Monday Motivation: Pop Evil

If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

I started college in the fall of 2006, which was less than a year after the world experienced the boom of Social Media and we began to recognize the interconnectivity of our lives with technology. Things seemed slower then. Maybe they were, in fact. There was no Twitter, the popularity of texting was still in its infancy, and the careers of young entertainers were still largely developed from gig to gig on the open road. There were one or two Myspace success stories, of course, but most artists were still trying their best to build a fervent following from their hometown out.

Sometimes I think I liked those days more, if only because it allowed artists a little more time to develop their sound and presence before being thrust upon the world at large. Before the age of social media, a bad show was just a bad show. You did your best, and if people weren’t into it everyone would shake their heads and go home wishing things had gone better. It was tough, but it a lot was better than having someone tape that show and post video of it, in full 1080p HD, to YouTube before you even pull out of the venue parking lot. That kind of thing can tarnish an artist’s reputation before they should even be at a point where live show reputation matters a great deal. Not everyone is an arena ready headliner from the moment they pick up a guitar, but for whatever reason the age of immediacy that followed the rise of social media has created a culture that demands perfection from day one, despite several hundred years of human experience and history that tell us most of the greatest creative minds of all time were also, on occasion, absolute disasters.

What I’m trying to say with all of this is that I’m still very much a fan of the long game. I love an overnight success story as much as the next person, but my personal experiences in music have shown me that those who last the longest in this business often did not find success until they had dedicated many years to refining their talent. Flash in the pan success is great, but ultimately fleeting. The people who make a real difference in music as those who toil in the middle, caught between stardom and being unknown, for as long as it takes to get the recognition or opportunity they have worked their entire lives to attain. There is no plateau they seek, only continued progression over time. It’s not about the money or the fame or the success, but rather doing the thing they love to do as well as they can for as long as people will pay them to do so. That’s where the real rewards lie, and that is what I myself hope to find as my career in music (hopefully) continues to develop in the years to come.

It’s with all this in mind that I decided to make today’s Motivation Monday post about eOne’s immensely successful rock group, Pop Evil. Many of you probably know their work, but some of you may not. It doesn’t matter either way, really. You can learn from Pop Evil whether or not you even like the style of radio friendly rock and roll they perform. Their success is not as much about the sound of the music they create as it is their determination to make what they believe is great music regardless of what the outside world told them would sell.

Labels these days don’t always promote the length of time a group has been together, and I have to believe that is due to our obsession with youth and the idea only the young can change the world, but I’ll be the first to tell you Pop Evil spent nearly a decade together before the vast majority of radio rock listeners knew they even existed. The band formed in 2001, but they didn’t receive their first national #1 until nearly the end of 2013. Before then, Pop Evil were just another low level rock band scraping together whatever money they could to get from show to show for many, MANY, years before money and attention came their way. That was okay though, because to them the money and success was always something that would come in time. It wasn’t about being successful tomorrow, it was about working as hard as they could to be they best they could up to, and after, the point when someone other than themselves would give a shit.

When I hear Pop Evil’s music I know the men performing it not only believe in the music, but they believe in themselves. Pop Evil have built a career on doing exactly what they believed was right for them, and through doing so they have developed a dedicated international following that welcomes them with open arms wherever they go. It took a long time to reach this point, but the band never let the length of their journey derail their dreams of staying true to that voice inside their hearts and minds that told them music was their way of life. I’m sure they appreciate the success, but even if it were to go away tomorrow I am confident the band would still be on the road 100-plus days a year, playing for whoever cared enough to see them.

Pop Evil’s new album, Up, hits stores this Friday. The album is filled with potential radio rock hits that I imagine will be very popular with fans young and old, as well as any newcomers who just so happen to discover the band in the months or years ahead. I know you may not be a Pop Evil fan right now, but I challenge you to give the band some time in the days to come. If you look beyond the genre being performed you will see this group, like any real artist or group, are creative people doing their best to express themselves through the medium that they feel best represents them. To hear the music of Pop Evil is to know the members of Pop Evil, and it’s hard to imagine anyone knowing of them and not feeling inspired by their hustle. For over a decade this band has given everything to be themselves, and as long as their is breath in their lungs I believe they will continue to do exactly that, regardless of whatever fanfare may follow.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a better way to live life than that.

James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.