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Interview:
Pop Evil's enjoying its moment at the top
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Four albums in, Grand Rapids' Pop Evil is feeling like it's arrived.

The group's latest release, "Onyx," notched the quintet's best first-week sales yet, landing at No. 3 on both the Hard Rock and Rock Albums charts and a career-high No. 39 on the Billboard 200. The first single, "Trenches," was Pop Evil's first No. 1 Mainstream Rock hit, while its follow-up, "Deal With the Devil," is currently on the ascent.

So these are clearly happy times for frontman Leigh Kakaty an company.

"It is gratifying," notes Kakaty, who co-founded the group in 2001 as TenFive. "It's been a lot of work and we tried to do some different things, musically, experimenting in ways we were never able to do before. So it's always a little bit of a risk and you never know how it's going to be received.

"But to have it do what it's doing and to have the biggest first week of our career and everything is very inspiring. And very exciting."

For "Onyx," Pop Evil returned to Chicago with producer Johnny K, who helmed the 2011 breakthrough "War of Angels." But this time, Kakaty says, the group came with a more defined vision of what it wanted to do and a greater understanding of how to both make music and work in the music industry.

"We weren't the new kids on the block any more, so to speak," Kakaty explains. "We were ready to do things we wanted to do. We understand now that we have to play these songs for the rest of our career. We're the ones playing the songs live -- not the record label, not the managers, not the producers. So we went in there with a totally different mindset about things we weren't able to try before because other people around us were more focused on 'Let's get this thing as good as we can and get it out...'

"Ironically, we had less time to do this record than we had before, but we were so much more driven as a band and a team that it was exciting to push in ways we couldn't before. It was definitely unique in that experience."

Pop Evil, Mindset Evolution, Chaos Rains and Lifeline perform Saturday Sept. 21, at the Macomb Music Theatre, 31 N. Walnut St., Mt. Clemens. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 586-541-1107 or visit www.macombmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.macombmusictheatre.com

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