Pipes and Pints (cz/usa) - Punk Rock with Highland Bagpipes
Pipes and Pints were formed in 2006 by Vojta Kalina (Highland Bagpipes/Vocals) who dreamed of a band that would combine punk rock with dirty folk music such as The Pogues. Soon after, he met Tomas Novotny (Guitar/Vocals, ex-Who Ate My Skate) who shared the same dream, though his was also flavored by a passion for country and rock and roll. They did not only dream. The first sign of the band’s life was the release of their debut demo CD in 2007 shortly followed by tours throughout Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Czech Rep., Slovakia), both as a headlining band and in support of The Porters, Society Parasites and others. However, the vision of the future of Pipes and Pints was not shared by all of the original members and a line-up change proved unavoidable. Lukas Vincour (Drums/Vocals, ex-Punkhart, ex-Thalidomide, ex-R.A.F.) moved to Prague from Moravia just to join the ranks of the band. So that he could sing, Syco Mike (Lead Vocals, ex-Mugshot76) cancelled his plan to return from Austria back home to his native California and moved to Prague with only his dog Tequila. Eventually, Ondra Balvin (Bass/Vocals, ex-Super Pilot, ex-El Paso), a good friend from the streets, squats, and clubs of Prague, also joined to be a Piper, with no less passion for the band or his bass.
In December 2008, after only a month of rehearsing, the new Pipes and Pints line-up (yet still without Ondra on the bass) recorded a 5-track EP which immediately became a promise of better days and the beginning of a new adventure. This EP release was well received and the boys didn't hesitate to hit the road with it. It was during that tour Pipes and Pints added new bass player Ondra and proved they were serious about their music by their relentless and voracious playing at European clubs and festivals. The year 2009 brought results of all the work so far. The band gained a reputation of true believers who give all they have. No matter, whether it was while supporting bands like The Porters, Church of Confidence, Born to Lose, Deadline, Hudson Falcons, Al & The Black Cats and more, or as they headlined their own shows. In November 2009, Pipes and Pints released their debut LP, full-length album entitled "Until We Die,“ with the cooperation of Wolverine Records for Europe and Unrepentant Records for North and South America.
With plans to support the album with as many tours and gigs as possible, i.e. to play “until they die” the band charged into the following year. The record proved a great success. Heaps of praise were written about it in both mainstream and genre press, as well as in the electronic media. Radio stations also did not ignore the record. Singles from Until We Die were aired all over the world and apart from Europe, the songs were heard in Japan, North and South America and even in Australia. It didn’t take long before the songs made their way into the radio charts, Top Ten at Shite ´n´ Onions (http://www.shitenonions.com/) and on the charts at the German Celtic-Rock.de (http://www.celtic-rock.de/), for example. Local media in their native Czech Republic also didn’t overlook Pipes and Pints. TV Očko, a national music TV station, nominated the band as the Best New Artist of the Year and put their music videos in high rotation. The charts at RockZone FM radio station saw Pipes and Pints claim the top position for several weeks. Numerous articles, interviews and reviews were written but the most obvious sign of their drastically increasing popularity were the sold out shows and ever-increasing dedicated fan base. In 2010, Pipes and Pints managed to play 110 shows and festivals, either as one of the main bands or as the headliner. The tours included a month long European tour; a four-day long tour in large arenas in the biggest cities of the Czech Republic with The Locos (project of the members of Ska-P) under the banner of the Rock For People festival; as well as the sold out Mighty Jäger Tour in clubs all over the Czech Republic.
The plans for 2011 were no less ambitious. The band have toured Russia, England, European mainland with Born to Lose and played at several awesome summer festivals, for example, Rebellion (UK), Force Attack (DE) or Mighty Sounds (CZ). It seemed as if nothing could stop them now. Yet, the total dedication and absolute surrender of their lives for the band started taking its toll. During the summer tour, Mike has announced that he wants to quit the band and move back to California. The rest of the band did not feel like breaking up, so while they played the last confirmed shows with Mike, they already started actively looking for a new lead singer. With the summer season finished, the 4 remaining Pipers did not seem to enjoy the long deserved break from touring, because replacing such a remarkable persona and frontman was really not an easy task. To choose a new singer from all the suitable candidates was a hard decision to make. Fortunately, they were saved from having to make that final call by Mike himself. As he took a break from the stressful band environment, it soon dawned on him he would badly miss all the rehearsing, recording and the shows, so he decided to return to the flock and rejoined the band.
Complete again, Pipes and Pints dived head-first into preparation of their second full-length LP. After the success of the first album, the band did not want to take any chances and enlisted the help of Darian Rundall, a known producer from California, who has produced records by bands such as Pennywise, US Bombs, Suicidal Tendencies or Yellowcard. After several months of writing new songs, Pipes returned to touring in February 2012. Two months later, back in shape and with the new bunch of songs already tested, the band and Darian hid away in Sun Studios in Prague for three weeks. Once the sessions were completed, Darian left for California, taking the recording with him for the final mix and mastering. The summer of 2012 was then all about preparations for the upcoming record and appearances at awesome summer festivals both home and abroad, Rebellion (UK), Resist to Exist (DE), Punk Rock Holidays (SLO), Open’er (PL), Mighty Sounds or Keltská Noc, to name a few.
Found and Lost, the second full-length LP, came out in November 2012. The album was released by People Like You for world-wide distribution except the Czech Republic, where the release and distribution is taken care of by a traditional music label Supraphon. The immediate success of the record was confirmed by endless stream of articles and reviews in both Czech (MF Dnes, Full Moon Magazine, Report) and international press. More importantly, the album received very positive feedback from the fans, and the following winter tour in Czech, Germany, Poland and Austria was basically sold out. And finally, as if 2012 was not yet successful enough, Pipes and Pints were invited to play at a prestigious music fair CEETEP in Netherlands, which showcases a cross-genre selection of the best European bands every year.
In early 2013, Pipes scored in the end of the year music polls. Found and Lost was voted the best album by the fans at, for example, Kids & Heroes webzine. More official recognition came from the Czech Academy of Popular Music, which awarded the album as the Album of the Year in the Punk & Hardcore genre category. With the summer slowly starting, Pipes are still touring diligently to support the new album. They have just returned from a successful 3 week tour of European mainland (FR, ES, CH & DE) and they probably won’t even unpack their bags, as the festival season is coming up fast. Once again, great number of festivals both home and abroad will host Pipes and Pints in the summer. Les Feux de Lete (FR), Rock’n’stock (FR), Eier mit Speck (DE) or Czech own travelling festival Czech and Moravian Castles will all see the Pipers play. And although it might seem too early to look ahead for autumn and winter of 2013, the plans for the second leg of their European and Russian tour are already in the making. It is just seven years since the idea of Pipes and Pints started to form. Since then the band has gone a long way. They went ahead and upwards, as they have always been destined for. With more and more demand, Pipes are getting more popular and better on stage every day, yet they still cling to their roots, keep their feet firmly on the ground and continue to support the DIY scene, GNWP campaign, and other helpful activities and friendly bands.