We wrote about Philadelphia’s Pep Rally back in May, with their single, ‘Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)‘. Since then, the band, which is headed up by Tommy Joyner, have released another track, ‘South Street’, which tells of a road trip from Philly down to the West Coast, with various stops in between – and then back again. Clearly Philadelphia has a strong pull for Tommy, and so we asked him about his hometown, as well as finding out a bit more about the music of Pep Rally. Finally, he tells us the question he’s never been asked in an interview. The answer may surprise you!
Thanks for speaking to us! We enjoyed your single, ‘Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)’, and we’re also quite liking the new track, ‘South Street’.
You’re proudly from Philadelphia; would you say it runs in your blood? Does it have a very strong influence on your music?
When the spaceship touched down and the aliens were overjoyed at how beautiful humans are, they became so excited because do you know what’s out there? In space? It’s fucked up out there! There is awful nothingness and hostility everywhere and the Earth is full of humans and nature and it’s beautiful here. Philly is this beautiful place where music is still taught in schools. If you lifted the roof of every house in Philly you’d find a recording studio under 1/3rd of them. It’s very common to sit in a room with a musician you’ve just met and think, “that’s the best ________I’ve ever seen play.” That vibe creates every sound I make from the way that I sing to the way that I talk.
Apart from yourselves, are there any other Philadelphia artists we should be looking out for?
There’s this guy Kurt Vile that’s really good. I think Shamir has a good vibe. Orion Sun are space explorers.
South Street’ tells the story of a journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles – and then back again. What were the main differences you found between Philly and what made you return? I love LA, but maybe that’s due to my only having visited the west coast – sell Philadelphia to us.
In Philly we are equal opportunity lovers and haters. We don’t judge people by their colour, we don’t judge people by their religion, we judge people by the contents of their music collections. Your friends won’t look like you on the outside. They will look like you on the inside.
Who have been your major musical influences? And what about your influences in life in general?
Old-timers Mark Jurkiewicz and Don Benson were my first and most important musical influences. Through them I found acts like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, XTC and ABBA. My life revolves around the guitar, misunderstandings, and understandings, those are the most influential things for me.
If you could go back and do it all over again, what, if anything, would you do differently, and if so, why?
I’d have written the early records with Pance Pony (keys, cello)
What’s been your experience over the time of the Covid-19 pandemic? Has it been a time of inspiration or frustration?
Do you garden? I do, now. Well. I learned to love better. I learned how many people take their friendships for granted, including me. I learned how important love is to me. I learned powerful lies are and I learned how important truth is.
And finally, I ask this question of everyone I interview – what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?
Are you a folder or a wadder? Well since you asked, I fold the toilet paper😂.
Find out more about PEP RALLY online on their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also find Tommy Joyner on Instagram. ‘South Street’ is out now, and can be streamed on Spotify, and Apple Music. You can watch the video for ‘South Street’ below.