Jacksonville, FL punk band Whole Wheat Bread has just released their new EP, "Punk Life" which was produced by Travis Huff (Fall Out Boy, Pharcyde). It is their second release for Fighting Records, following up last year's "Minority Rules" which has sold more than 15,000 copies so far. The new EP showcases the band's traditional punk influences while also working their love for all things crunk into their sound. "Punk Life" includes new originals plus remakes of crunk classics gone punk.
The boys did such a good job on the remakes that within days of posting their version of Lil Jon's "I Don't Give a F*ck" on their MySpace page, none other than the King of Crunk himself got in touch about collaborating. Whole Wheat Bread and Lil Jon have since done sessions together in world-class studios in Hollywood and Las Vegas. No word yet on when the collaborations will be released but it's safe to say fans of both acts are in for a treat.
It's been a rollercoaster ride for Whole Wheat Bread. The same week they got the call from Lil Jon, they also heard from their punk rock heroes Rancid who invited the band to open some dates on their tour. The band seemed to have an unstoppable upward momentum when everything came crashing down (or seemed like it would).
While on hiatus from the band, WWB's bassist Nick Largen was arrested on first-degree robbery charges in Buffalo, NY (and was later sentenced to 7 years). The band had a difficult decision to make especially since Nick was the brother of WWB's drummer Joseph. The band decided to push on with a new bassist, 21-year old Johnny Rock formerly of the Atlanta-based El Pus, who released one album on Virgin Records. Interestingly enough, WWB never ended up missing a single show despite losing 1/3 of the lineup unexpectedly.
Since then, WWB has continued their rise from the underground. "Minority Rules" recently debuted on Billboard Magazine's Heatseekers Chart. XM Radio is spinning their music in the states while BBC Radio 1 is playing them in the UK. MySpace, MTV On Demand, Much Music (the Canadian equivalent of MTV) and MTV Latin America have all featured the band's video for "Old Man Samson". "Minority Rules" is also out in Japan on Ambience Records.
Not bad for a band started by Trinidad native Aaron Abraham who grew up in the slums of Miami but attended a multi-racial school where he discovered punk rock. "We were broke and we lived in the worst ghetto areas of Miami for most of my life." Aaron's parents wanted a good education for him "so they drove me 30 minutes everyday to a school near the beach" where he was exposed to all kinds of musical influence. "I got into Green Day at a young age, which was exactly the same time I started playing guitar," says Abraham "but I was also rapping too." Today, Abraham is doing both, bringing fans of punk and hip-hop together with a sound that includes elements of the best both genres have to offer.
Whole Wheat Bread continues to earn supporters among the game's elite. It's not just Lil Jon and Rancid either (as if that wouldn't be enough!). Nonetheless it is testament to WWB's music that they have believers in major players who live on distinctly different sides of the fence - WWB has toured with established punk bands like Bouncing Souls, Suicide Machines, The Aquabats, MxPx, Reel Big Fish and others. On the hip-hop side (in addition to Lil Jon of course), there's Killah Priest of Wu-Tang (who recently opened for WWB) not to mention an upcoming performance with legendary rapper Rob Base at the Bamboozle festival in New Jersey this May.
Whole Wheat Bread represents the future of music where punk rock and hip-hop can live together on the same playing field. They co-exist with groups like Gym Class Heroes (another act they've toured with) and Atmosphere - bands breathing hip-hop into the punk scene. To Whole Wheat Bread, they've never known anything else.