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Jeffrey “Jeff” Alexander, also known as Kepi Ghoulie, is a multi-instrumentalist vocalist, singer/songwriter, and multifaceted artist. Alexander has been a member of Chixdiggit!, The Groovie Ghoulies, The Berry Pickers, The Haints and Little Elvis. He’s released music, throughout the years, as Kepi, Kepi & Friends, Kepi The Band, Kepi & The Accelerators and Kepi & The Copyrights, as well as music with Vic Ruggiero (The Slackers) and Lauren Napier as Lauren, Vic & Kepi, and Kevin Seconds from 7 Seconds.
Kepi most recently released his thirteenth solo studio album and first for Pirates Press Records, Full Moon Forever; billed here as Kepi & Friends, Full Moon Forever features the talents of drummer Kenneth “Ara” Babajian (The Slackers / Leftöver Crack) and bassist Chris “B-face” Bernard (The Queers / The Groovie Ghoulies) along with Kepi himself. It additionally showcases contributions from Ian Fowles AKA Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk (The Aquabats! / Gerard Way), Prima Donna‘s Aaron Minton and Kevin Preston (Green Day / Foxboro Hot Tubs / The Longshot) with comprehensive artwork and packaging created by artist Tom Neely.
Full Moon Forever has been affectionately described as a mixtape full of a collection of covers of “darker” deep cuts from 1970-80’s era Rock “N” Roll, Pop, Goth, and New Wave. It highlights darkened deep cuts from everyone from The Cure to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Kepi & Friends‘ Full Moon Forever, along with a special re-issue of The Groovie Ghoulies‘ 1996 album World Contact Day, is now available on Pirates Press Records. I was recently able to conduct an interview with Kepi Ghoulie himself.
1. What made you decide to choose this particular collection of “dark deep cuts” to cover for Full Moon Forever?
Kepi Ghoulie: “We wanted to do something not typical and we all are fans of these songs!!!! ?”
2. Who plays across Full Moon Forever and what was each member’s role within this latest iteration of Kepi & Friends?
Ghoulie: “[Kenneth “Ken”] Ara [Babajian] plays drums. He is in The Slackers and wanted to do projects outside of his wheelhouse… so, we brought him into “our” world, with [Chris] “B-face” [Barnard] on bass and Mass Giorgini producing; two of my most talented and good friends. I sang and played guitar.”
3. Who else was involved in its creation from start to finish?
Ghoulie: “Start: Ian Fowles (Eaglebones from The Aquabats,) literally, starts things off with his guest guitar tones and the record, literally, ends with Kevin Preston & Aaron Minton from Prima Donna adding keys, acoustic guitars, and harmony vocals! We are lucky to have these friends… and right in the middle, you have David Houston from Sacramento playing synth on “Since You’re Gone.” Good question! ?”
4. What would you say it is about this particular set of songs–encompassing everyone from Iggy Pop to Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)–that makes it your “personal desert island disc?”
Ghoulie: “The band hand-chose every song because it had meaning to us. We weren’t thinking, “what might please people?” I know [David Bowie’s] “Heroes” has been done a lot but young Kepi spent hours, if not days, on the floor just blasting that song to my brain. And Iggy’s Soldier was a staple in The Ghoulie Van; that song is clever, fun, and rockin’.”
5. How did you change, alter, or decide to deliver these covers differently than the original versions?
Ghoulie: “These covers are structurally similar to the originals, but they are “stripped down and revved up,” now that I look back. We chose to record without a click [track] so that they would have a little sass and personality. I am happy with them.”
6. Who designed the cover artwork for Full Moon Forever and how does it tie into your collection of super-spooky selected covers?
Ghoulie: “Tom Neely did all of the art and graphic design. I love him and he gets me! I usually doodle a concept or we brainstorm over the phone and he just nails it every time. I always want the cover art to match the feel of the music inside and I think we scored! I think we usually do pretty good! ???”
7. What can you tell us about your connection to and relationships with the records that house the original versions if the songs you selected for Full Moon Forever?
Ghoulie: “I guess the relationship with these songs is that they are ones we have been listening to and loving for 20-30 years and they are all super-well-written, in my opinion.”
8. Do you have any immediate plans to make any music videos to accompany Full Moon Forever or tour behind the record?
Ghoulie: “I love to make videos, but I am usually three years after the fact with them ???. US tour is being booked right now for May, so we might be a little more timely with that!”
9. Now, would you ever consider doing a similarly-minded collection of covers in the same vein as Full Moon Forever but consisting of choice cuts from The Misfits, Samhain, Danzig, and Glenn Danzig?
Ghoulie: “At first, I thought not, but now that you mention it, I absolutely would… but let’s wait a bit. This is a lot of cover songs for now! ?”
10. Aside from or in addition to Full Moon Forever, what can you tell us about Pirates Press Records’ latest vinyl LP re-issue of Groovie Ghoulies’ 1996 album, World Contact Day?
Ghoulie: “Pirates [Press Records] wanna help me re-issue my ENTIRE catalog!!! They mean it and I love it!! World Contact Day was our best-seller and one of their personal faves, so if you can make the people pressing your records happy, it is a win-win-win-win-win! And I think we are doing great and on our way! I am very grateful to them! “
11. I’m sure you get asked this quite a lot… but what is the current status of (or your involvement with) both CHIXDIGGIT! and Groovie Ghoulies?
Ghoulie: “I played bass in CHIXDIGGIT! for seven years. It was great, but they wanted a local/Canadian bass player, so that they could rehearse often. We are all friends and I love them. Same with The Ghoulies; we stopped playing in 2007. Everybody is happy where they are at and that is the best thing that you can wish for your friends: that they are happy.”
12. What’s planned next for Kepi & Friends, as well as any of your additional primary and/or side-bands?
Ghoulie: “This line-up of B-face & Atom [Bomb] is my #1 right now. We have done two tours and it is everything I have ever wanted: FRIENDS, FUN, and FOOD. The secret of life… in fact, that is probably the title of our next record! ? Acoustic shows and art round out my existence. I am very lucky. Thank you for this! ???”