'X Marks The Spot'
Infused with the kind of conviction most rock bands just can’t buy, and unafraid to take its fans from classic hip-hop culture to punk, to metal and back again, (hed)p.e. have returned with Back To Base X. One of the few bands that constantly reinvents themselves and their sound, (hed)p.e have once again managed to blend ‘70s punk and hip-hop into one infectious record.
Founded in 1994, (hed)p.e. (the p.e. stands for “planet earth") was the brainchild of front man Jared Gomestein (a.k.a. M.C.U.D.), who aspired to create a band that fused the region's long-standing punk rock heritage with G-funk-inflected hip-hop -- a sound he dubbed "G-punk." After a bidding war between labels erupted, (hed)pe released their now classic self-titled debut through Jive Records, then hit the road with Ozzfest and bands like Korn, Static-X, and System of a Down.
The band’s sophomore effort, Broke, followed in 2000 and unleashed the Top 30 Active Rock Single “Bartender,” while the band cemented their already explosive live show with tours alongside P.O.D, Godsmack and Slipknot. Returning in 2003, (hed)pe released Blackout and once again scored a big hit with the album’s title track. Finally in 2005, the group rediscovered their "G-punk" roots for the release of Only in Amerika.
In 2006 (hed)p.e have once again re-invented themselves for the release of Back To Base X. Recorded live as a band in the studio, the album provides an organic, fresh sound devoid of the computer tricks and over-production that currently plagues music.
Chatting recently with frontman Jared Gomestein, and noting that it had been stated that (hed)pe was founded in 1994 and that it was their goal to fuse the region's long-standing punk rock heritage with G-funk-inflected hip-hop - a sound he labeled "G-punk," I first wondered if this mission been accomplished yet? "Much like the war against terrorism, this Mission is one that will go on forever and ever and ever…amen."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your new CD ''Back 2 Base X,' how would you yourself describe your sound? "Eclectic…without the big words… we are a punk band that plays hip hop, soul, rock and roll and metal."
Your album title ''Back 2 Base X' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "The title is meant to communicate the simplicity of the album, and the return to my more philosophical-type lyrics. The title is also meant to give you a hint, that our sound is “retro-futuristic”, meaning, we have taken old soul, rock-a-billy, and punk, and infused them with a big shot of steroids."
After 2003's 'Blackout' you switched labels and underwent something of an overhaul prior to recording 2005's 'Only in Amerika.' What were some of these changes and have their been any further internal changes since then (aside from the label) and this new album? "I got rid of two metal guitar players, and replaced them with one punk-thrash kid! It totally helped my sound go in the direction I was looking for."
If there was one track on ''Back 2 Base X' that truly encapsulated (hed)pe at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "'SOPHIA.' I just love how it goes from ska, to punk, to rock-a-billy, to metal, and still has hip-hop laced throughout. The lyrics are nice, cuz, Sophia, is meant to be a metaphor for knowledge. It's not just some corny love song, but an ode to wisdom and the search for truth."
Also, noting your band name, where does it originate from in the first place and what else could it so easily have been? "Ha…the name comes from one of my early song titles “heavy head”, and Mawk my bass player was like “we should just be called “hed””…the rest is history. Kind of. After we got signed, we added the PE, cuz the legal department said there was another hed out there…the rest is history…."
Having changed record labels again this time to Suburban Noize Records, I'm wondering if changing labels harms the mental approach of a band each time it occurs? "Hmmm…interesting question. Changing labels, for us, has had the opposite effect. It has been so beautiful, each time in fact, we have changed labels. Each time has fueled my creativity in different ways. Believe me, in this so-called business, you’ve gotto search for silver linings, and try to bring light into the darkness. Its too easy to get down on yourself and your art."
Can we expect to hear any different sides of (hed) pe on this new CD, perhaps? "Oh yes. This is our finest work, and a departure from anything we have done previously. The sound is straight forward, and we have foregone all the computer tricks and massive overdubs."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "So many to choose from!!!!!! How about 'Let's Get Crazy' by Prince, sped up, like twice as fast, and sung like Max Cavalera…..SWEET!!!!!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Who wouldn’t like em???? I mean, these cute birds are wearing tuxedos for Christ’s sake!!!!!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of (hed)pe's new CD, just answer this easy question: (hed)pe was founded in 1994 by front man Jahred, a.k.a. Jerred Shaine, a.k.a. M.*.*.D. ... but what are the missing letters?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title '(HED)PE SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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