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Music Without Borders: The Pasties

By Tucker Petertil, 7/28/10

A block away, Lakefair was in full swing. But corndogs were just a distant scent on the breeze and eagles and herons were flying around by the quiet outdoor spot where I sat talking to Joe Capoccia. We were talking about the Pasties – the local band in which Joe plays guitar, sings, and writes songs – and their latest CD “Shot Down the Sky.”.

Joe just got back from a Portland performance by his other band, the acoustic neo-bluegrass Blackberry Bushes in which he plays standup bass, and he was anxious to fill me on the Pasties upcoming CD release party at the Cherry St. Loft on July 29th.

From left: Geph, Kevin, Kendl, Erin, Joe, Guire, Alex. Photo by Miss Afton.

First off, about the name. Joe says, “I didn’t even know what Pasties were, as far as nipple stickers, and I always picture some kindergarten kid passed out on the floor from eating too much paste.”

The seven-piece band is made up of Joe, banjo player and vocalist Kendl Winter (also of the Blackberry Bushes, as well as a solo artist with a new CD out on K Records in October,) the rhythm section of Erin Korntved and Alex Ruiez on drums and bass (who also have a hiphop act called Hollywood Kill Krew), Geph Shannon (also in Black Oak & Merconium) on trumpet, Guire McGuire (also in Razz M’ Tazz) on keyboards and accordion, and Kevin Rainsberry on mandolin.

Joe had an epiphany in 2005 while working construction in his home state of Massachusetts. He decided to move to the west coast and start a punk rock band. He moved out to the woods near Evergreen, built a “hut out of sticks,” and worked in a daycare center. Early stages of the Pasties were semi-punk, and they’ve also been likened to AC/DC crossed with Cyndi Lauper. Joe says, “I didn’t really have anything to be angry about and we’d book these punk rock shows and play and people would be like, ‘What are you doing here?’ and it wasn’t until about a year ago when we said ‘I don’t think we’re punk rock, I think we’re just rock’.”

This is the Pasties’ fifth record. Joe admits, “This is the first one we’ve done on purpose. The others were done when we were going on tour and had to have an album to sell at shows. This one we didn’t have any tours planned and we had enough songs to do an album, so we did it the way we wanted to do it without any time pressure.”

They made a record of traditional sounding melodies with energetic full-band blowouts and less dense sections showcasing the various members’ contributions. There are accordion bits that bring to mind the Pogues, synth parts that bring up Blondie’s disco era, all coalescing in a nonstop high-energy romp. “People say my heart beats faster than most,” says Joe.

I like the new record because it starts with a banjo heavy song and a lot of our old songs had a lot more banjo in it, so it starts the way an old album starts, but then very quickly goes into our new direction, which is having two keyboards in the band and it creates a sound that I haven’t heard before.”

The lyrics concern “cheesy personal stuff, rock stuff” as well as political things like dwindling salmon stock. “Late September” is about “how Olympia is growing, which is sad to someone who likes the way it was.”

The title cut, written by Kendl, is the inspiration behind the album’s collaged artwork featuring things that used to be in the sky, including birds, stars, and Leonard Nimoy.

The Pasties made just 100 copies of the new CD to shop it around and see if they could get on a record label. “When you make a CD and you get a few thousand back in the mail, you look at it and you go ‘ARGHH! That’s wrong.’ So, since we weren’t in a hurry, we did 100 so we could make sure we liked it.” Joe continues “But so far I feel great about it, and I’m already looking forward to making our next record, that’ll be a little more electronic using those keyboards.”

Joe is also working on his fourth solo record which will come out this fall on Bicycle Records. He and Kendl have a duet project called Southern Skies that will record a country album this winter. Joe admits, “If I don’t write at least one song a month then I fall into this depression. As long as I write songs I feel pretty good.” ◙

The Pasties’ CD release party is Thursday, July 29th at the Cherry Loft, with Ben Kamen/Invisible River and The Solvents from Port Townsend. (8 PM, $5-$8 sliding scale.) For more info, visit

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