by FAITH BENNETT AND BONNIE THOMAS
In the beginning Aaron Abraham just wanted to make music for fun. Since then they’ve come a long way, touring with acts as varied and illustrious as Gym Class Heroes, Suicidal Tendencies, Reel Big Fish, Killah Priest of Wu-Tang Clan, Rancid, MXPX and Streetlight Manifesto, just to name a few. They have made a split EP with socially conscious rapper MURS, as well as collaborated in the studio with Lil’ Jon, Mike McColgan and Tim Armstrong.
The current lineup consists of singer and guitarist Aaron Abraham, bassist Will Frazier, who works at Bold City Brewery, and drummer Mr. Whitefolks, who is also employed locally at an erectile dysfunction clinic. Although they all hail from the Southside, only Mr. Whitefolks continues to reside there. Abraham and Frazier have chosen to dwell in San Marco and Riverside, respectively.
The location in the urban South has greatly contributed to the way that Whole Wheat Bread goes about producing punk rock. Abraham describes it as such, “Its kinda like a band like Flogging Molly. We’re not Irish, but if we’re gonna play punk rock it’s gonna have influence from where we’re from, the same way that since they’re Irish you hear that in their punk rock…With us because we’re black, and we’re southern, and also because I’m from the Caribbean, you get a different influence in the music.” He elaborates, “We do think that it took a city like Jacksonville to create something like us. We are a punk band, but ghetto and somewhat G at the same time.”
Their deep Duval roots have earned them a level of respect in some areas they toured. “It’s cool being from Florida whenever you go somewhere else like Canada or England or something. They think about Florida as being nice and all, but they also think about Florida as being very trigger-happy. They look at you with a little admiration and also a little bit of street cred depending where you are. Like nobody thinks of you like that if you go to Atlanta, Georgia, but if you go to England or Canada they do.” As far as touring goes, this is a slower year for Whole Wheat Bread. “I survived getting shot twice in 2010…That incident forced us to take a bit of time off, so we don’t have any major national or international touring this year,“ says Abraham. In 2013 they will be back touring the United States again. On the virtues of touring, Abraham says, “it made the entire US feel like our backyard. It also makes me appreciate Jacksonville more.” He also mentions the contributions that tour life has made to the band’s personal lives by helping them make connections and meet friends, as well as current girlfriends. Also life on tour has been their primary means for meeting fans as, “the internet can only take you so far.”
Their latest opus is an upcoming album they are trying to have funded through Kickstarter. “Honestly, we might not reach our goal. We set it kinda high,” says Abraham. The new album doesn’t radically veer into a new direction, but Abraham does say it will be lyrically darker and discuss topics that he previously didn’t have the experience to write about. “It’s a lot more mature. To me all of our records have gotten more mature as they’ve progressed. We also don’t have to worry about pleasing a manager or focusing more on this song than that other one, because this one sounds more poppy. It’s 100% up to us now to do what we want to do.” On their four other album releases, Whole Wheat Bread has been under the thumb of a record label. Now they look forward to being free in the studio, even if they don’t receive a cent from Kickstarter. He says, “we will still make the record regardless. That’s just punk rock.”
For Real, For Real, 100% Florida Whole Wheat Bread
by FAITH BENNETT AND BONNIE THOMAS