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Interview:
Radio makes Pop Evil an old school success story
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2015

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Radio's role in the music world might be diminished, but it's still king for Michigan's Pop Evil.

The Grand Rapids band is one of the few rock groups that's using radio to its advantage these days, with nine Top 10 Mainstream Rock hits from its four albums -- including three consecutive No. 1's from 2013's "Onyx" and another chart-topper, "Footsteps," from this year's "Up." And it's not lost on the five group members how rare that kind of support is these days.

"Radio's been amazing to us," frontman Leigh Kataky says by phone from a tour stop in Cleveland. "We're a radio band. I think they single-handedly have broken our band, so it's definitely important."

But, Kataky adds, radio's support was also carefully cultivated by Pop Evil and its team.

"I think why radio has embraced us is the little things we did early on," he says. "We had such great manager who taught us in the early years the importance of small towns, and we come from a small town so that was easy. But it was about doing the little things for people who are putting the work in. We'd do acoustic shows, lots of little things for the stations and make sure we were very involved with the fans and do a little more and do things the fans loved.

"So we've become kind of a fan favorite, and when we have something new out they'll call the radio stations and make requests and really show the support and love."

There are, of course, bands that profess -- or at least feign -- indifference to radio, especially in the digital era. Not Pop Evil.

"I grew up wanting to be a radio band," Kataky says. "I was a guy who was constantly listening to new bands on the radio. It's definitely something I did religiously. So that's where I come from and that's what I always wanted to do, so we try our best to make sure we write songs that were catchy enough for radio.

"We never had that independent buzz where we were doing stuff in the underground. We broke radio first. I remember fighting with old band members that I'm not just trying to make music in the garage -- I'm trying to make music for other people, and in order to do that you have to understand that there's certain things you have to do when you're trying to write a song that maybe radio will embrace. That's where my head and my vision has always been, and so far it's been working."

Pop Evil

Saturday, Nov. 21. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 431 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 day of show.

Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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