Are you passionate?
Local trio Groovie Ghoulies still pump out four-on- the-floor punk-pop that’s rated G—for good time
Oftentimes, bands do not stay together for very long. Bands that make it past the five-year mark—let alone sticking it out for more than a year—are the exception rather than the rule.
One local band that has been playing for far longer than that, yet still manages to retain a vibrant sense of fun and excitement with every single show and recording, is the Groovie Ghoulies. Their blend of exhilarating punk rock offered up in a smiling B-movie horror flick atmosphere has been going strong for nigh on a decade now.
The one constant in those 10 years and approximately 20 band members in Ghouliedom has been singer, songwriter and, much of the time, bassist Kepi. His spouse, longtime Ghoulie guitarist Roach, plays guitar, and new arrival Scampi plays the drums. Kepi says a song on their upcoming CD Go! Stories captures why the Ghoulies have been able to maintain their enthusiasm for what they do.
As Kepi puts it, “We have this new ballad called ‘Are You Passionate?’ And that’s what our music is all about—being passionate about what you do. We are, and our label is, and that’s all that really matters.”
The Ghoulies have kept that sense of ardor through six releases on Lookout Records. Now with a new label, Stardumb, they have one EP, Freaks on Parade, already out and the full-length due this month. For those who have not yet made a joyous acquaintance with Groovie Ghoulies music, Kepi—who’s also a talented painter who works in oils—can encapsulate his band’s Ramones-influenced punk sound.
“The description I use for my art show that pretty much fits our music also is, ‘It’s simple and colorful music for a dark and complicated world,’ ” he says. “To me, there’s plenty of angry music, so we provide something that makes people feel a little better. I don’t want to be a cheerleader, but I think there are enough angry people out there. Nowadays, I think you go to a rock show to have a good time and get away from the anger in the world.”
At a Ghoulies show, you can see a wide variety of people enjoying the music, from little kids to 40- and 50-somethings. Although some punk snobs may turn up their noses at the Ghoulies’ brand of punk, claiming it’s not aggressive enough, Kepi says that doesn’t bother him in the least.
“We don’t have fights [at shows], we don’t have [mosh] pits. I don’t worry about being ‘punk’ ” he says. “Parents can bring their kids and know it’s going to be a good time.”
“Even with Kepi’s potty mouth,” Roach says, laughing. “We make you smile instead of scowl.”
One reason Kepi and Roach are smiling these days is they believe they’ve found a gem in new drummer Scampi. She was formerly in local band X-Chromosome and not too long ago received word from Danny Secretion, an ex-Ghoulie himself, that the Ghoulies needed a new drummer.
“I was really scared at first and didn’t call them,” Scampi recalls with a smile. “I finally called them up and ended up in the band. It’s been awesome. This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The upcoming show at the Boardwalk will kick off a weeklong West Coast swing for the Ghoulies, then they’re off to Europe for a few weeks of touring. They’ll come back home and, after catching their breath, will head out again to tour Canada.
Even with all that work, at the end of the day it’s still fun.
“We try to always have a good attitude and always try to play a good show,” Kepi says.
“It’s still fun,” Roach adds. “Every show is still just as fun as it was five years ago!”
“I’ve actually never been happier on stage than right now,” Kepi says.
Still passionate after all these years.