Chris Pope – London Town Throws Down
When I think of the explosive times of late ’70s, early ’80s punk, I can’t help but think of bands such as The Insults, Sham 69, The Buzzcocks and the UK Subs just to name a select few. In today’s world of cookie-cutter sterility, the attitude of ballsy, passionate music had all but faded into its own self-imposed extinction. But if you look around, you’ll still find a few soulful dreamers who come from that old school mold, and they’re keeping the golden past alive in the present day arenas with genuine and punkish retaliation.
The folks over at Bongo Boy Records recently sent me a peek into the songwriting world of Chris Pope. Pope hails from across the pond and is no unschooled slouch when it comes to pounding out bombastic bar chords of ripping, raw rock. It’s funny, when I mentioned the early punk acts above, I had no idea that Chris Pope and his band had actually been signed to a production company by Jim Pursey from Sham 69. Pope was a member of the punk mega group The Chords. The Chords, while associated with a more mod label, were far from happy with that stigma and rebelled as often as they could. The band did things their way and had many successes, including chart-topping action with tunes such as “Now It’s Gone” and “Maybe Tomorrow.”
April of 1980 saw the release of So Far Away. Remembered high points of that disc are “Breaks My Heart,” “It’s No Use” and the bodacious title-track “So Far Away.”
But when the band disintegrated in the early ’80s, Pope and longtime drummer Brett “Buddy” Ascott kept on moving, forming Agent Orange, Gatecrash Heaven and further down the road, Pope.
Pope’s consistent infatuation with three-chord rock kicks hard with this latest offering through Belvidere, New Jersey’s Bongo Boy Records. For his re-introduction into the fickle, stateside attention span crowd, Pope chose the Ray Davies composition “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” to kick off his soon-to-be-released album, Peace Of Mind. Pope worked on the disc for the last two years, and if the record is anything like the sneak peek single, Pope should be back in the USA chart action in no time at all. With new players such as Mic Stoner (Candyheads) on bass, Sandy Michie on guitar and Kenny Cooper (Pope) on drums, Chris Pope is once again poised to be back in the fast lane of international rock and roll rebellion.
The single was produced by Chris Pope over at Perry Vale Studios, located in the Forest Hill sector of London. Featuring a bevy of gritty, tube-cranked guitar salvos, Pope combines thick bass and drum action with a blitzkrieg of bar-chord power and snarling soul. Call and response choruses slam dance with string-bending leads and vicious stop and start dynamics. I particularly love the half step guitar chord pull downs in the chorus, which lend a celebratory realism left over from the days of The Vibrators and the Dead Boys.
Chris Pope is a singer in the vein of Geldof, Westerberg and Chad Price (from the band All). With a combined attack of pinpointed power and melodic sustenance, Pope is head and shoulders above the screamos, emos and barkers that infest the genre today. I’m also a big fan of his gnarly, old school playing style. If you’re into the stark, no-nonsense style from the likes of Steve Jones or Cheetah Chrome, you’re going to enjoy Pope’s riffage.
Peace Of Mind will be available shortly, and Pope will be out on a North American tour later this year. If you want to get a more detailed feel of what Pope has up his sleeve, check him out over at iTunes, CD Baby and Rhapsody. You can also get the goods at the Bongo Boy Records website, which is at bongoboyrecords.com.
Fourth Annual Sarcoidosis Awareness Fundraiser – Oct. 18 – Leggett’s Sand Bar -Manasquan, NJ
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect people of any age or nationality. And while the disease is supposedly rare, there is no solidified path to cure this disease as of yet. Longtime Shoreworld fan Cathy Wick is at the New Jersey helm in raising money to continue the push to wipe sarcoidosis out once and for all. But she needs your help. October marks Cathy’s fourth year raising monies for research, and she’s turned this into an event that combines the serious topic of a baffling disease with the good time fun of music, food and friends. The number of people affected by sarcoidosis can only be estimated due to the rate of diagnostic escape, but the Foundation For Sarcoidosis says that it affects most in the 20-40 age range, and then attacks again in a second peak period with women over 50.
And while it affects people of all races, it seems to be more prevalent with African Americans. Longtime NFL defensive end Reggie White passed away in 2004 from complications of pulmonary sarcoidosis. TV star and comedian Bernie Mac succumbed to pneumonia in 2008 after his immune system was weakened by the disease. And still, there is no quick fix, or end in site. With a fairly limited list of experimental treatments and maintenance options, time is of the essence in wiping out this disease once and for all.
In her ongoing effort to raise funds toward that goal, Cathy Wick will be welcoming all of us to her next event over at Leggett’s Sand Bar in Manasquan. Leggett’s will be supporting the fourth annual Sarcoidosis Awareness fundraiser on Oct. 18. Music will be performed by Don’t Know Jack, and there will also be various gift auctions and more. The cost is $25 in advance, and $30 at the door. That suggested donation includes a dinner buffet and drink coupon.
Hey, I know we all have friends and family that go through a variety of trials and the tribulations because of some type of serious illness. Why not take the time to join this noble battle and put a dent in sarcoidosis? I’ve always said, New Jersey music fans are always the first to step up when others need assistance, and this falls well within that volunteerism style of compassion.
So come out on Oct. 18 and have some fun while making a difference in the fight against sarcoidosis. It’s a very tough row to hoe and these folks need your help now, more than ever.
Leggett’s Sand Bar is at 217 1st Avenue, Manasquan, NJ. You can call the club at 1-732-223-3951 for further information.
For information on purchasing advance tickets or to get any further information on sarcoidosis and how you can help, email Cathy at email@example.com.
All proceeds from the night will go to the Foundation For Sarcoidosis Research located in Chicago, Illinois. stopsarcoidosis.org