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The aforementioned influences come into play, as do the inspirations of P-Funk, Prince, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, James Brown, Cypress Hill and a list of others long enough to fill two more columns of type. That's a lot to juggle, and the daunting prospect of doing justice to this universe of beautiful noise kept Pepperment from entering the club scene for a couple of years. But last summer a truncated edition of the unit began popping up at area venues, and the Mercury appearance convinced the collective that a more expansive stage show can work.
"We never had so many people up there for the whole time," Stolle reveals. "Logistically, to bum-rush with fifteen or twenty people is something to consider."
"We couldn't have fit more unless we started pyramiding," Buchanan adds.
"We might do it, too," Wilson says. "And we might put mikes in the audience, or whatever. Just because something hasn't been done doesn't mean we can't do it. We'll do what we do naturally. We just want to make the stage a safe place to be."
"Yeah--and get everyone involved who wants to step up," Buchanan elaborates. "It's therapy--therapy to the world."
Buchanan is prone to declarations like this one; another of his favorites is "You get out of Pepperment what you put into it." To that end, the musicians have decided to make Pepperment the focus of their energies. Several have quit their day jobs in order to devote themselves entirely to their creative efforts. They hope to assemble the best of their recent tunes, record them more professionally (possibly at the home studio of the Apples, with whom they share rehearsal space) and put out their first commercially available disc. "Whether it will be commercially viable is another thing," Neal concedes. "But we have plenty of itch right now, and the jones to write new songs."
"There are so many different ways of attacking it," Wilson points out. "And we'll probably try all of them."
Keeping this entire carnival together will certainly be a challenge. But given luck and hard work, the Pepperment team has an opportunity to broaden the neo-hippie genre--to make music that embodies the freedom and fellowship of the style without falling prey to the cliches that leave much of it seeming flaccid and soulless. "You'll probably see the pink people up front at first," Wilson says, "but the rest of us are pushing in there, too. And together, we can really go somewhere.