Pop Goes the Evil is led by Lucas Frazier, former front man of The Dukes are Dead, along with Jordin Goff (The Yugos) and Evan Roberts (Grey Host). On a Sunday night, the band is practicing in Jordin’s basement amid a litter of musical instruments, gear and, for some reason, a dirty mannequin head skewered on a keyboard stand. Lucas announces the next song, “Cinnamon Roll.”
“It’s about whores,” he tells me. He pauses. “But it’s a positive message.”
Despite its dark name and seedy subject matter, Pop Goes the Evil actually intends to be a positive, inspirational band. The band, the songwriting, and the music all revolve around a simple mantra: Be yourself. Each song is meant to tackle some taboo, with a goal to “try to encourage people to be comfortable with your innermost desires and don’t be ashamed of who you are and what you love,” according to Lucas. He uses another PGTE song to illustrate his point.
“For instance, there’s a song about me having a homosexual relationship with a demon. That’s weird, but who cares?” he says. “It’s a good song and it’s about being in love.”
Pop Goes the Evil’s darkly positive attitude – if that even makes sense – is a major shift from Frazier’s last project, The Dukes are Dead.
“With The Dukes it was like, ‘Let’s fucking rock, let’s get fucked up, let’s sweat. Let’s go crazy. Let’s rock out. That’s what it was all about. Whereas with this band, it was more like, ‘Let’s dance and let’s be happy.’”
Lucas admits that in March 2012 he was in a deep depression. Without going into many details, he talks about when things turned around. “Something really big happened in my life and it caused me to have this sort of eye opening where I was like, ‘I don’t want to be sad and miserable anymore.’”
“What inspires me to write songs for this band is trying to spread that message to other people…you won’t ever really be happy unless you’re happy with yourself and love yourself.”
Even the name Pop Goes The Evil, a play off an old nursery rhyme, ties back to the idea of loving yourself. Drummer Jordin Goff says, “It’s a throwback to childhood [when] it’s easier to be yourself.”
The band is also committed to the idea of simplicity. In the basement, the band plays one three minute song after another, all following the basic pop form. There’s an intro, verse, and chorus. Another verse. Chorus, bridge, chorus. Maybe another chorus, or an outro. The songs are loud, fresh, and straight forward, leaning heavily toward early rock and roll and doo-wop.
“I mean, I grew up in a very sheltered life where no one was listening to any good music, so I listened to pop all the time and I think that just got ingrained in my brain,” Lucas explains. “I think the simplicity inspires creativity. It’s like the blues – here’s your basic framework that everyone does, now make it your own. Find your own voice in this and make it unique.”
Even Pop Goes The Evil’s logo, a black and white Eye of Ra, references the idea of creativity within simplicity. “It all goes along with the idea of [sic] the band is everywhere, in everything…It’s all a mystery, but it’s right there,” Lucas says.
Pop Goes the Evil will play their debut show at MOTR on Friday, January 25th, with Left Lane Cruiser.