In the mid ’90s, Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape started My Records. His first release was Happy Meals, a fun compilation featuring bands like Nerf Herder, Bodyjar and Armchair Martian I still play every now and then. Back then of course, compilation CDs were the go-to strategy to discover new bands. In this case, there were several bands unknown to me that stood out. But the song I was blown away the most was the perfect powerpop of Against You by Popsicko. Naturally, I started looking for more music of this band, and was shocked to read that the frontman of the band (Keith Morris) had recently died in a car accident. An thus, the band’s output was limited to only one full length album, the ominously titled Off To A Bad Start. It’s a great collection of alt-pop, powerpop and pop punk songs, and a bittersweet document of a band on the verge of breaking out. The remaining Popsicko members went on to play in bands like Summercamp, The Rentals, Sugarcult and Bad Astronaut.
Now, 25 years later, Popsicko is getting renewed recognition thanks to Big Stir Records, who decided to release a standalone single of the stellar Popsicko song Nastassja, with Gettin’ Used To You on the flipside. Not only is there a great joy in revisiting these songs, and rediscovering the sheer power of the songwriting of Popsicko, it’s also great to read more about the band. The Santa Barbara Independent published an oral history of Popsicko last week that is full of interesting facts and includes quotes from members of bands like Nerf Herder, Lagwagon, Pennywise and Foo Fighters. Its author, S.W. Lauden (who also drums in The Brothers Steve), wrote an accompanying piece about his personal connection to the band as well. Both articles and the Big Stir release are well timed, well deserved and sincere tributes to a heartfelt and soulful band that may be gone, but not without leaving a lasting legacy.