Kepone sprang full grown from the Redneck underbelly of Richmond, Va., The sort of place that people make bad jokes about - “where shoes are a luxury and pregnancy a career option”. Richmond is deep in what the locals still see as “The South” and has been described as the Capital of Institutionalized Racism. Local banks still show their disregard of commonly accepted ideals by consolidating Martin Luther King Day with the memory of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson as the “Lee, Jackson, King Day”.

Kepone took their name from a pesticide that was manufactured by the Allied signal Corporation of Hopewell, Va. in the ‘70’s. The sad story goes that whilst Allied Signal were developing Kepone they discovered through testing that even trace amounts of the chemical could cause severe neurological damage if human beings came into contact with it. Despite this the now rejected pesticide was dumped into the local Appomattox River where it remains today covered by a layer of sediment preventing even the dredging of the river.

Kepone have been working out their frustrations on their instruments since late 1991. Tim Harriss (guitar/ vocals), Michael Bishop (Bass/ Vocals), and Seth Harris (drums) escaped the sickening Autumn heat to jam in a cool dark basement. At the time Michael’s main gig was as Beefcake The Mighty in GWAR. Tim was playing guitar for local Reggae outfit Burma Jam, he had also served time on the road as guitar player for Eek-A-Mouse. Seth was best known for his work in the seminal, and by then defunct Honor Role.

May of 1993 saw the band release their debut single (“Henry”) on the local Tenderizer label. Fortified with the good reviews and local air play the single was getting, the band headed for Baltimore in November of 1993 to record their debut album with Scott Wolfe at the wonderfully named Hound Sound Studios. To make this possible the band were finally forced to jack in their other concerns and day jobs, that apart from Michael’s, who had a job timing Burger King employees performing various burger-related tasks, were so tedious that they are not worth recounting.

Fresh out of the studio the band embarked on a US tour as support to new found fans, The Jesus Lizard. The kids went wild and the decision was unanimous - Kepone were fuckin’ stellar. While on the road the band were brought to the attention of Corey Rusk, the proprietor of Quarterstick/Touch and Go, by The Jesus Lizard and a home for their album was found. “Ugly Dance” was released in August of 1994. The album was well received in all quarters, be they metal or indie. The video for the title track was on the one hand banned by Canada’s Much Music channel for being “offensive to women, fat, and ugly people”, despite being directed by a woman and starring Michael the less than svelt like bass player. A panel of judges at the World Fest Houston, on the other hand, awarded it the Silver Medal for Best Rock Video.

Since the album’s release the band have spent most of their time on the road wowing crowds everywhere from the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia to The Garage in Highbury and Islington, London. During this time Michael lost his wallet in Chicago, their van, known as “Quiet Dignity”, acquired a dent on it’s steering wheel which bears a striking resemblance to the shape of Tim’s head, out went Seth and in came Ed Trask ex-of Washington DC’s Holy Rollers, and the whole band faced the somewhat horrific prospect of sudden death as their van rolled off a snow covered road in Canada.

All this has been encapsulated amongst the experiences that make up “Skin”. Recorded in their native Richmond at Montana Studios and mixed at Oz Studios in Baltimore during April of ‘95 Scott Wolfe, was once again, featured at the controls. Joining the sounds of breaking malt liquor bottles and Michael getting dowsed in water while holding a microphone is the renowned Kepone three piece sync. The classic power line up, as always, steering the band clear of excess.

Ed supplies “the locked-down precision rhythms” that would make the Kodo drummers jealous. Michael lays down his bass lines with such feeling that we would describe it as “funk” if all of you didn’t immediately start thinking of dross like Primus. Meanwhile, Tim plays his guitar as if he was brought up on a diet of pure adrenaline tempered by repeated listenings to the works of Hendrix, the Minutemen and early Bad Brains. All of this topped off with the vibrant sweltering vocal harmony work outs of Tim and Michael. The finished product comes across, according to one observer, like “iron jazz meets screech rock.”

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