In 1994, three guys really fed up with their bands and the (lack of) scene in general got together to form one of New Orleans longest running and most popular post-punk bands - The Pests. The sound wasn't meant to be aggressive and punk, but considering the atmosphere and conditions under which they formed, there was no alternative.
Steve Halprin -vocals/guitar, Chuck Diesel - bass/vocals, and Dino Mazzone - drums gathered a large and very devoted following before recording their first album "Simplified" in 1995. Their hardcore fans latched on to the rougher songs like "Life is Sweet" and the title track, "Simplified". The typical finale track live was the blunt and over-the-top aggressive "G.A.G.", a testament to the seemingly self-destructive devotion necessary for life on the road. The album wasn't without controversy, however. "Nazi Trot" was often misconstrued, but if the lyrics were ever noted, the vehemently anti-Nazi stance would be obvious. The line "the closet, the closet, they're always in the closet" sums it up. Despite the hardcore lean on some tracks, the one that stood out and landed the band on local radio and TV would be "I Hate My Girlfriend", an anthem of sorts that eventually through it's success would assist in the band's first of several setbacks.
What most bands wish for can often be the worst case scenario. Such was 1997. A BIG Hollywood producer set his sights on New Orleans, and Steve Halprin's unusual writing ability. That producer was unfortunately Kim Fowley. Having another drummer in mind, KF first wanted Dino out of the picture. A real recording deal was quite rare indeed, and Steve and Chuck took KF up on his offer, not knowing KF's list of failures far exceeded his successes. All of that would soon be exposed. The band was re-named Blowtorch, the album was rushed and KF soon wanted writing credits for songs that he had absolutely no part in writing at all. The disc went nowhere, and despite contractual obligations, The original Pests were back in business, but not without it's hangups. Chuck was so soured over the events, that he quit and wanted to give up music forever, concentrating instead on becoming a rather successful businessman. Steve and Dino were left with a touchy decision.
In keeping with the philosophies expounded in G.A.G., Steve and Dino had no choice. Keep going, but without Chuck, and after all of the previous two year's turmoil, it wasn't the same, so the name had to change also. They went on as The Bullies recruiting an old bandmate of Dino's, Bob Wilson. Most of the songs in the set were Pests staples, and more importantly, songs written by Steve during The Pests, yet never made it to an album. They recorded only one album "Up For Anything". It was done completely DIY in Dino's garage, and despite the raw and seemingly sub-standard quality, it spawned a song that surpassed "I Hate My Girlfriend" titled "I've Got a Feeling". By this time, local stations were paying more attention to local acts and actually put the song into rotation. Sold-out clubs and national openers were the norm. Then the inevitable happened - radio stations were gobbled up en masse by the national corporations, and it's back to the playlists and major label pawns. To top it off, the clubs too had been pushed out of market share by national chains ensuring that only the pre-packaged tours would stop in with no room for the locals. The next logical step was to hit the south touring all ages and diy venues. Having a new found motivation, Chuck re-joined and began work on "We Reserve the Right to be Impolite", a definite look back on the harder sound that crowds had become accustomed to years earlier.
With downloads and streaming becoming the norm, most bands feel that releasing on vinyl is a way to preserve the integrity and sound of rock at it's purest. The Pests are no exception. "Rockabilly is Ruining my Life" was released in 2012 on 7" vinyl and once again, The Pests saw heavy rotation on commercial and college radio with "Woe is me / Bitch Start Acting Right". A new record is in the works for early 2014.