By Pat Gunther
Contrary to what their name indicates, New Orleans punk rock outfit Pears makes music that’s anything but sweet. The fast-paced and sonically abrasive foursome just dropped their debut on Bandcamp, titled Go To Prison, this past June. Frantic drum fills that sound like a car crash, breakneck speed guitar riffs and vocals that scream bloody murder are signature to the young groups sound that makes me want to punch a little kid in the face for absolutely no reason. So, naturally I gave them a call. Check out the exclusive Q&A in which they touch on their favorite fruits, actually going to prison and what makes their music so decidedly un-NOLA.
DIG: Why’d you pick the name Pears?
Zach Quinn (vocals): Last summer I ate way too many mushrooms, and, uh, somehow at the end of all that, Pears kinda became a synonym for problems or bullshit. I was suspended within the instant of my own death on this trip, and at the end of it, I didn’t die, and that shit was PEARS.
DIG: That’s, uh, pretty interesting. Moving on to something more serious, how has NOLA influenced your decidedly very un-NOLA music?
ZQ: We played in a bunch of bands in NOLA, and we kinda don’t like the typical NOLA music so we decided that in each of our previous respective bands, we tried to do stuff that we gravitated towards. We were trying to make something that we thought lacked in NOLA. As far as NOLA goes, you’re hard pressed to find stuff like that around here. We just don’t identify with it kinda.
DIG: What’s your favorite part about LA? What keeps you around?
Brian Pretus (guitar/vocals): I guess uh, I’m too poor to move.
Tim Harman (drums): I basically moved down from Texas to eat sandwiches at Parkway. I like the surf and turf. It’s shrimp and roast beef. You should check it out.
DIG: Will do, it sounds like a solid sandwich. If you could gain one celebrity fan, who would it be and why?
ZQ: Oh man. I guess, honestly, maybe Louis CK or Robin Williams. I mean Louis cause I think that, I don’t know, his show and what he’s doing now is too high art for TV, and it’s doing really well. That show carries a lot moods and feelings.
Alex Talbot (bass): And Robin Williams is just awesome.
DIG: I like both of those answers. Louie is pretty killer. What’s your favorite fruit? Is it actually Pears?
BP: HELL NO! Pears are my least favorite fruit.
ZQ: Bananas. I actually have the word ‘pears’ tattooed on my elbow before we were even in the band, because they suck!
DIG: What’s your favorite song to play?
ZQ: My favorite song to play is probably “Breakfast,” cause it exhausts me the least live.
AT: Mine is “Terrible.”
TH: Mine’s “Framework.”
BP: Mine’s “Victim To Be,” cause it has like seven different kinds of punk rock in like two minutes.
DIG: Weirdest thing to happen at a Pears concert?
ZQ: We were in a band before, and this girl was in love with Brian. We played in Ocean Springs, Miss. and she came up to Brian and “broke up” with him when they weren’t even like dating. It was weird, so then she says she’s engaged to the sound guy and we we’re like, well, good for her then. So after all that, then she’s like, “Do you wanna meet my grandma?” and she brings Brian outside to a pickup truck in the parking lot, and there’s a tarp over the bed of the truck, and under the tarp is a casket. So Brian opens the casket, and sure enough, grandma is in the casket.
DIG: Jesus. That’s honestly the first time I’ve ever heard anything like that. Moving forward, I guess, If you guys could retroactively make the soundtrack to any movie, what is it and why?
ZQ: It’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, simply because I think that if we were given the task of making the soundtrack to that record we’d do something that was so revolutionary in 1968 and just be ahead of our time.
BP: That or Space Jam.
AT: Home Alone or Kindergarten Cop.
DIG: Those are all…such amazing choices. In the vein of your record, what’s the first thing you’d do if you had to “Go To Prison?”
ZQ: Um, I don’t know. I would just go, I think. I would just go to prison. I would take prison, over a fine, like if someone said you have to pay $1,500 or go to prison; I’d go to prison.
DIG: Okay, but say you’ve gotta serve like a dime. Like 10 hard years in prison…
BP: Oh. Right. Then, I’d try to kill my way out of prison.
DIG: Smart choice. If you could collaborate with any musician today who is it and why?
ZQ: Damn, Hans Zimmer. I would love to write a record with four orchestras behind it. A punk rock record.
BP: I would say Danny Elfman, because I really like Oingo Boingo, and Danny Elfman is the man and writes cool stuff. I mean he did all of Tim Burton’s stuff!
AT: Bjork. I think she’s super creative and has done a lot of different stuff in the span of her career. I think we could do a really, really interesting stuff.
TH: These 3 guys. (Awwww’s ensue.)
DIG: That’s nice of you. If you could only listen to one song ever, like for the rest of your lives, what would it be?
BP: “The Decline” by NoFX.
ZQ: I am torn between Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You,” and “Every Breath You Take.”
AT: “2nd Symphony in E Minor” by Rachmaninoff just cause it’s long and super awesome
TH: Certainly not anything by Rush. I choose, uh, “Gangsters” by The Specials cause then I could dance forever.
DIG: Are you guys going to play Baton Rouge any time soon??
ZQ: Uh, we don’t have any dates booked right now. We played BR twice, and we played with Alice Fish before they broke up, who were awesome. Why don’t you book us a show?
DIG: Sure, all right. I’ll see what I can do for you guys. What do you wish you could change about the
LA music scene?
ZQ: Make the bands less jerky.
AT: There’s a lot of division when it comes to underground music, I wish it was more solidified, and like more of a music scene.
BP: I think uh, I would love to see people do some more. I see a lot of friends not really give it 100% and get stuck in this wave of inactivity. I would love to see more bands kind of do more.
TH: I don’t know. I’d like more daring, touring bands to come here that are willing to invest in a shrinking market. I will say this, I’m new here but I’ve played in bands that play NOLA often, and I’ve always played good shows in LA, and I think it’s a little better than a lot of other places.
DIG: What do you guys draw influences from?
BP: Basically, just human interaction. It makes my music influences come out in a way that’s really strange, just like relationships and all that bullshit.
ZQ: For me, it’s this almost like cycle of thought that happens between me and film, I’ve always been drawn to I guess being stuck in oblivion, the prison of perception I guess. So, I’ll say movies that capture the despair and loneliness of perception.
AT: Where I draw inspiration from, obviously music, movies, friends, relationships, I’ve always gravitated towards music, and I kinda want to emulate the same feelings music’s given me throughout my life. I wish to keep that alive, cause it meant so much to me, and I hope that what I make can help other people out in that same way.
TH: Music is pretty much the only thing I’m good at, but I do kinda get inspired by seeing a bunch of other bands that are doing really cool things, and light the fire under my own ass. But I’ve always played music, so that.
DIG: Those are all really awesome answers, actually. So fellas, what’s on the agenda for Pears for the rest of the year and beyond? A follow up to “Go To Prison,” perhaps? A tour?
BP: All of those things are in the cards, for sure. We’re going to be touring a lot this year and next year.
AT: Yeah, we’re announcing dates real soon.
ZQ: And what’s exciting to say, for me anyway, following up “Go To Prison.” I want to do it because the album, to me, raised a lot of questions in my head, and I cant wait to further explore that territory. Also, Ryan Young from Off With Their Heads is re-releasing our album on Vinyl on September 30th. You can preorder that on www.anxiousandangry.com, if you can shamelessly plug that for us that’d be cool.