igeons Playing Ping Pong started their band "for fun" in 2009 but their potent goofball energy has made a serious stamp on the jam band scene ever since. From starting their own festival as college seniors to touring all over the country almost 15 years later, their funky fusion of deep psychedelic jams and lighthearted lyrics has led them on a long musical journey they don't want to end.
We quit our jobs over ten years ago to do this and the fact that we're still here and still inspired is a total blessing. We may be goofballs on-stage but we take it super seriously behind the scenes so each show is better than the last. - Greg Ormont
My first interaction with PPPP was seeing their name on festival bills in the 2010s and listening to their Psychology album. I would listen to tracks like Melting Lights and Horizon and enter a heavy trance of enticing guitar licks paired with groovy vocals. The combination of funk and trippy interludes was cool in itself but this four-piece band(Greg Ormont [vocals, guitar], Jeremy Schon [guitar, vocals], Ben [bass, vocals], and Alex “Gator” Petropulos [joined in 2015 for drums, vocals]) take these tracks to a whole new level in the live setting. Their main focus is giving their fans a macrodose of positivity.
We just bring the heat and bring the positivity. I think no matter what kind of music you're into, you're gonna leave our show happier. We love what we do so much and we're not afraid to show it. We you bust our tail behind the scenes to keep each show fresh and unique and particularly funky. There' always gonna be a combination of smiles and stank face. More than anything, it's all about that release of energy. No matter what's going on in your life, you had a bad day [or] you had a great day to celebrate. No matter what it is, we let it out at the show. - Greg Ormont
We got to sit down with Scrambled Greg and Gator of PPPP before their Portland, OR show at the Crystal Ballroom in November 2023. Aside from creating "dynamic" jams and "not just trying to melt faces", the band has been playing a lot of new material on their Fall 2023 tour. A day before the interview the Seattle Flock heard the premiere of an unreleased track, Bloodshot Rose, and Portland fans heard the premiere of another unreleased one, Right Track. They've also been playing, Alright Tonight, which they released in October 2023.
We're always writing music. We've just released Alright Tonight and we have more songs coming out soon. That song we played yesterday Bloodshot Rose is is super new. As soon as we release anything we're constantly writing the next one because frankly it's more fun for us to be playing new stuff. We love digging into the catalogue because every time we play [something] it does feel different but when you play something new it's not only exciting for the fans, but it's truly exciting for the band because it's just uncharted territory we get to explore. I thought the Bloodshot Rose jam kind of went out there in a cool way in front of the live crowd. - Greg Ormont
After COVID disrupted the band's usual routine of 200 shows a year and constant practice, they adapted to the situation by collaborating digitally. Whenever one of the guys are free they will "lay down an idea" and share it with the group. This ability to create digital jam sessions that don't require every band member to be on the same schedule is especially helpful considering three PPPP members are now fathers!
A lot of the time Greg will come in with a vocal melody or lyrics or a full song honestly. Him or Jeremy, even Ben. Sometimes people come in with an idea coming from one place, but even when that's the case, we still allow each other to put it in their own creativity. In the end it's definitely a collaboration. - Alex Petropulos
It's kind of harder to find the time that works for everyone perfectly with their crazy lives. So if I'm free at 2PM or 2AM, I can lay down an idea and shoot it over to the other guys. Then, whether they're free at 4PM Or, 4AM on their time, they can find the time to listen to it, digest it, and then add to it, morph it. So by the time we do get, together, and practice, we have all these extra ideas floating around and no matter who created the song, like Alex was saying, we don't have an ego where it's like, it must be this way. It's much better when all four of us have our influence on it, all our fingerprints on it, and we kind of let the song take shape as a group. - Greg Ormont
When they aren't tinkering with a new song idea or playing in a new city, the band is probably preparing for their annual festival, Domefest. What started as a "big send-off" for their senior year at the University of Maryland has become a prominent independent festival in the jam band scene. PPPP usually plays around 5 sets as the headliner but countless bands have played there such as Lotus, Sunsquabi, Spafford, Kitchen Dwellers, Tauk, Magic Beans, Twiddle, and more. It's always cool when an open-minded band has total creative control over a festival. When it comes to Domefest, that control is utilized to highlight new bands in the scene and foster a community of bands with different sounds.
We were just starting out in college at University of Maryland. We were playing basement parties and stuff like that, but we were starting to click musically. It just so happened that Jeremy met this awesome older dude just off campus with a great property and wanted to throw a concert. Jeremy was able to scrape together some school funding and throw the first Domefest which was just a one day, one night absolute rager. It was really fun. It's called Domefest because that guy who owns the property lived in a couple of dome shaped houses. His roofs were curved. It was our senior year and our big send off. It was so much fun while we were doing it then, that it just kept going and growing and has been able to reach, you know, people come from all over the country now. It's not an enormous festival, still very intimate, but this little idea that Jeremy had has somehow blossomed into a 12, 13 year tradition for us. [It's] like a homecoming or Domecoming.
Domefest is our event. We have our hands all the artwork around the site, even the signage, and Jeremy curates the line up. He books the line up. So what's really cool is that not only can we throw a party but we could also help all those bands meet some diehard music fans, because the flock gets down and are really supportive. So, we're able to invite other bands into our little bubble and hopefully they can make some soap themselves. - Greg Ormont
I view the jam band scene more as a community of bands. To me, it's not a genre of music. You could have bluegrass at a jam festival you could have a prog metal band like Consider The Source or a fusion band like TAUK or etc. So I think that's also a benefit of the jam band scene is that allows more more avenues and doors to open because it's such an open term. All the fans are open minded and if your music speaks to them they're not one to label it. They're just one to enjoy it. - Alex Petropulos
As a giant crowd of eager fans loaded into the historic Crystal Ballroom, I couldn't help but think how strong the jam band scene is. This community of bands share a community fans that love to hear what everyone has to say musically. That open-mindedness is exactly why communities like The Flock are so vibrant and active. They genuinely appreciate the energy that bands like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Dogs In A Pile bring. It ultimately gives us a break from the hum-drum routine that we all eventually succumb to. Great nights filled with great music can help us remember what we are even doing here on this spinning space rock and that's why bands like PPPP can't be stopped.
I'm super stoked that Vulfpeck played MSG and our friends Goose are taking over the world. It's really nice that the jam scene is shedding the negative coloring that Woodstock had, where it was a lawless kind of thing. [It] has more and more turned into sophisticated music, thoughtful music and ultimately just a really fun concert experience. At the same time it's our little baby. It's this secret little world that not everyone knows. I'm not one for predicting much but we're gonna keep doing it no matter which way the tide rolls. - Greg Ormont
Catch Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on their 2024 Winter Tour!