Local favorites Pioneers! O Pioneers! will be among more than 60 bands performing at DeLuna Fest on Pensacola Beach. / Photo courtesy Michael Smith/www.takecoverandshoot
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The quest to find the oft-sought, quintessential Pensacola sound has a new contender in the form of the band Pioneers! O Pioneers! The four-piece rock ’n’ roll band may be new to playing large music festivals like DeLuna Fest, but they cut their teeth in Pensacola and plan to represent in true hometown fashion. This fashion may or may not include cut-off jeans shorts, but it will definitely include dreamy lyrics and guitar and drum driven songs that you will be humming for days to come.
Lead singer and guitarist Michael Bishop, 23, and drummer Jason Leger, 29, sat down at Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant to talk shop, laugh and discuss DeLuna Fest over some beers.
Q: How would you describe your band to someone who has never been to a show?
Bishop: It’s just a rock ’n’ roll band, of sorts. I feel there are negative connotations associated with certain things. I would rather have people come into the show thinking it’s just a rock ’n’ roll band. Whatever splinters from there, they can make up their own mind. I know it sounds like a typical cliché.
Leger: (Making air quotes) I don’t like “labels.” [laughter from both]
Q: Is your band name based off of the Walt Whitman poem by the same name?
Leger: We were struggling as a band to come up with a name, and one day, as I was riding in the car, Michael texted it to me. It has strong connotations of progress and its hopeful sounding. And that’s kind of what we want for our band and our lives; we want to continuously be progressing, so we thought it was a good moniker.
Q: As an “Arrested Development” fan, I noticed that your last EP, “Former Faces,” was recorded at “Castle Never Nude.” What’s the back story on that?
Leger: That’s the name of our house! [laughter] At one point, before even Michael moved in, I had a pair of shorts that were honestly probably a little too short and I would wear them to the beach, wherever. We were doing a lot of house shows at the time and I needed a name for the place, so I called it Castle Never Nude.
Q: Would Pioneers! O Pioneers! ever consider playing a show in jean shorts?
Leger: I’ve done it. I’ve done it several times!
Bishop: So — jean shorts, hot dog shirts from Wal-Mart, cut-off sleeves. DeLuna Fest. What do you think? [laughter and head nods from Leger]
Q: Sounds like a great idea! Speaking of sounds, though, where can we find your music?
Bishop: We have our CDs at Revolver Records downtown. Eric, the owner, is a great dude. We try to make sure everyone knows about his place because I love his record store. Our two-song EP, “Former Faces” is on our Bandcamp page for free. [It’s] just something that we recorded in May to try and show progression through our new line up and just try to give away for free and hope people will spread it to their friends and burn it and whatever. Our first album is also on that page on the left hand side for people to listen to.
Q: Aside from the new EP, is Pioneers doing any special preparation for DeLuna Fest?
Bishop: We have been working and writing a couple of new songs and trying to make our set “flow” a little bit more, make it feel a little more continuous. We are trying to figure out how to manage the gap between songs and make it a little more seamless.
Leger: I have already bought 100 SPF sunscreen. When you squeeze it out, it’s just like wearing wool sleeves. [laughter]
Q: So at DeLuna Fest, are there any bands playing on the same day as Pioneers that you would just love to come crash your stage during your set?
Bishop: I am going with Ben Folds. I think Ben Folds Five should come over and hang out.
Leger: That’s tough for me, because I would absolutely love for Eddie Vedder, Dwight Yoakam or Robert Pollard to crash our stage and just, I don’t even know what they would do, just dance. [laughter] Just for my enjoyment. Please! If Eddie Vedder comes and dances in front of my drum set …
Q: Hey, you never know! Finally, is there anything that you definitely want people to know about your band or take away from your show at DeLuna Fest?
Bishop: We’re terrible.
Leger: Yeah, we’re really bad. [laughter] No, I guess ideally, we started the band under the idea of progression, so if anyone can take anything from our show, or from observing our lives, we would want them to realize that life is constantly moving and you have to keep up with it.
Bishop: [nodding] And not to get stuck in the past — we try to be somewhat hopeful.
The quest to find the oft-sought, quintessential Pensacola sound has a new contender in the form of the band Pioneers! O Pioneers! The four-piece rock 'n' roll band may be new to playing large
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