Kepone Band

By  | 

Kepone have complained that many writers have been lifting phrases and sentences wholesale from previous bios when describing the band. They got really tired of a few phrases which they didn’t think were appropriate in the first place. To make things easier, we’ve underlined some phrases so you know just which passages to borrow.

Kepone began in 1991 in Richmond, Virginia and is named for an outlawed pesticide that breaks down the human nervous system. To those who have only seen Richmond when cruising down I-95, the city’s outstanding features seem to be cigarette factories and an emergency off-ramp for trucks whose brakes have failed. Apparently there’s more to it. Tim Hariss (Burma Jam) and Michael Bishop (Gwar) began Kepone as a side project with Honor Role drummer Seth Harris (no relation to Tim). Michael’s numerous wierd occupations have included being a child preacher and timing Burger King employees as they performed burger-related tasks, but he eventually tired of performing in a rubber suit and Kepone became a full-time band with the release of their debut single in early 1993. The kids went wild and the decision was unanimous- Kepone were fuckin’ stellar. The band recorded their debut album in November 1993 at Hound Sound studios in Baltimore, and then set out on tour with The Jesus Lizard. Kepone’s live show won the approval of Jello Biafra, who went on to release a single on Alternative Tentacles, a label that has no time to waste on herky-jerky songs. Jello was not disappointed. By this time Quarterstick were also interested and they volunteered to release Ugly Dance. Seth found that being in a band called Kepone prevented him from ignoring the fact that a large amount of that poisonous chemical was dumped at the bottom of the Appomattox River. Haunted by toxic nightmares, he left the band to begin a lifetime of monk-like servitude with Greenpeace. Tim and Michael quickly found a replacement right in town, Ed Trask, the nudist drummer of Washington DC’s Holy Rollers. Ed is a fantastic drummer.

Since the release of Ugly Dance, Kepone has been cheered across the USA when touring with The Jesus Lizard, Pegboy, Corrosion of Conformity, and Helmet. Michael lost his wallet in Chicago, the van’s steering wheel has a dent curiously in the shape of Tim’s head, and the whole band faced the horrific prospect of dying in Canada. Somehow all this made Kepone want to rock even more. The band recorded Skin this spring, and tried to convey what Kepone is all about by creating special “environments”, two of which involved smashing malt-liquor bottles and affixing a microphone to Michael’s head with duct tape and dousing him with bucketfuls of ice-cold water. Skin’s artwork and lyrics are laden with religious imagery drawn from the members’ upbringing. The album cover is a photo of Michael’s family Bible, emphasizing the extremely pervasive force of Christianity that surrounded the men of Kepone throughout their childhood and adolescence.

Kepone’s sound includes vibrant vocal harmonies and a whiplash guitar attack that veers towards puppies* (not unlike Bad Brains), but the spartan power trio lineup keeps them clear of excesses. Ed is sometimes not kept clear of excesses, as demonstrated last Christmas when he went streaking through the Richmond Christmas Parade, wearing only a fake white beard and a cape emblazoned with the words “Santa Clothes.” While that’s wildly entertaining, Kepone would like their fame as musicians to outstrip the legend of Ed’s attire-deficient behavior. At the very least, Kepone deserves to be known as “the thinking nudist’s band.”


“Henry” 7″ single Tenderizer Records Spring 1993
“295” 7″ single Alternative Tentacles May 1994
Ugly Dance CD/CS/LP Quarterstick Records August 29, 1994
Skin CD/LP Quarterstick Records August 29, 1995

Tim Hariss – guitar, vocals
Michael Bishop – bass, vocals
Ed Trask – drums, party favors