Local music: The Whiles

  • Photo by Joe Maiorana
By Columbus Alive
From the October 11, 2012 edition

It’s been a while since The Whiles was a constant presence in the Columbus music scene, but the band that began in 1999 as Mrs. Children is still thriving. It’s just that The Whiles as creative outlet for responsible adults functions a bit differently — and more sporadically — than The Whiles as star vehicle for fresh-faced kids.

Gone are the days of three concerts a week, Rolling Stone write-ups and shows with the likes of Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket and The National. Upon the release of 2004 debut “Colors of the Year,” The Whiles seemed on track to follow in such footsteps.

“In ’03, we played more music than we worked,” guitarist Matt Peppercorn said.

Complications including the departure of lead singer Zack Prout derailed those plans. The remaining members reconfigured around songwriter Joe Peppercorn for 2007’s superb “Sleepers Wake.” By the following year, they recorded basic tracks for a third LP “Somber Honey.” Then came more obstacles, the type that can dissolve bands for good: Marriage, kids, jobs, moves, health problems.

They considered breaking up more than once. But four years later, they’re still together, and that third album is coming out. It’s strictly for fun now; none of them can imagine life without this band’s special chemistry.

“I’ve definitely the last couple years realized how much I took for granted The Whiles,” Joe Peppercorn said. “I realized, man, I really gotta do whatever I can to play in this band as much as I can.”

The Whiles that will play Kobo this Friday maintains the delicate touch and pop instincts of old. But “Somber Honey” is just as notable for its jangly guitars and propulsive energy. The Whiles may be older and wiser, but certainly not quieter.

“Sometimes having fun is playing a slower song,” Joe Peppercorn said, “but a lot of times when we haven’t played together in a while, I feel like a kid and just want to play rock songs.”