John Pegoraro of StonerRock.com conducted an interview with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY frontman Pepper Keenan in December. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
StonerRock.com: Was it both your house and the bar [in New Orleans] that got fucked up [in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath]?
Pepper: "The bar got looted bad. I got back in there and took care of that shit. There's no power, y'know. Imagine a city just blacked out. Done. Nighttime was fucking a whole different ballgame. Cruising around the city on a fucking bicycle with a fucking sawed off shotgun on your fucking back is a fucking trip, man. I can't explain it.'
StonerRock.com: What was your take on the handling of Katrina, from the state and federal level?
Pepper: "Well, in my opinion, anyone who expected the government to take care of you is a bigger fool than me. I know damn well, just from living in New Orleans, when you see a storm of that caliber, with that kind of barometric pressure, even if you're a fucking moron you know to get the fuck out of there. Anybody who didn't get the fuck out — I feel for some people, but people had options, man, lots of options to get out of there. A bus ticket to Baton Rouge is fucking $10. I got everyone I knew out. I got my handicapped grandfather, my Vietnam vet uncle, shell-shocked uncle, I got everyone out. But I left them in a hotel lobby in Baton Rouge and I snuck back in. But yeah, I never expected the government to anything right before, why would they start now? Idiots. They don't care. It's a shame; it saddens me to see that it actually happened. We always bitch about it and it always in other countries or whatever and here it is in your own backyard, it definitely hits you. It's weird."
StonerRock.com: How long do you think it'll take to get things right?
Pepper: "It'll never be like it was. That New Orleans as you know it is gone. It's so monumental. There's only 40,000 to 60,000 people in the city. There's half a million. So there's nobody there. It's bizarre. You can ride down streets and houses are gone. Just bulldozed, just nothing, just dust. It's a trip driving through neighborhoods, miles and miles. It looks like 50 atomic bombs went off. Literally."
StonerRock.com: And your house?
Pepper: "I'm alright. I live in a really old part of New Orleans. What's fucked up is most of the things that got fucked up in New Orleans were built before 1940 — mostly. The old footprint of New Orleans from the 1870s, they built on the highest ground. The water stopped about six blocks from my house. You drive, and all of a sudden you see a water line. The city looks flat and you assume it flats and you keep driving and all of a sudden it's five feet deep, six feet deep, seven, eight, nine, ten feet deep."
StonerRock.com: How's it been going on [the DISTURBED] tour?
Pepper: "It's fucking ridiculous. It's nothing… it's the dumbest thing we've ever done in our lives."
StonerRock.com: So you put "Albatross" back into the set — last time you played "Fuel" instead.
Pepper: "We're going to switch it around even more, but we just don't feel like it with the stupid crowd [at the DISTURBED shows]."
StonerRock.com: Those kids actually reacting well to your stuff?
Pepper: "I mean, it's over their head. The average DISTURBED fan is just a shopping mall… they're not music fanatics by any stretch of the musicians. I can't say that about everybody, but from what I've seen, they're just… Hot Topic kind of whatever. It's kind of a drag, because the standards of music get lowered by things like that. It ain't my place to say anything, but we consider ourselves to playing music of some degree. Off the cuff. We fall on our ass sometimes going on some of those jams and shit, but at least we're doing something. We're evolving somehow. If you ain't evolving, you ain't doing shit, in my opinion."
Read the entire interview at StonerRock.com.