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Happy New Year! – 2018 is bringing big changes

If you have been living in a cave, you might have missed that our friend and lead vocalist, Chip McDonald, who John M. Hoyt reached out to when starting Hot As A Pepper five and a half years ago, has had a career change that will take him away from the band.

Chip’s powerful and versatile voice will be missed by all of us, but not more than having him with us on stage and off. It’s going to take some getting used to, that’s for sure.

So, just how many people does it take to replace one singer?

Apparently the answer is ONE HUNDRED AND ONE. That’s how many wonderful individuals reached out to Hot As A Pepper when we posted our plea for a vocalist!

Take a second to wrap your head around that number. ONE HUNDRED AND ONE.

No, we didn’t audition that many, we asked each person to provide us with video or audio clips, and the band members and several friends/advisers listened to the best of the bunch and then we scheduled auditions, stacking them 3 at a time, with 1 hour blocks for each of them.

We had a couple no-shows (one person actually rescheduled at the last minute, and then didn’t show up the second time either!), we had a couple who came in with very very short notice and still managed to do a great job!

We thank each and every person who offered themselves up – your time and interest is greatly appreciated!

Ultimately, we were unanimous in selecting Mary Norris to front HAAP!

Here’s a clip of her joining us on stage at The Boiling Springs Ale House for a few songs.

We had no rehearsal, and these are not all songs she is familiar with – which amazes us and serves to further underscore that Mary is the right person for the job!
Actually, we didn’t even get a sound check. We set up an extra mic and a floor monitor, which we rarely do and let her rip.
Thankfully, our sound tech, Pamela was there to make sure it went okay out front…

Mary is studying music and she’s also busy in the Upstate Live Music Scene – she’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist that fronts her own original act.
We’ll be updating our member’s pages, photos and bios soon, so watch for more information about her!

Obviously, this will open the door for us to add some songs from female artists, many of which have been requested!
As always, we invite your requests and suggestions for music, but ask that you be patient as the band works with Mary to get her up to speed for our first shows of 2018 – then we can explore some new material!

Our first show with Mary fronting HAAP will be at Craft & Barrel on January 19th, 2018, we hope you will come and check us out!

Another member change – Chris Carroll who has been playing with us for months has now taken over the permanent main guitarist spot. So he’s officially no longer just a “fill-in”, he’s THE man.
Carlos Perez remains as our backup guitarist!

Happy new year from the 2018 Hot As A Pepper members!

The full band line-up consists of:

The Core:
John M. Hoyt – Bass / Vocals
Chris Eller – Drums
Tony Gardo – Keys / Vocals
Chris Carroll – Guitar / Vocals
Mary Norris – Vocals / Guitar

Habanero Horns:
Ed Wimberly – Trumpet
Tom Wheat – Saxes

Backup Members:
Carlos Perez – Guitar / Vocals
Chip McDonald – Vocals

Sound Tech:
Pamela Hoyt

We are available for bookings after January 19th 2018 – so let us know if we can play your event!

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