Cancer Sucks presents
Pop Evil, Texas Hippie Coalition
Sweatin Bullets, Another Alibi, Crossland
423 N Main St.
Tulsa, OK, 74103
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Pop Evil represents the American Dream. Raised in the heartland, driven by uncompromising passion and goals, self-made from their bootstraps and energized by diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, Pop Evil has used muscle and sweat to put their musical vision into the hearts and minds of hard rock lovers worldwide.
Onyx, Pop Evil’s brand new third album, is a triumph of hard rock perseverance and rabble-rousing attitude, the type of record that inspires like minded outsiders to optimism. Onyx tracks like “Trenches,” “Divide” and “Torn to Pieces” are destined for the type of hard-won ubiquity earned by “Last Man Standing,” “Monster You Made” and the Mick Mars collaboration “Boss’s Daughter” from 2010’s War of Angels.
After three Top 5 songs at Rock Radio, a fourth in the Top 10, a half million digital singles sold and over 1,000 shows a few short years into their impressive career, Pop Evil’s return with Onyx is a swaggering, fist-pumping, ball-busting ride through American rock. The grandiose melody of the ‘70s, the danger of the ‘80s, the emotion of the ‘90s and the loudest of modern riffs all have a home in Pop Evil, who fashion a fresh sound that looks to the future through the prism of rock’s past.
During the rigorous touring and promotion in support of War of Angels, Pop Evil found themselves needing to replace both their drummer and their lead guitar player. The discovery of new drummer Chaci Riot aka Josh Marunde and later of lead guitarist Nick Fuelling reinvigorated the band all over again, inspiring them to press forward (as always) and conquer all obstacles. The changes in the band coalesced the present lineup into Pop Evil's most fearsome incarnation, strengthening them as a unit.
Pop Evil has emerged victorious from the gritty dues-paying days of self-releasing records. They’ve survived industry struggles that would have ended other bands, with their spirits still intact, conquering obstacles at every show with every song. Produced by fellow Midwesterner Johnny K (Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Megadeth), Onyx represents a musical, creative and personal graduation for all of Pop Evil.
The great state of Michigan has produced Bob Seger, Kid Rock and Eminem. Kiss adopted it as a second home in “Detroit Rock City.” Pop Evil is the natural summation and continuation of all of those elements, distilled into powerful art.
“That's the beauty of living in the United States of America,” declares vocalist Leigh Kakaty. “Rock n’ roll is a huge part of being an American. Being proud of that red, white and blue. Just like in Pop Evil, you're going to see a lot of people who are minorities who don't look like the typical rock star. You're going to have more and more people with different ethnic backgrounds that want to embrace the guitar.”
Pop Evil songs are heard on ESPN, ABC, FOX and other networks. Sports teams like Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, and their very own Detroit Red Wings, Tigers and Michigan Wolverines bang their anthems over the loudspeakers. Pop Evil’s music brings people together. It energizes listeners with confident power.
Lipstick on the Mirror was given a major label re-release and found its way into listener’s hands despite the business trouble that resulted in Pop Evil tearing up their major label contract on stage, in what Spin Magazine called one of the Ten Best Moments of Rock on the Range. Their debut was a precursor to the astoundingly pristine follow-up, War of Angels, which brought Pop Evil to a worldwide audience.“We’ve got that blue collar following. People are pulling for us as underdogs,” Kakaty says. “People see that we’re constantly on the climb, doing it from the ground up.”
Bringing their dynamic, larger-than-life, old-school rock star stage show to fans internationally, Pop Evil has perfected their live chops on tours with heavy-hitters like Five Finger Death Punch, Three Doors Down, Papa Roach, Puddle Of Mudd, Theory of a Deadman, Buckcherry, Judas Priest, Black Stone Cherry and Seether.
Kakaty, guitarists Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling, bassist Matt DiRito and drummer Chaci Riot went into the writing process for Onyx with definitive purpose. “We really wanted to do this album for the fans and for ourselves,” Kakaty explains. “We were extremely focused on this record to make the album we wanted and our fans want.”
Like the name Pop Evil suggests, the riffs are in your face but the melodies will tug at heartstrings and inspire sing-alongs in bars, cars and concert venues. For Pop Evil, music is what they are called to do. It’s who they are. It’s what they believe in.
Lead single “Trenches” represents the hard work Pop Evil has endured to bring their music to the masses. “It's about our battles,” Kakaty says. “Not focusing on the things we can't control, if we really want to be a band that stands the test of time we have to write the music that connects. We have to dig our way out of the trenches.”
The message of “Trenches” applies to the world of art as well as the world of sports, or the military, or anyone struggling with the economic downturn, like Pop Evil’s home stage of Michigan. During a slump in the music industry, Pop Evil is living proof that you can still make a living following your dreams. “It's a matter of time before rock and roll is in the forefront again and we want to be part of that.”
Like everyone in their audience, Pop Evil is not immune to personal struggles in life. Kakaty’s father passed away during the War of Angels process. The singer deals with the emotional fallout in the Onyx ballad “Torn to Pieces,” which anyone who has lost a loved one can empathize with on some level. “We're first generation to this great country; he was my best friend and such a die-hard supporter of Pop Evil. If it wasn't for him, I don't know if I would be where I'm at; he would give me anything he could and always make sure that I was doing what I loved. It was a hard song to write, but it’s definitely one of my favorite songs on the album.”
The same way “Torn to Pieces” can bring people together through shared hardships, the song “Divide” addresses the fierce divisions that separate too many people these days. “This country is always being divided, whether it's rock and roll, country, rap or whatever. At the end of the day it's musical expression. There's no right or wrong. It's just a question of what you want to listen to. The song is about a vision that we can somehow come together, that we can maybe always stand for something a little bigger. Whether it's a small percentage or millions of us, we can start to embrace that motivation and appreciation instead of segregation and division.”
Of the many standout tracks on Onyx, there’s also “Flawed,” which came about right in the studio in an extremely organic fashion. The lyrical content is also autobiographical. “Pop Evil just always stayed steady on the climb up, we've always been on the rise. For so long we've felt like we were flawed. There was always an excuse, like oh well you know, the label didn't give us this money, we didn't have this budget, we didn't get that. It always seemed like we weren’t good enough.”
“Flawed” represents discarding that old mentality, the way listeners should with their own struggles and self-doubt. It’s about being strong and rising above. That idea, to graduate to the next level and not look back, permeates all of Onyx.
Pop Evil doesn’t take anything for granted. They know their listeners are open-minded but that they also have a lot of choices. They want to be challenged. They want to be inspired. That’s why the band works hard to create music that stands out.
“We’re not trying to sell this record so to speak, that’s where the graduation truly lies,” Kakaty says. “We’re just being us. We’re being honest. Great music doesn’t need a salesman. From the music, to the packaging, to the image, it’s all there. We are a band with purpose, we’ve made an album with purpose. That will sell itself.”
Texas Hippie Coalition
There are two paths you can take in life. You can choose to fall in line and be a follower, always fifth or sixth back, lagging behind others. Or you can make your own line and live as you choose, with everyone else landing behind you, while you create your own thing. Want to guess which line Texas Hippie Coalition have chosen?
That's right. The purveyors of their own patented Red Dirt Metal sound are designing their own line in life and in music. For them, there is no other way.
Texas Hippie Coalition are committed to crafting a unique, original and thoroughly raucous brand of music that's born of both life experience and a respect for rock 'n' roll's forefathers. What exactly is Red Dirt Metal? Take outlaw country, toss in a dash of Southern-fried classic rock and mix it with some potent Texas power grooves and you've got a combustible sonic cocktail on your hands. Texas Hippie Coalition's third album Peacemaker is a textbook example of Red Dirt Metal, which is the sound the band has been honing and cultivating for its entire existence.
THC's frontman Big Dad Ritch, known as the "Godfather" of the RDM sound and an individual with a laser-like focus and vision when it comes to his music, believes that the band has hit its stride on Peacemaker, capturing the spirit of rock 'n' roll outlaws like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. He declares, "The outlaw spirit is still alive today. That is our goal: Bring it back."
THC, who were the first band signed to their label Carved Records back in 2009, want fans of classic rock bands to know that they are carrying the torch and that they want to be the keepers of the genre's keys. There will be no extinction of this beloved genre if THC have anything to say about it. "We want the people that love Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top, .38 Special, the Van Zandts and those bands that are growing older to know that somebody else out there is already waving the flag high," he declared. The band, in essence, is ensuring that the style continues to have new and noteworthy additions, such as itself.
But Texas Hippie Coalition aren't simply about making sure the outlaw rock style that they pretty much worship stays alive. They want it to evolve, infusing it with a modern edge and energy, thanks to the new tools (or is that weapons?) of the trade. Having also been surrounded and influenced by the likes of Black Label Society and Pantera –with Ritch proudly proclaiming to having seen the latter between 50 and 75 times live- Texas Hippie Coalition are turning in something fresh and fierce with Peacemaker. They aren't just paying homage to Southern rock's cultural milemarkers. They are proceeding with the intent to add to its canon.
The process of making the album was at first bolstered by levels of familiarity and comfort. "Me, [bassist] John Exall and [guitarist] Randy Cooper have been together a long time, and we're soldiers always ready to go into battle no matter what," Ritch said about his bandmates. The lineup is now rounded out by [drummer] Timmy Braun and [guitarist] Wes Wallace, who shared a lot of the album's writing duties with Ritch.
But there were also some changes and shifts, which also add to the album's heft and helped the band to expand. Texas Hippie Coalition recruited producer Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper) to work his magic and to help the band to further explore what it was capable of with an already established, branded sound. "We have a new producer and we already know who we are and what our brand is, so with this album, we decided that the boundaries we set for ourselves [are] in the past. We would cut that barbed wire and explore beyond those fences" Ritch said.
Exploring beyond those fences and cutting that barbed wire meant creating what the band calls "heart songs." Rather than saddle them with a generic term like "ballad," Texas Hippie Coalition chose to call 'em "heart songs" because they touch the listener's ticker. "They take you even deeper into the heart and soul, and into the deeper darkness," Ritch admitted. He even referenced his biggest musical hero's ability to vacillate between the dark and the light. "Johnny Cash could still let you inside and see the darkness of the man," Ritch pointed out. "Johnny Cash was not just wearing black on the outside. There are parts of him that are black, and that same idea comes across on this album for us."
Even with "heart songs," Ritch issues a Surgeon General's warning of sorts. "This album here takes you on a harder, longer drive, right into a brick wall. Strap yourself in." Isn't that the best type of rock 'n' roll there is?
Speaking about specific songs on Peacemaker, he said that the visceral "'Damn You to Hell' is maybe the heaviest song we've written. It has such drive and intensity that it's like a mixed martial arts event, like UFC pay per view, like someone being grounded and pounded on." You may emerge feeling like you've been administered a beating, but as evidenced in Fight Club, you can come out the other side cleansed and stronger from the catharsis.
"Think Of Me" is admittedly "the closest thing to a love song that this band would ever do. It is a great song. It goes beyond those boundaries." Other songs that typify Red Dirt Metal include "8 Seconds" and "You Ain't Seen Me," which Ritch admits is "as southern-fried as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet."
The title song is a brilliantly written tune, told from the perspective of a gun. Ritch said, "I thought, 'What would that gun say to people?'" That's not something you come across every day in rock music, and it's further evidence of how Texas Hippie Coalition are rewriting the rule book. The song boasts the lyrics, "I just whooped the devil's ass / And you ain't seen nothing if Jesus asks / It wasn't nothing for him to see / This is all between God and me." See what we mean about the outlaw spirit? It's wholly present in every note, riff and lyric of Peacemaker.
Essentially, Peacemaker, which follows the previous albums The Pride of Texas and Rollin', is like one of those out-of-control parties that will find you without a girlfriend and with pissed off family members the very next day, but you'll be gawking over your killer new tattoo while nursing an awful hangover. It's the stuff of life, the good time ingredient that you can't manufacture or fake. It comes from a very real place, thanks to Texas Hippie Coalition's ability to understand their influences and mine them into something wholly unique.
Sweatin’ Bullets broke out in to the Tulsa music scene early in 2006. From that time to the present, they have played a multitude of shows, performing the majority of weekend nights in Tulsa for many years. The band has always been known for their large crowds, their high energy shows, and how they go the extra mile to interact with the crowd and get them involved.
They have shared the stage with many large acts like Saving Abel, Foghat, Rev Theory, Aranda, Crooked X, and Texas Hippie Coalition just to name a few. They rocked Bikelahoma in 2010, and Rocklahoma in both 2011 and 2012. The band has also performed on the famous 97.5 KMOD Friday Morning Live Show on eight different occasions.
The bands’ music has evolved into a mixture of original music and modern rock, combined with the some of your favorite retro dance tunes and classic rock. They play songs from bands like Audioslave, Breaking Benjamin, Cracker, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, Nickleback, Finger 11, Buck Cherry, Cameo, Tom Petty, Steve Miller Band, Ted Nugent, Kings of Leon, Bush, Alice in Chains, Lenny Kravitz, Queens of the Stone Age, Jet, Kid Rock, Saliva, Jonathon Tyler, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Shinedown, Stone Temple Pilots, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Aerosmith, Chicken Foot, Ian Moore, Joe Walsh, Pink Floyd, Elton John, and even some Tone-Loc.
It's all extremely high energy, up in your face, danceable rock that always leaves the crowd excited and wanting for more.
Crossland is Tulsa's most popular band and 4 time consecutive ABoT Winner for "Best Party Cover Band".
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