As mentioned yesterday, my friends (and fellow pop addicts) Bruce Brodeen, John M. Borack,and I were each interviewed by writer S. W. Lauden for his just-published piece “Notes From The Modern Pop Underground.” For deeper background, here’s the complete text of my conversation with the esteemed Mr. Lauden. And I thank him once again for inviting me to participate.
S.W. LAUDEN: How do you personally define power pop?
CC: I always go back to writer Gary Sperrazza!‘s words in Bomp! magazine in 1978: “Power pop means pop with POWER! Not some whimpering simp in a Beatles haircut.” Guitar, bass, drums, vocals, la-la-las, and CRUNCH, all leaning forward. Infectious pop music with aggressive intent.
How did you discover power pop? Who are three of your favorite all-time power pop artists? Why?
Before hearing the phrase, I already liked AM radio rockin’ pop designed for high volume, especially Badfinger and the Raspberries. Bomp! magazine preached a Gospel, connecting the early Who and Kinks to Raspberries and Ramones. I already loved all of these acts, so I was already a power pop fan.
My favorite power pop act is the Flashcubes, who embody the Bomp! power pop equation of Shaun Cassidy + the Sex Pistols = the early Who. Great songs, great excitement, hell of a live band. The rest of my top 2 rotates (unless I just say Beatles, Ramones, Flashcubes).
Looking around the global power pop community—who would you say are 2-3 of the best bands making modern power pop music these days?
Ignoring my strict view of what is or isn’t power pop, there are tons of great, great acts making fabulous new music within the broad parameters of rockin’ pop. The Flashcubes are still recording. The Grip Weeds are still at it. Pop Co-Op is terrific. Just about anything released by Big Stir Records, Kool Kat Musik, Futureman Records, Jem Records, Red On Red Records, and a bunch of other worthy labels is at least worth a listen, and some of it’s freakin’ transcendent.
What are one or two outlets (DJs, authors, platforms, record stores, magazines, labels, etc.) that you rely on to discover modern power pop music?
It’s all internet. A lot of stuff gets sent to us for airplay on This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl, and we pay attention to what friends, fans, and other DJs and pundits are saying.
If I use one or more of your quotes (no promises!), how would you like to be credited?
Example: S.W. Lauden, co-editor of the power pop essay collections Go All The Way and Go Further
Carl Cafarelli, writer, blogger, and co-host (with Dana Bonn) of This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl
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This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.
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