Since re-releasing their first record in 2008, Pop Evil has developed their following the hard way. They have toured the US continuously since their first release, playing nearly 400 shows in two years and only taking time off to record their new album, War of Angels.
Leaving no stone unturned, no fan's question unanswered, and no road untraveled, the group pulled themselves up from their bootstraps and built themselves into a radio rock powerhouse that conjures the dirtiest hooks of the hard rocking 70ʼs, the hair metal 80's and the grunge-fueled 90ʼs…filtering it all through a modern prism coupled with a philosophical and spiritual outlook.
War Of Angels is a testimony to Pop Evil's resilience. Having been down a major label route fraught with the frustrations felt by far too many bands, the group has emerged with a Top 5 Active Rock single. They toured with Papa Roach and Judas Priest and created what Spin Magazine called one of the "10 Best Moments of Rock on the Range" where in front of tens of thousands of their heartland of the U.S.A. rock fans, they ceremoniously tore up their old contract and announced a new dawn.
With an output that easily appeals to students of Guns N' Roses, Pantera, Motley Crue and Aerosmith, Pop Evil is still nevertheless possessed with a talent, charisma and overall musical aesthetic that is decidedly and distinctly their own. They have put their stamp on the hard rock landscape with assured confidence and expert precision. "Weʼre just a bunch of guys that grew up together and are hungry for rock nʼ roll," frontman Leigh Kakaty simply states. "There are no othersecond options for us. Itʼs just music. Thatʼs what weʼve done, this is where we've always wanted to be, and grind is what weʼll continue to do."
Coming from Michigan, one of the states in the nation hit hardest by the economic downturn, Pop Evil knows something about hardship and the heart that it takes to persevere, to overcome and to conquer. They know the meaning of hard work, too. Their indie debut, Lipstick on the Mirror, resulted in a re-release through a major label and several inroads on rock radio but it's been word-of-mouth and live shows that have really driven the recently renewed momentum behind the band as their unique story continues to build.
"Weʼre just a good old fashioned Midwestern band that believes in grassroots and doing it from the ground up" Kakaty explains. "Weʼre the same band thatʼll rock your face with some heavy metal riffs then bring out the acoustic guitar and play some ballads."
Their very monicker represents something of a lifestyle to these five men. "Pop" represents the band's impressive hooks and well-crafted choruses while "Evil" conjures the more aggressive, hard rock side of the band. The band is a true mixture of pop sensibilities and "evil" sounding rock n' roll. It's not so much about distancing themselves from the mainstream as it is about forcing the mainstream to come to them on their own terms. "I think all five of us didnʼt really fit in, in our own ways, growing up," Kakaty reasons. "Pop Evil is kind of our way of saying, "this is our fraternity, our home.'"
The songs on War Of Angels reflect the various shapes, colors and emotions represented in a Pop Evil performance. The album provides a brilliant showcase for Kakaty's impressive range and various approaches, the guitar showmanship of Dave Grahs and Tony Greve, the solid bottom end of Matt DiRito and the rhythmic pulse of drummer Dylan Allison.
"Last Man Standing" is a shot across the bow, serving notice to the rest of rock radio-land that Pop Evil crafts music of a higher caliber. "It's amazing to see the reactions we get from the fans and how much the song means to them. That is priceless," Kakaty says.
"Bosses Daughter" was co-written with the legendary Mick Mars of Motley Crue. "It's got that rockin' vibe where it picks up and just doesn't stop," points out DiRito. "I get such a kick out of playing it live. I feel like I'm in Motley Crue. It becomes my Nikki Sixx moment!"
Other standouts include "Monster You Made," which addresses some hard times and points to the power of positive thinking to overcome obstacles. There's also "Broken & Betrayed" which has beautiful melodies and incredibly memorable singalong harmonies. "Next Life" is perhaps the album's most reflective song, particularly for Kakaty, who lost his father earlier this year. "Obviously itʼs a very personal piece for me as well." "And the list goes on with every song," he adds. "I donʼt think thereʼs any one I love more than the other, I usually listen to the song that best fits my mood."
With a career-defining sophomore album in their arsenal, Pop Evil are primed and ready to take their rightful place in the hard rock pantheon amongst their contemporaries and heroes. "We want to be known as a band with great music and a great live show," DiRito says.
Pop Evil is no fly-by-night, fair-weather band. War Of Angels is just one more giant leap in a career that has been built on a solid foundation and is intended to continue onward. Kakaty concludes, "At the end of the day, we want our fans to know that we've sacrificed our personal lives for them. We want the people who listen to our music to know that they've become our new family. That's why weʼve given up so much to do this. They are loved. Music is Love!"