Pepper Keenan

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Pepper Keenan
W0828-Hellfest2013 Down PepperKeenan 69263.JPG
Pepper Keenan with Down live Hellfest, 2013
Background information
Born (1967-05-08) May 8, 1967 (age 52)
Origin Oxford, Mississippi, USA
Genres Heavy metal, sludge metal, stoner metal, southern metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals, bass
Years active 1989–present
Labels Sanctuary
Associated acts Corrosion of Conformity, Down, Metallica

Pepper J. Keenan (born May 8, 1967), is an American guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with heavy metal bands Corrosion of Conformity and Down. He joined Corrosion of Conformity in 1989,[1] but did not become the lead singer until the recording of Deliverance in 1994. In 1991 he formed Down with Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod, and Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange of Crowbar.

Personal life

Keenan was born in Oxford, Mississippi but now lives in New Orleans, where he owns a bar named "Le Bon Temps Roule." His father, a former musician, is a local real estate appraiser in New Orleans. While developing his playing style in New Orleans, Pepper served as a member of local band Graveyard Rodeo, and met and became friends with Corrosion of Conformity during their frequent shows at the infamous Franklin Avenue VFW Hall in New Orleans. Keenan became the father of a daughter named Flannery Rose Keenan, with his longtime girlfriend Anna Hrnjak on January 5, 2010. In an interview with, Keenan was asked about his thoughts on politics in which he responded "I mean, the Bible means a lot more to me than the Constitution and any fuckin' politics involved in this country or any other country."[2]

Corrosion of Conformity

Keenan joined Corrosion of Conformity in 1989. Corrosion of Conformity released their third album called Blind with Keenan on rhythm guitar. After Karl Agell and Phil Swisher left the band (Swisher being replaced by original bassist Mike Dean), Keenan took over on vocals and guitar. Corrosion of Conformity have since released the albums Deliverance, Wiseblood, America's Volume Dealer, and In the Arms of God, as well as the live release, Live Volume. From 2006 to 2010, Corrosion of Conformity had been on hiatus. The band has since reunited and recorded an album without Keenan.[3] However, a possibility of Keenan re-joining C.O.C. remains, according to a message dated May 15, 2010, on the official C.O.C. website. According to drummer Reed Mullin, Corrosion of Conformity plans to reunite with Keenan in 2015 for a new album and tour.[4] Corrosion of Conformity performed their first show with the re-united Deliverance era line-up of Pepper Keenan, Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean, and Reed Mullin on March 7, 2015 in Manchester, England.[5] Their first U.S. tour with the re-united line-up, supporting Clutch, was announced on July 28, 2015.[6]


Keenan was a founding member of Down in 1991 along with Pantera's Phil Anselmo, Eyehategod's Jimmy Bower, and Crowbar's Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange. In 1995, Down released their debut album, NOLA. The band went on indefinite hiatus in 1996 but returned three years later with Pantera bassist Rex Brown replacing Strange. In 2002, Down released their second album Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow. Following a second hiatus, Down released their third album entitled Down III: Over the Under in 2007. Down released their fourth album Down IV Part I – The Purple EP in September 2012 and Down IV – Part II of a four-part series of EPs.


Keenan plays guitar and sings a part of the second verse on Metallica's cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Tuesday's Gone". He also recorded a number of other songs in the same session, but this was the only one given a general release (on the album Garage Inc.), the others only being available as bootlegs. Keenan is good friends with lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield. Hetfield provided backing vocals on "Man or Ash" from Corrosion of Conformity's Wiseblood. Keenan auditioned for Metallica's vacant bass player position following Jason Newsted's departure from the band but lost out to former Suicidal Tendencies/Ozzy Osbourne bassist Robert Trujillo. Keenan's audition is shown in the Metallica documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. In addition to his contribution to the song "Tuesday's Gone" Pepper also appeared with Metallica onstage at the Download Festival in Donington, England in 2006 along with Matt Heafy of Trivium to provide additional vocals on the song "Die, Die My Darling" (a Misfits cover). This song was played at the end of Metallica's headlining set.



  • ESP Custom Shop Vipers
  • ESP Custom Shop Baritone Viper
  • Gibson ES-335
  • Gibson Firebird Custom (Download Festival 2009)
  • Gibson SG Deluxe model
  • Gibson Flying V (used in Stone Breaker music video)
  • Gibson Les Paul Gold Top (2008 Down Tour)
  • Fender Stratocaster Custom Shop
  • Fender Telecaster (used in Stone The Crow Music Video)


  • Sony wireless system
  • Electro Harmonix POG
  • Electro Harmonix Big Muff
  • Electro Harmonix Holy Grail
  • Electro Harmonix Small Stone
  • Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer
  • Custom Audio Electronics RS-10
  • CAE midi Controller
  • Rocktron Intellifex Multieffect
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Stereo Flanger
  • MXR 10 band Equalizer
  • T-Rex Delay
  • Boss OD-1
  • Korg Tuner Pedal
  • Dunlop Crybaby
  • Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2


  • Mesa Boogie 50 Caliber Heads
  • Mesa Boogie 4x12 Cabinets
  • Marshall JCM800 2203 Heads
  • Marshall 4x12 Cabinets
  • Orange Thunderverb 50
  • Orange 4x12 cabinets


Corrosion of Conformity albums

Date of release Title Label Chart positions
November 5, 1991 Blind Relativity Records
November 27, 1994 Deliverance Columbia Records 155
October 12, 1996 Wiseblood 104
October 10, 2000 America's Volume Dealer (Available as Dualdisc) Sanctuary Records
August 7, 2001 Live Volume CD, DVD and DVDA
April 5, 2005 In the Arms of God 108
January 12, 2018 No Cross No Crown Nuclear Blast 67

Down albums

Date of release Title Label US Billboard peak
September 19, 1995 NOLA Elektra 57
March 26, 2002 Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow 44
September 25, 2007 Down III: Over the Under Warner Bros. Records 26
September 18, 2012 Down IV Part I - The Purple EP 35
May 13, 2014 Down IV – Part II 23


  1. ^ "Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives – Corrosion of Conformity". The Metal Archives. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Confirmed: CORROSION OF CONFORMITY's 'Animosity' Lineup Reunited". Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  4. ^ "Corrosion of Conformity Featuring Pepper Keenan To Begin Work on New Album in January". December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  5. ^ "Pepper Keenan Plays First Full Show With Corrosion of Conformity". March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "Clutch to Tour with Corrosion of Conformity featuring Pepper Keenan". July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015.

External links

  • Corrosion of Conformity official website
  • Gallery of Pepper Keenan with Corrosion of Conformity on Alberta Stars
  • Interview with Pepper on the Down tour
  • Backstage audio interview with Pepper Keenan on 3RRR FM
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