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Peanut Butter Mosquito Shares Stories from His 20-Year Music Career

Peanut Butter Mosquito’s Jeremiah Hoehner discusses their new single “When I Die” and the band’s career after a nearly 20-year hiatus.



Image of Peanut Butter Mosquito by Erik Krefeld
Image of Peanut Butter Mosquito by Erik Krefeld

Alt-rock band Peanut Butter Mosquito has returned to the music scene after a nearly 20-year hiatus with their new single, “When I Die.” With this track, the band showcases their unique sound and explores the impact of technology on society.

With their melodic, power-pop, alt-rock style, the band offers a refreshing sound as they delve into the pervasive presence of technology in our lives. “When I Die” serves as a commentary on the state of communication in today’s world, questioning whether technological advancements have truly been beneficial. The band tackles this issue head-on, reminding listeners of Dr. Ian Malcolm’s famous quote from Jurassic Park: “They were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Throughout their 20-year hiatus, the music industry has undergone significant changes, largely due to the propulsion of technology. Peanut Butter Mosquito has witnessed this evolution and recognizes the need to adapt to the new landscape. Their decision to return to the music scene was driven by their unwavering passion for creating music and the belief that dreams and creativity have no age limit. The band’s members, now in their 40s, are excited to embark on this new chapter independently, without the constraints of labels or management. They hope to inspire others from all walks of life to continue pursuing their passions.

Over the past two decades, the band’s music has evolved while maintaining its unique identity. Their songs have been likened to the energetic style of Green Day and the New Wave sound of Oingo Boingo. Each track tells a specific story, with the sound adjusted accordingly. The band’s music is known for its ability to captivate audiences of all ages, particularly those who appreciate alternative rock and pop music. With a focus on college-age crowds and individuals who can relate to their experiences, Peanut Butter Mosquito continues to create music that speaks to their listeners’ hearts.

Jeremiah Hoehner (trombone/vocals) of Peanut Butter Mosquito sat down with V13 to discuss the band’s newest release, their creative process, and memorable moments in the group’s career.

Tell us about your most recent release. What was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?

Jeremiah Hoehner: “Making ‘When I Die’ was a lot of fun, creatively, emotionally, even spiritually. This was the first studio experience where we exercised full creative control. So we could engage in more experimentation of sounds, tinkering with various and new instrumental parts, and exploring some of the newer technology in the studio since our last studio recording. The process was not rushed. We had a deadline, obviously. But the process and journey to get to the final result was very organic, and a lot of fun.

“The song was originally recorded for an EP by a good friend of ours, who did a great job for us. But, we had an opportunity to take the song to another level, especially with overall production—mixing and mastering. Every member’s input was valued, considered, and implemented in many cases. We also built a very good working relationship with Erik from Tempermill, who recorded this song, gave us some unbiased and well-desired feedback, but overall clicked with us in a way no prior sound engineers have. We just felt a very good vibe with him, like he understood our sound and our goal with this song.

“Once the recording process was completed, we had it mastered through a connection of ours. However, we didn’t feel that it captured the sound we wanted, the energy we wanted. The horn section is an integral part of our sound, so it was important that we had a song where the horns popped, were crisp and present when needed. We decided that Third Man Records would be the best choice for us and what we wanted. They knocked it out of the park! All of these creative forces—our band, Erik and Warren, all vibing off each other, having the same creative vision and mission all helped create the final product that is making us very proud to show off to the world.”

Cover art for “When I Die” by Peanut Butter Mosquito

Cover art for “When I Die” by Peanut Butter Mosquito

Which do you enjoy the most: writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?

“It’s a toss-up between playing live and recording. The energy playing live, the raw emotion and the ‘unknown’ of every performance are unmatched in what we do, in making music. But, recording can be so much fun, especially when you can create and do things outside your comfort zone, to utilize some of the technology available now. There is the experimentation process that occurs, you can tinker around with your own instrument, various effects, rhythms, and patterns that eventually help shape the framework of the song.

“Both recording and performing live can be very organic. Each live show can be its own thing with its own unplanned moments. It can be chaotic, it can be raw; you can connect with your audience. So there is that spontaneity there. But you can also get that spontaneity when you’re recording and creating the song, when there are moments where the light bulb goes off, a new idea is hatched or something clicks with a part being played or tried out. I have incredible respect for sound engineers like Erik at Tempermill, it’s a science and an art. As the musician in that process, I really enjoy watching the engineers work as well.”

What’s the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows?

“In 2004 we played Detroit’s Hart Plaza for the annual Detroit Fireworks show. Not long after we wrapped up our set, word was spreading of a shooting. We saw a lot of people running about. Nine people were shot or injured. Our first concern was for the victims, and all those in attendance trying to safely get out. There was a massive police presence. Getting out of Hart Plaza was a nightmare. It took us quite a long time to get back home, which was only about 25 minutes north of Detroit. It was hours to get home.

“The second most interesting thing would probably be our first tour bus catching on fire around San Antonio, Texas. Thankfully nobody got injured.”

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows or on tour?

“It’s not funny per se, in retrospect, but sometimes audience members cross the line, and you do your best to ignore it for as long as you can. But once in a while, you have to stand up for yourselves and your band. We played a show at the Hard Rock Café in Reno, Nevada. There was a guy in the crowd screaming at the band, throwing things, insulting other audience members. Security just let it go on and on and never bounced him. So, during my trombone solo for a song, I went out to the crowd like I normally do. He was seated in the crowd still causing a scene, quite drunk as I remember. I grabbed an empty chair, put it in front of him, and climbed up on the chair. And after my solo, I emptied my spit valve right onto the guy’s face.

“At this point, I was fully expecting a fight. But, he just sat there stunned, got up and stumbled off. It was the only thing that popped into my head to do, and it had the desired effect in shutting him up without resorting to physical violence.

“The other funny story involved us opening for Gavin DeGraw, at an all-girls college, right when he was a rising star. But the rest of that story we’ll have to tell in person…”

What do you think of the current state of the genre you play in?

“It’s a shame that we don’t hear more bands with horns, whether it be ska, rock, pop. Real bands on the radio, or dominating the streaming scene. Bands with real musicians. A lot of artists are starting to incorporate horns more into their pop music, so that’s cool (especially when they are real horns played by real horn players and not replicated/sound patches, etc.) But the era of the rock band, with horns, is basically dormant compared to decades past when you saw groups like Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, Phil Collins, and other throughout the ’70s and ’80s making hits.

“Then you had the ska banks of the early to mid-1990s that broke through the ska scene and into the mainstream. Today though, there’s just not much of that in the mainstream. There are a lot of good bands like ours out there struggling to break through. With streaming being the main supply source for music, people can discover these bands much easier today than in the past.

“My hope is horn-driven rock bands continue to make music, and eventually, the right band, the song may be enough to break back into the mainstream. Either way though, making music for our fans and music we can all be proud of us is what matters most to us. If we make good music, positive music, fun music…we’ll do just fine.”

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

“Touring the UK was quite an amazing experience! We did a Detroit-themed showcase at SXSW and that went really well. We played at a packed bar in downtown Austin one night. There was a representative from a UK indie label who liked the band, liked us and wanted us to come across the pond to play in the UK. We made a four-song EP, the Manchester Sessions, while were there. We played in all kinds of venues for all kinds of crowds. They do things differently in the UK for sure.

“For example, we saw whole families (little kids and all) come out to the local pub to catch a rock band from Detroit, Michigan. At this time, music from Detroit was quite popular in the UK. It was thanks to the White Stripes, Detroit Cobras, and other bands. They packed this one place to the point the kids were all sitting on the floor and the pub was packed from wall to wall. This was at 10 pm at night!

“We played a showcase where Bruce Findlay came to see us. He was the manager for Simple Minds. As a die-hard fan of the Breakfast Club movie growing up, and that iconic song ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ it was awesome to talk with him and hear all the cool stories and experiences he had managing the band through their fame.

“The highlight was playing our version of that hit song in front of him at this showcase, and him loving our version with the horns. That compliment meant a lot to us. That was pretty surreal. When you’re young and going through something like this, you don’t always stop or slow down to experience how awesome the opportunity is. That 2003 tour was unforgettable.”

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Dawn Jones is the curator of the V13 imPRESSED Column. Previously known as imPRESSED Indie Music Blog, Jones and her team joined forces with V13 in 2020 to collaborate on an exclusive column on V13's site (imPRESSED) to bring a niche focus to the rapidly evolving indie music genre. Dawn is also the founder of Pressed PR - a boutique PR agency that focuses on PR for independent creatives. Pressed PR’s team works on a variety of campaigns partnering with independent filmmakers, independent artists, and independent labels. Pressed PR’s music clientele has landed in the pages of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, HYPE Magazine, and many others.