New Orleans, LA
The story of PEARS is not exactly an incredibly long one: The hardcore punk band came together just over a year ago, in early 2014, after its members had kicked around the New Orleans punk scene for long enough before finally wising up and realizing they were meant for each other. However, it is a story that is remarkably fast-paced: The band’s first demo, …In Diapers, was released days after their first practice. The band’s 10-song debut album, the absolutely electrifying Go To Prison, was written over the course of 14 hours and recorded a mere five weeks after the band formed. Really, there’s no way PEARS should be as good as they are—something frontman Zach Quinn fully realizes. “The big secret is that me and a couple of the guys were in a band called the Lollies for a few years,” Quinn says. “That band broke up, we took some time away from each other and then just tried to do it right this time. I guess we really kind of lucked out. We didn’t make the same mistakes—the same mistakes being really too fuckin’ drunk to do anything.”
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Of course, coming out of the NOLA scene, it’s tough to be anything but debaucherous. “The city is so decadent, it’s a great place to be a piece of shit,” Quinn says. “There’s plenty of punk rock. Not a lot of it is very good, but everybody’s having fun.” It’s that anything-goes attitude that informs Go To Prison, an album that straddles the line between in-your-face hardcore and sugar-sweet traditional pop-punk that’s surprisingly lighthearted. It’s evident in their logo (some might call it an homage to Fear; “I haven’t heard from Lee Ving’s lawyers yet,” chuckles Quinn), all the musical easter eggs scattered throughout the record (including references to Descendents and Suicidal Tendencies), plus an absolutely ripping cover of the Ramones’ “Judy Is A Punk” that is one whole second shorter than the original (a feat we didn’t even think possible). But just because the album comes off as humorous at times doesn’t mean PEARS don’t take themselves seriously. “I definitely take what we do very seriously, but it doesn’t mean it ain’t funny,” Quinn explains. “Humor is an aspect of everything. People without a sense of humor are either dead or lying. There’s humor in everything if you know where to look.” Take, for example, the band name. “The name ‘PEARS’ came from this really terrible mushroom trip I had,” he admits. “I ate way too many mushrooms and things just got really bizarre. Pears and bananas became archetypes for everything that is good and pure and everything that is terrible and shitty—pears are the terrible and shitty things. After that bad trip, pears became slang between me and my friends for bullshit: ‘That shit’s pears.’ I suggested the band name, and everybody thought that was dumb, but I talked ‘em into it.” The band were lucky enough to befriend Off With Their Heads frontman Ryan Young, who loved the band so much he put out Go To Prison on vinyl on his own label, Anxious And Angry, last year. Since then, PEARS have been on the road nonstop, supporting the likes of the Dwarves, the Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket and Strung Out, all leading to the re-release of Go To Prison on Fat Wreck Chords on July 24th. That’s no excuse to stop working, though: While their first album might finally be hitting a record store near you this July, the band will be back in the studio recording its follow-up with none other than Fat Mike in the producer’s chair. (“I never thought anything like that would ever happen,” Quinn says of Mike’s interest in his band. “I remember buying The Decline when I was 12—it’s really weird that I have anydegree of separation from that.”) While 2015 might be the busiest year of PEARS’ short existence thus far, it’s clear 2016 has potential to be even bigger.
“Honestly, what we have done up to now, I hadn’t even dreamed of,” Quinn admits. “I’m not gonna stop climbing. I wanna see how insane this can get. We’ve always said the last thing we’ll do as a band is play North Korea. Then we’ll be done. That’s the ultimate goal—even if we sneak in and play to nobody. I don’t care. I can’t wait to see what I get to do.”