Dear Popp Over America fans and supporters:
I realize it has been a long time since my last update. Many of you think I may have given up, but NOOOOO! I’m still here! My life took a few turns and twists. I’ve had to move several times do to noise and dangerous conditions. I am now living with Jenny out in the Kensington section of Brooklyn. I also continue to battle depression that rears it’s ugly head at the least convenient times. This has been an ongoing fight, but I am feeling productive and positive as of late.
I am still editing the pilot episode and things are going great. I have so much footage that I am having a tough time finding what to cut. I can’t have a four-hour pilot episode!
I have been recording a new LOST AXIS album with Shaugn O’Donnell, and I am currently trying to talk him into buying a motorcycle and joining me on the 48-state tour. Work at the Sonic Arts Center at CCNY keeps me going too, but I start my one-year sabbatical on August 1st. Things will calm down at the job by they end of the semester, and I am aiming for July 1 to release the pilot episode. Stay tuned!
I plan on leaving for the 48-state tour on March 1, 2017. If you have a place for me to stay or know a club where I can play, please let me know!
Supporter news: Fire-Eye has given a generous rebate to Popp Over Americaon their Red-Eye Instrument Preamplifier. This pre sounds amazing and incorporates adjustable treble and boost controls. The Red-Eye is well known as the de facto standard for passive pickups in acoustic instruments. Please check out their products and tell them Popp Over America sent you.
So the journey has begun. I have been working on Popp Over America since October of last year. Back then, I thought this would be a solo trip, but as life would have it, things change. I’ve realized the musical expedition is one that is better off with a bandmate.
I have been practicing with my old friend Shaugn O’Donnell on a collection of songs I have written over the years. Popp Over America is now no longer a solo endeavor, but a band. Having earned his doctorate in musical theory, Shaugn is a literal musical genius. He is often flown around the country to lecture on Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead. But Shaugn has never been tied by the bonds of the musical egghead scene. He has a working class ethic that I also share, and when we rehearse, we grind it out old school. There are no breaks. We play until we can’t play anymore.
Shaugn and I both started at City College of New York on practically the same day 13 years ago. He as a Theory Professor, and me as a tech for the Sonic Arts Center. He was reserved at first, and the joke goes that he didn’t talk to me for the first two years of our employment. But after prolonged exposure to each other, we became friends. We both shared the turmoil of divorces but more importantly, a love of live music and guitar led us to meandering multi-hour conversations. We would later form a band with renaissance man Tylor Durand on drums, Shaugn on guitar, and me playing the bass, called Plasma in the Ukraine. The life of the band would be short as I could not stomach being a bass player – the job did not match the cut of my jib.
Fast-forward two years later and we are sharing the stage again. Shaugn sticks to the guitar and leaves the vocal shenanigans and songwriting to me. We are sort of the Jay and Silent Bob or perhaps the Penn and Teller of the acoustic rock scene. Music is meant to be shared and I am lucky to get to do just that with one of the best friends of a lifetime.
Our first gig at the famous Shrine in Harlem, NYC (as seen in the video above) was a barn burner. We were well practiced and had a great crowd to cheer us on for this first outing. As you can tell, I couldn’t be happier. A big thanks to everybody that attended the show. Your presence means more than you will ever know…
So sláinte to Shaugn O’Donnell, now an irreplaceable half of the musical duo that is Popp Over America.
Pictures by: Evil Kel, Heather Laurel, and Jenny Mavronas