The Burning Peppermints
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The Burning Peppermints

Birmingham, Alabama, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Birmingham, Alabama, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Garage Rock

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"The Burning Peppermints"

Gleefully aggressive and relentlessly groovy, The Burning Peppermints are a permanently-stoked garage rock outfit blazing a trail through our music scene. Their set is an onslaught of deep, dirty guitars and inescapable riffs, and they’re bringing it all to Secret Stages.

The Burning Peppermints formed in 2012, after a drummer left their kit at Wittig’s home. Not letting it go to waste, he soon began covering garage rock tunes with percussion pro Breely Flower (The Old Paints).

Early efforts displayed the influences of Led Zeppelin and Jack White’s various endeavors, but the group’s most recent songs pick up a West Coast vibe and the suggestion of John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees) and Ty Segall.

Over the course of numerous gigs, demos, and lineups, The Burning Peppermints have arrived at a riff-heavy approach to psychedelic surf, with a dose of punk and garage rock. “It’s a lot more than any single genre,” says Wittig. “It’s fun, loud music first, then ideas come together out of that.”

The group’s current lineup consists of Jake Wittig on guitar/vocals, Ahmad Farzad on baritone, Daniel Powers on keys/FX, while Walker Scott and Ryan Colebeck double-team the percussion.

The band’s name recalls the classic rock n’ roll color scheme sported by their influences. It inevitably evokes images of the White Stripes and their candy-colored motif, and the garage rock/blues they favored. Their sound has expanded since then, but the roots are still there, under the surface. “When we picked the name, we were more bluesy,” says Wittig. “We’ve kept the name as a reminder of how we started.”

When the Burning Peppermints take the stage, they want you to be excited as they are. Those are high standards. The music adamantly demands head-banging and foot-stomping, and the grooves are easy to fall into. They’ll stand on the drum kit. They’ll leap and bound. The guys are snappy dressers: matching ties, maybe a suit. The most fun you could have in business-casual. “The performance matters,” says Wittig. “It’s a party going on up on stage.”

From the moment the music starts, The Burning Peppermints careen through their set like a juggernaut. They’re a tightly-honed group, which allows them to play amazingly loose. They lean into the wind as the tempo gradually increases, like the whole thing could come apart.

Their aggressive guitars and shady themes come together like a frantic monster mash. “The older stuff had ghosts, campy horror,” says Wittig. “It feels like a grown up Charlie Brown Halloween.” Lyrics typically take a backseat to the music, which is fine. It’s fun to pick out references to creepy creatures like Grendel, or even a fantasy imagining of the Magic City, but the main attraction is the teeth-rattling groove.

“Scooby Doo” starts off with an eerie riff, pours on some bass, then the distant vocals seep in.
Heavy, even a tad menacing, the song’s groove piles on layers until crashing into the overdriven chorus. The guitar breaks are controlled chaos, rough around the edges and confidently slipshod. Au naturel and better for it.

Crowd favorites like “Ned Schneebly” put the band’s instrumentality right up front. It’s a manic jam with a few chanted lines thrown in. There’s a dynamic ebb and flow to the new tunes, as surf rock waves surge and recede, building tension in the lulls.

The Burning Peppermints have recently devoted some serious time to playing live around Birmingham. As the city proves a rekindled interest in rock music, they’ve found themselves playing to bigger crowds than ever before. Wittig recalls when that wasn’t the case, however. “Before the band, I played some open mics and wondered about rock’s place in the scene,” he says. “Then I saw bands like The Dirty Lungs and was really encouraged to see the scene grow.”

And there’s plenty of potential here. Venues will open their stages to rock musicians as long as Birmingham wants to hear them. “I’d love to see more support for the rock music we have in town now,” says Wittig. “Don’t take it for granted. If you want more, you’ve got to support what you already have.”

This Friday, The Burning Peppermints will perform as the first act of Secret Stages 2015. They will play on the Birmingham Mountain Radio Stage (2209 1st Ave N) at 7 p.m.

The Burning Peppermints have completed a new album called Dirty Rainbow. The album’s release will be announced at Secret Stages. - Magic City Bands


"Secret Stages Was Just Great"

On Friday night, I made a point to see The Burning Peppermints. I’d been listening to their recordings and had to see how that translated live. I wasn’t prepared.

The Burning Peppermints played in Easy Street, a narrow space next to Matthew’s M-Lounge on 1st Avenue. The audience was impressive for early in the evening, but I made my way to the front. There, I was met with a firing squad of volume. The band was playing wide open. Distorted guitars, a synth device, two drum kits. I counted- they had two drummers and they were amazingly in-sync. The tiny space scrambled a good bit of their sound at first, guitars bouncing off the walls and crashing into themselves.

Tones evened out quickly, though, and when lead singer Jake Wittig piped up, it was clear enough. I still had no hope of understanding lyrics, but we were having a blast in the alley-sized arena. It was the sound you could feel. Not in a romantic sense- they were really moving some air. Weaponized bass rattled my jaw and shook the ground.

It was fun, wild garage rock. They went nuts towards the end. The Peppermints broke out one of their crowd pleasers- the frantic “Ned Schneebly.” When the breakdown hit, the bottom fell out. Whirling dervishes made their way to the front to whip and dance. Crazy hair everywhere. The band sent streamers flying out over the audience, set off confetti poppers. I swear, at one point, somebody just started making out. Confetti falling all around. All spurred on by this unrelenting wave of sound. I was beside myself and neither of us could handle it. - Magic City Bands


"Sounds Of Secret Stages 2015 #3: The Burning Peppermints"

Time to pay some attention to some local Birmingham talent, I do believe. The Burning Peppermints, in their dapper matching ensembles, churn out some mighty fine, slightly shambolic, might-could-maybe-blow-out-your-speakers rock and roll, infused with some psych and some sass. - Fuzzy Logic


"Sloss Festival Sunday Recap: The Flaming Lips and The Struts bring the party to Birmingham"

Over on The Shed Stage, locals came out in droves to support Birmingham’s own The Burning Peppermints. After cultivating a huge following on the local club scene, the band got a major career boost last year when they toured supporting another Birmingham success story, St. Paul and the Broken Bones. After being introduced to the stage as “witches” and “aliens” by a pot-bellied and shorts wearing Super Troopers-style cop and a “scientist” with a mustache that kept falling off, the band blasted through their hour long set with energy to spare. Musically, they combine heavy doses of surf rock with punk, grunge, and a whole lot of garage, to create a sound that completely theirs. This is a band who you very likely will be hearing a lot more of in the near future. - AXS


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