BIG STIR RECORDS continues our celebration of the legacy of POPSICKO with the release of a new double A-side digital single, “Ashtray Mouth” b/w “Same Old Me”, setting the stage for major news on the long-awaited first-time-on-vinyl reissue of the beloved Santa Barbara band’s only album. The new release pairs an exclusive non-album track “Ashtray Mouth” sung and written the band's much-missed late frontman KEITH BROWN with “Same Old Me”, a cut written & sung by guitarist TIM CULLEN (who would go on to form and front SUMMERCAMP). The “Ashtray Mouth” / “Same Old Me” double single sees release on February 10 and is up for pre-order and pre-save at https://orcd.co/popsicko-double-a-side now, with details on LP reissue to follow soon.
Legends of their regional music scene and beloved on the road, POPSICKO possessed everything it took to rule the airwaves in the '90s heyday of the alternative rock & punk-edged power pop sound: the jagged guitars, sweet hooks, acerbic lyrics, and, in the late Keith Brown, an electrifying frontman capable of crafting indelible and often heartbreakingly beautiful tunes. Seemingly destined to join the ranks of generational peers like Weezer and Green Day (with whom they shared stages several times) in the mid-'90s wake of Nirvana, the band's trajectory was tragically halted by the death of Brown in a car accident in late 1995. The songs left behind are cherished by those who were there, and await discovery by those who love the perfect loud fast pop song delivered with raw power, conviction and passion.
Big Stir Records has already reignited interest in the POPSICKO sound with the single “Nastassja,” paired upon release with a heartfelt oral history of the band penned by rock writer S.W. Lauden (a close friend of Brown and the band) published in The Santa Barbara Independent. This single brings us one step closer to the 2023 re-release of OFF TO A BAD START in a limited vinyl edition packaged with an expanded book version of the oral history with contributions by all of the surviving band members and full-color images of Popsicko memorabilia (flyers, set lists, original handwritten lyrics, photos, etc.) unearthed from the band’s personal archives.
The tracks on offer here demonstrate the depth of both the album and the potential for so much more. Looking back and listening again now, Popsicko bassist MARKO DESANTIS (known for his subsequent work with SUGARCULT and BAD ASTRONAUT) says: “I’m proud of the work we did in our day, but even more so, I’m amazed at how well the songs we made still hold up now, nearly 30 years later! After Off to a Bad Start we wrote & recorded a bunch of new songs. One of my favorites of the bunch was 'Ashtray Mouth'; that song represents the darker, heavier direction we were headed as a band. It’s both a clue as to what our next album might have sounded like, and sadly a candid insight into the demons Keith was battling at the time.” Meanwhile, Cullen's album track “Same Old Me” stands as a sign of more positive things to come in his own work: it was singled out by Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett (a close friend of the band and contributor to the oral history book) as his favorite Popsicko song.
POPSICKO's music has more than stood the test of time, as underground rock fans worldwide are about to discover. “The description of our music is supposed to be in our name,” Brown was known to say of the band, and those who suffer from the malady of craving a new dose songs in the spirit of bands like The Replacements, Cheap Trick, Soul Asylum and Nirvana, will find a cure that's been there all along in the rediscovered music of POPSICKO. Expect details on the LP reissue this Spring from Big Stir Records.