Rock-driven band Pop Evil comes to Kent

Courtney Kerrigan

Its hit song “100 in a 55” has made it popular on the radio, and its even been named best new rock artist of the year in 2008 by iTunes, but on the road Pop Evil dominates with bands such as Judas Priest, White Snake and Saving Abel.

The band will be playing at JB’s on Water Street on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. with Downplay and Red Sun Rising.

George Cappellini, manager of Pop Evil and graduate of Kent State, said he is excited for the band to play at his alma mater.

Growing up together in western Michigan, singer Leigh Kakaty, drummer Dylan Allison and guitarist Dave Grahs began playing together for fun but became more serious as they progressed through college.

“We got out of our athletic shoes and more into our musician shoes,” Grahs said.

Over the years, the band has evolved and added more players including bassist Matt DiRito and guitarist Tony Greve in 2007.

As the name got bigger, Pop Evil began playing shows and writing music as much as it could. Together, it created a name for itself and soon landed its first song on the radio.

Now ten years later and on the record label Universal Republic since February, Pop Evil is taking its rock driven music all over the United States and Canada.

The band has been on tour since June 2008 and hopes to keep going as long as it can.

Grahs said the band’s name is about the extreme. It derives from their ability to go from playing extreme rock to extreme acoustic, which inspired them while growing up on the Great Lakes.

With the inspiration of Kid Rock and Guns N’ Roses, Pop Evil is focused on making a sound of its own in places where people want to listen, such as Nashville and their home state of Michigan.

“We don’t focus on what the sound is; we just do what we like to play and lead by example with that,” Grahs said.

Although being on the road away from family and friends can cause roadblocks along the way, Grahs admitted it’s all worth it.

“At the end of the day, being able to write music that people all over the country and hopefully one day the world can relate to and be helped by makes everything worth while,” Grahs said.

Contact features correspondent Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected]