Carrying the Torch: Pop Evil’s music means one thing — rock |
Carrying the Torch: Pop Evil’s music means one thing — rock

Carrying the Torch: Pop Evil’s music means one thing — rock

Photo by Ashley Osborn

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | July 18, 2021

Pop Evil singer Leigh Kakaty takes offense to the phrase “rock is dead.”

“Rock bands have been toward the bottom as far as other genres are concerned,” Kakaty says.

“We all need to remind each other more than ever that we make great music and do great things. We do our part to be rock crusaders with education and interviews. We’re taking it one day at a time, so to speak.”

As part of the crusade, Pop Evil released its sixth full-length album, “Versatile,” in May. The Michigan-based band — which also includes lead guitarist Nick Fuelling, rhythm guitarist Dave Grahs, bassist Matt DiRito and drummer Hayley Cramer — will promote it with a Sunday, July 25, show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.

It includes the active rock radio single “Breathe Again,” along with the newly released “Set Me Free” and recent tracks “Let the Chaos Reign” and “Work.” They highlight the group’s distinctive sound by zeroing in on their juxtaposition of cinematic melodies, heavy grooves, fist-pumping anthems and timeless power ballads.

With the new music, COVID-19 played a hand in the music, but the fans did as well.

“The fans inspired this new music,” Kakaty says. “When we were out there trying to put this record together, we wanted to put it out with a mission statement. We started to demo the infectious riff of ‘Chaos,’ and it snowballed into this anthem — this ‘me vs. you’ type of persona — that’s so fitting now. It’s been an ‘us against the virus’ all around the world.”

Pop Evil used a myriad of producers for “Versatile,” so the musicians didn’t lose the energy from the original demos.

“Wherever we birthed that song, we finished it,” Kakaty says. “There was none of that, ‘I like the demo better.’

“We really wanted to cage and harness that first-born energy and melody and vocals,” he says. “We really wanted to capture what we haven’t on previous albums. This one has more energy and a vibe.”

Pop Evil’s music has garnered 1 million units of “total activity” across its catalog. The band collects fans and views as a staple act at major rock festivals as well as theaters and clubs worldwide.

Kakaty isn’t tired of carrying the rock torch, but he is frustrated with his fellow rockers who don’t help support the cause. He says bands should do their part to inspire fans to listen to rock and encourage those from other genres to come on by.

“New bands, they have to understand it’s not like the heyday,” Kakaty says. “Rock ’n’ roll isn’t dead. We’re not all rich and famous and on TV. We’re the janitors of the music business. We work weekends, holidays and all night. We don’t get a break as a rock or metal band. We’re not one-hit wonders. We didn’t get that one song that made you famous. We’re going to keep putting it out, and you’re only as good as your last song.”

Pop Evil w/ZERO 9:36, BRKN Love

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25

WHERE: Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe

COST: Tickets start at $25