About a year and half ago a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to take ride to Fort Lauderdale and interview a band I’d never heard before. Fort Lauderdale is about a 2 and half hour drive. So I replied, “You drive, I’ll interview.”
Mind you he asked me the day before the show, and the day of the show. The day of the show I was playing in a golf tournament. So, I had zero time to prepare for this conversation. My buddy also didn’t own any of this band’s music except for two songs he had downloaded. One of the songs he had on his phone was a song the band collaborated with Mick Mars of Motley Crue. How bad could it be? Not at all, in fact I thought the song was really good.
We got to the venue, I was quickly introduced to Chachi, Leigh, and Matt from Pop Evil. These guys from Michigan were intelligent, fun, and engaging. We sat out in front of their tour bus on lawn chairs and had a great time.
This particular show they were the opening for Three Days Grace. Pop Evil hit the stage and it was like I was caught in a time warp. Flying back to the Sunset Strip in Hollywood sometime in the mid to late 80s. It’s not because Pop Evil sounds like the band from back then, but because of the energy and intensity they bring to their live show. I stood there for the next 45 minutes with my jaw open. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a band that I didn’t know that much about and be in awe. They renewed my faith music!!
The next day I bought their entire catalog, including their brand new record called Onyx. That album included three songs that became rock radio hits, Trenches, Deal with the Devil, and Torn to Pieces. I saw them play live three more times. I equate Onyx to an album like Operation:Mindcrime from Queesryche. Again, not because it sounds like Mindcrime but because they are both great records and with Queesryche you just knew whatever they did next was going to be huge. That album was Empire and the rest is history.
With Pop Evil their new record is Up. This very well could be Pop Evil’s Empire or maybe even more.
Up starts with a song called Footsteps. From the first stop and start guitar notes, the band expresses exactly what and who they are. Familiar yet distinctive. This theme continues throughout the album with songs like Core, In Disarray, and Take it All.
Up is a rock record! Which coming from me is one of the highest compliments I can pay. In a world of downloading and singles. It has become so rare to pick of a CD, put it in the player in the car and enjoy every song start to finish. Songs like Dead in the Water, Ways to Get High and Vendetta may never be hit singles. They will, however, become like old friends the more I listen to this release. Just like songs like Rocket Queen from Appetite for Destruction, Creeping Death from Ride the Lightning, or Best I Can from Empire.
The only thing Pop Evil couldn’t match on this record, is the energy of its live shows. Most of the great bands can’t do that either. If they ever do look out! Up is well worth your time. And if you haven’t seen Pop Evil live…
Photo credit: Concert Stock