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Interview:
Pop Evil at the Fillmore, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Pop Evil is approaching the 10-year anniversary of its first record deal.

And suffice to say a lot has happened in that time.

The western Michigan hard rock troupe has released four studio albums and an EP, and it's notched 11 Top 10 Mainstream Rock chart hits, including four No. 1's. Hard touring and heavy radio play has made the quintet the rare kind of band that's succeeding the old-fashioned way, and things only seem to get better with each new project.

No wonder, then, that the group's latest album is called "Up." It's the trajectory Pop Evil has traveled for nearly a decade now...

Frontman Leigh Kataky, speaking by phone from Boston, says the cycle for "Up," which came out in 2015, has been "amazing. It spawned the biggest single of our career with 'Footsteps.' We got a Ram truck commercial, Monday Night Football, you name it. The band was able to be exposed in ways it's never been exposed before, so that was exciting and we're excited to keep pushing and take this momentum and o into the studio and make our fifth album and come out swinging."

Pop Evil has seen other bands explode in a bigger fashion during its time as a recording act, but Kakaty says he and his bandmates are happy with the way their group has done things. "We don't want anything handed to us," Kataky explains. "We want to prove it, and in the rock genre you have to prove it live. The more we're around and the more we can keep growing a steady climb, it's taught us to be more appreciative, to stay humble, to stay grounded and keep a proper work ethic off the stage -- and then you can stay around for a long time. You do see some bands take off and blow up, but if anything that keeps you motivated to just keep working."

Last year drummer Joshua "Chaci Riot" Marunde opted to leave Pop Evil in order to spend more time at home, but Kakaty says his replacement, Hayley Cramer, has given the group a new jolt of energy. "Haley's incredible," Kakaty says. "Forget she's a woman, first of all. Her passion to want to be in this band is night and day, and her drumming...She's like a human metronome. She's been playing the drums since she was four and her family played in bands so she grew up in a very musical family. The way she's brought the energy from the ground up and into our songs comes from a whole different perspective. We're tighter because of her, and she brings this motherly/sisterly characteristic that's something we never knew before."

Kakaty hopes to start writing songs for Pop Evil's next album during the summer, but nothing's been started yet. "I'm not going to start 'til all of this (touring) is done," he says. "We have tons of ideas and riffs, but we're really focused on making sure our live show and our touring is really strong. We're looking forward to, as soon as this is done, clearing our heads and taking some time off for a minute and then stepping into it full-throttle with a clean slate and everyone hungry and ready to focus on nothing other than writing."

Pop Evil wrote and recorded much of "Up" in Seattle, but this time Kakaty says he'd like to stay closer to home. "I really want to do it in Michigan, to be honest," he says. "If it was my dream situation we'd rent a house in Grand Haven, real close to where I grew up, and take it in there. I haven't had a Michigan summer in about 10 years, and I miss that. So hopefully we can do that and maybe even record it here in Michigan. I don't know if we'll be that lucky; It depends on when we pick a producer, but I would be really happy if we did it that way."

Pop Evil and Badflower

Friday, Feb. 24. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $20-$35.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.


Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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