Pepper (song)

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"Pepper"
Single by Butthole Surfers
from the album Electriclarryland
Released May 18, 1996 (1996-05-18)
Format CD, 7"
Genre Psychedelic rock, experimental rock, alternative rock, trip hop
Length 4:57
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Butthole Surfers
Producer(s) Steve Thompson
Butthole Surfers singles chronology
"Good King Wencenslaus/The Lord Is a Monkey"
(1994)
"Pepper"
(1996)
"Jingle of a Dog's Collar"
(1996)
Music sample

"Pepper" is a song by American alternative rock band Butthole Surfers. It appeared on their 1996 album Electriclarryland, and reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 29 on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 Airplay chart.[1] It attained number 4 in Triple J's Hottest 100 of 1996.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Pepper" opens with the chorus guitar riff, slowed down to half speed.

The song shifts from spoken word verses to sung choruses.

The lyrics of the verses list ten characters and describes how some either die or escape a brush with death. Each incident, whether brought about by idiotic recklessness or meaningless bad luck, finds the victim romanced or invigorated by facing death.

The relationship between the lyrics and title is not made clear, nor is the exact connection between the different types of piqued awareness presented in the different sections.

The song also contains the bridge played in reverse. The reversed words are the first and last lines of the chorus: "I don't mind the sun sometimes; the images it shows; you never know just how you look through other people's eyes." The song is in the key of G major.

Music video[edit]

The video for Pepper, directed by Gavin Bowden, features 1960s style news clip-like footage of a group of people being arrested in a Texas hotel for kidnapping while newscasters and cameramen crowd around. The kidnapping victim, rescued by the police, is portrayed by Erik Estrada. Singer Gibby Haynes is portrayed as the ringleader, and is shown being interviewed by reporters as police gather evidence. The newsreel segment is filmed in 16mm black and white, and is broken up by 1960s-style color footage, showing the band performing on a show much like American Bandstand. This performance footage is interspersed with 1960s style enactments of cooking and variety shows. The police and Estrada are repeatedly shown eating corn from a can, which, according to the director, is "a reference to the way videos are made; how directors have to have this shot and that shot – how they're spoon-feeding images to the audience."[2]

Other media[edit]

The song was also featured in the video game Saints Row: The Third, under the fictional radio station "The Mix 107.77", as well as in the 2012 surfer-movie, Chasing Mavericks.

Formats and track listing[edit]

Compact Disc Single (US) / US Cassette Single

  1. "Pepper" (Edit) – 4:36
  2. "Pepper" (Album Version) – 4:56
  3. "Let's Talk About Cars" – 4:34

Remix Maxi Single (US)(Sometimes referred to as the "Jingle of a Dog's Collar Single")

  1. "Pepper (Comin' Down the Mountain Mix – Edit)" – 4:09
  2. "Pepper (Short Shot Mix)" – 2:56
  3. "Pepper (Hallucinations' Funky Salt-Lick Mix)" – 6:46
  4. "Jingle of a Dog's Collar" – 3:09

Compact Disc Single (Holland)

  1. "Pepper" – 4:56
  2. "Hybrid" – 6:39
  3. "Pepper" (Butcha' Bros. Remix) – 4:44
  4. "The Lord Is a Monkey" (Demo) – 4:44

7" Vinyl Single (UK)

  1. "Pepper" (Single Edit) – 4:36
  2. "Pepper" (Butcha' Bros. Remix) – 4:44

7" Vinyl Single (UK)

  1. "Pepper" – 4:57
  2. "Birds" – 3:10

Cover version[edit]

On September 2, 2010, Hesta Prynn and Shawn Crahan of Slipknot released a cover of "Pepper" that was released as a 7" vinyl single.[3] The B-side of the single is the unreleased track "Seven Sisters".

Parodies[edit]

The Christian parody band ApologetiX parodied "Pepper" into "People", a song about the disciples of Jesus Christ. The song is labeled on the CD as "People (A parody of "Pepper" by The Buttonhole Surfers)."

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwalla
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
July 6 – July 20, 1996
Succeeded by
"Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand" by Primitive Radio Gods