yeah man – hey buddy what’s up.  That kinda shit.

MGM: Yeah well they love you man!

(MGM goes on to blabber about where and when she has musically encountered MR. Kennan over the last year)

MGM: Ok so as you are aware – COC is the greatest band in the entire world.  How does it feel to be the newest member?

PJK:     The new guy?  Um I’ve done 5 records with these guys.

MGM: But technically you are still the newest member…

PJK:     Sheeeeiiiitttt~! (laughs)

MGM: Is it nice to be back in the fold?

PJK:     Yeah it has been long enough. We have been talking about it for a long time and now we are finally doing it and its working well and we are having fun and playing – getting ready to make an album.  It’s all good!

MGM: From the videos I have watched from the tour that have been posted on Youtube and places like that from this tour – there seems to be a great deal of amazing chemistry going on up there on the stage and the fans are really digging it.

PJK:     Yeah I haven’t seen any of it because I don’t do the computer shit (note: another sign of higher intelligence) but everyone keeps saying you look pretty good but I haven’t seen any of it.  But it feels good while we are doing it and all I know is that it’s the real thing so.

I can tell – I think we are playing better than back in the day.

MGM: So with all that chemistry is there a creative process happening as well?


PJK:     No no we are getting close to being at the songwriting again and starting to focus everything towards that next step of making a record.

MGM: So once the record is done will you do a tour? 

PJK:     More than likely yes. We just signed a deal with Nuclear Blast so we are gonna be all over the place.

MGM: Which is good because you will come back to Toronto?

PJK:     We are coming to Toronto in December – we are playing the Opera House or something like that.

MGM: Yep, it’s one of my favorite places to see a metal show!

MGM: So what is your favorite thing to do when you come to Toronto?

PJK:     Oh shit, I like to go crazy at speakeasy in the middle of the god damn night snooping around back alley bars and shit.

MGM:  (giggles) The last time I saw you – you were in Toronto with Down (May  2013 Danforth Music Hall).  After the show you came out to celebrate the drop of the new EP at the pub next door to the venue and I saw you on stage with a guitar player singing Cowboys from Hell.

PJK:    I was probably doing Karaoke.

MGM:  I bought you a beer and walked up to you and said “Coronas of Conformity “ and ran away.

PJK:     Wait a minute. You have glasses    (how does he know that?)  I remember – do you?

(although the answer is no – After the beer the rest is hazy hazy hazy and I woke up staring at a wall like it was a window)

MGM: Ok so I’m very excited about the show coming up on December 1, 2015 at the Opera House.  Over the last year or so you have had the opportunity to play with some other great acts like Mastodon and Clutch.

PJK:     Yeah Yeah they were good shows.  And now we are getting read to headline and we have had a lot of people helping us out so it’s been very nice.  A lot of support from different people – bands and industry people and everything.  So everybody is rooting for us.

MGM: And with good reason!

MGM: So right now you are on the revival tour for Deliverance?

PJK:     Yes revival tour for Deliverance!COC_1

MGM: So it’s gonna be the whole album or what?  I’ve been told you are working off three different set lists.

PJK:     We got a bunch of different set lists.  We’re just switching shit around. We learned like 24 songs or something.

MGM: And you will be playing all 24 of those songs in Toronto on the 1st right?

PJK:     Yeah right if my throat holds up!

MGM: Will you be wearing your Thrasher tank top this leg of the tour?

PJK:     I don’t know.  Maybe if it gets thrown into a bag.  Should I?  (PJK is asking me for fashion tips?  OUT OF THIS WORLD)

MGM: It could be pretty cold up here in December so…

PJK:     So I should bring my shawl?  I love snow and all that shit.

MGM: What do you guys like to do on the bus?

PJK:     Play guitar. There’s a lot of guitar playing going on…

MGM: Speaking of that – I saw you play Perfect Strangers (my fave Deep Purple album) during sound check in Buffalo and it was a nice surprise.  I’m not worthy!

PJK:     Yeah well that Blackmore guy has been stealing my riffs for years.  Joking!


MGM: What’s different about COC this time round?

PJK:     Nothing, nothing is different.  Except maybe we are older and wiser

MGM: Maybe a bit fatter?  Except for Mike Dean?

PJK:     I’m not fat!  I’m 184 lbs. woman!


FlashBack 1980’s  Credit: Toney Weatherman

MGM: So you are doing two Canadian dates this time around.  Can you see COC coming here and playing to a wider audience?

PJK:     I wish we were doing more shows in Canada.  I always enjoy playing in Canada.  I guess with this amount of time on this tour that’s all we could run.  Next time maybe we can have more dates.

MGM: Maybe my backyard?

PJK:     Laughs

MGM: Thanks for your time Pepper and see you in Toronto!

PJK:     Yep cya in Toronto!


So as you can read if you have made it this far – Do not miss the greatest band in the world Corrosion of Conformity on this tour. Next time you see them – Corrosion of Conformity will be in a whole new dimension…I’m a believer in this revival.



11/12/2015 The Loft – Atlanta, GA w/ YOB, Black Cobra
11/13/2015 Riverside Warehouse – Shreveport, LA w/ local support
11/14/2015 The Aztec Theater @ Housecore Horror Fest – San Antonio, TX
w/ Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band, Saviours, Mothership:
11/16/2015 Pub Rock – Scottsdale, AZ
11/17/2015 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
11/18/2015 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
11/20/2015 Venue Nightclub – Vancouver, BC
11/21/2015 Neumo’s – Seattle, WA
11/23/2015 The Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
11/24/2015 The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
11/25/2015 Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN
11/27/2015 Rtr 20 – Racine, WI
11/28/2015 The Odeon – Cleveland, OH
11/29/2015 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
12/01/2015 Opera House – Toronto, ON
12/02/2015 Machine Shop – Flint, MI
12/03/2015 Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA
12/04/2015 Gramercy Theater – New York, NY
12/05/2015 Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
12/07/2015 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
12/08/2015 Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
12/09/2015 Shaka’s Live – Virginia Beach, VA
12/10/2015 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC






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