By: Mary Lynn Ritch
(Hed) Pe makes heavy rap/rock/reagge infused albums like with color and detail. Each song on Evolution sounds different from the next without losing their signature sound.
Evolution starts off with tapping on a tribal drum in “No Way Out.” The drum sounds incredibly peaceful but before you believe (Hed) Pe has gone all spa channel on XM radio, Jaxson starts shredding on guitar. Towards the end of the song, Jared clearly screams “We’ve come such a long way” and it’s hard to believe those peaceful seconds were part of the same song. (Hed) Pe is back with a brutal vengeance that although different from previous records doesn’t veer off very far from their signature sound.
A major theme in Evolution is that the band has embraced their change in direction and if you don’t like it—then too bad. “There ain’t nothing else to lose because I’ve played too many games,” Jared sings as the band channels Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page’s guitar in Stairway to Heaven is channeled in “2 Many Games.” The band is prepared for any backlash for this sentiment in “There’s no Tomorrow” which sounds black metal infused. “The revolution is on the way,” Jared screams from the gut, “When the walls come down then I’m gonna be right there on the front line. Waiting on the right side on the front line like there’s no tomorrow.”
Other highlights from Evolution include “Never Alone,” “Let it Burn” and “One More Body” that will for sure get a crowd moving and into the pit. It sounds like a uprising led by the band as “One more body is screamed” followed by group vocals chanting “round em up” accompanied by the double base. “Lie to Me” is also an impressive reggae song with a modern twist on the genre.
(Hed) PE is releasing Evolution July 22–the first album the band has released in four years and is currently on tour. Guitarist Jackson Benge had the chance to speak with me about the new tunes, how it’s easier to work with an independent label, touring and performing at the 15th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos.
Are you excited about this new album?
Yea, this album is a little different than our previous work but we are all really proud of the finished product. I am glad to finally get this out to the fans.
What are the band’s biggest influences?
Black Sabbath, Beastie Boys and bands like Slayer to name a few. But with this new album you’ll notice there are some reggae songs because Jared is influenced by Bob Marley and we wanted to try something new.
I listened to “Only in Amerika” and “Evolution” and you guys also sound like you’re influenced by ICP?
A lot of people tell us that and it’s funny because we started gaining a Juggalo fan base. They’ll show up at our shows with their clown makeup and it’s really cool. Also, we’ve played at the Gathering of the Juggalos in the past and are doing that again this tour.
What is playing at the Gathering at the Juggalos like?
It’s three or four days at this big festival in the middle of nowhere. You can actually feel that welcoming, family dynamic in the crowd.
So you’d say classifying the Juggalos as a gang was an unfair assumption?
I think it’s absolutely absurd and ridiculous. The Juggalos are just following a band they like and I think it’s pretty unfair to label someone or think they are dangerous just for being themselves and liking a band. In every situation there are bad people that make others look bad. So if we went into every situation with that mindset there would be many groups considered gangs. You don’t have to like their music, but you can respect them as people by not judging them.
What is touring like?
It’s definitely not for everyone but I enjoy it. The band is spread out all over the country and we rarely get a chance to all be in the same state. It will be fun to reunite with them.
It’s not for everyone? What do you mean by that?
Well, we all have families and it’s difficult to leave them and go away for a few months on a bus that goes across country seeing different people every night. It gets kind of exhausting but at the same time, I love it.
Lets switch gears a little bit when you joined the band in 2004 you were signed to Jive which was a major label and now you’ve gone the independent route with Pavement. I’m noticing that is a trend amongst artists these days. Are independent labels better and cater more towards bands in your opinion?
Major labels are great for advertising but they have so many artists on board they can’t work closely with them. We like working with Pavement because they really pay attention to detail which we didn’t get with Jive. I believe the independent labels we’ve worked with have really gone to bat for us and helped us get the most from the work we do.
(Hed) Pe Tour Dates
July 15 – Destin, FL @ Club LA
July 16 – Orlando @ Bombshell’s Tavern
July 17 – St Petersburg @ State Theater
July 18 – Ft Lauderdale @ Culture Room
July 19 – Jacksonville @ Aqua On The Rock
July 20 – Knoxville @ The Concourse
July 22 – Beckley, WV @ Muncheez
July 23 – Thornville, OH @ Gathering Of Juggalos