Nastassja (Big Stir Single No. 140)
BIG STIR RECORDS invites you to discover and celebrate the legacy of POPSICKO, with the first-ever standalone single release of the much-missed Santa Barbara band's classics “Nastassja” b/w “Gettin' Used To You”. The new digital single is out now, up for download at www.bigstirrecords.com/popsicko and www.bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com and streaming everywhere July 16. Legends of their music scene and beloved on the road, POPSICKO possessed everything it took to rule the airwaves in the '90s heyday of the pop punk sound: the jagged guitars and rocket-fueled rhythms, the sweet hooks, and, in Keith Brown, an electrifying frontman capable of crafting indelible and often heartbreakingly beautiful tunes. Seemingly destined to join the ranks of Weezer and Green Day (with whom they shared stages) on the charts, the band's trajectory was tragically halted by the 1995 death of Brown in a car accident.
The songs left behind are cherished by those who were there, and await discovery by those who love the perfect short-and-sweet pop song delivered with power and passion. “Nastassja” is just that, emblematic of POPSICKO's charm and energy in their prime and the potential for what could have been. The lead track and its flip side, the tough, tender and radio-ready “Gettin' Used To You”, both featured on the band's sole and too-long-out-of-print album OFF TO A BAD START, an auspicious debut which drew comparisons to The Replacements, Cheap Trick, early Soul Asylum and Nirvana. The surviving members would go on to build impressive resumés of their own – guitarist Tim Cullen with his band Summercamp and solo career, bassist Marko DeSantis with Sugarcult and Bad Astronaut, and drummer Mick Flowers with stints in bands including The Rentals, but the music they created with Brown has stayed close to their hearts.
“No doubt had Popsicko stayed together, they’d have been at the very forefront of the ‘90s pop punk explosion,” says Pat DiPuccio, co-founder of Flipside fanzine, and contemporaneous reviews of the band's celebrated live sets and the debut album bear out that claim. “Living up to its name and then some, these Santa Barbara pop rockers evoke memories of the late great Plimsouls, except with more (and better) guitars,” the LA Times wrote on the occasion of one of the band's many West Coast tours, and the band's hometown alternative weekly The Santa Barbara Independent noted in a cover story that the band played “songs stocked with simple chords and catchy refrains that you can shout along to, yet blissfully devoid of overproduction and triteness.... This is rock and roll that’s informed of every pop music phase since the British Invasion, yet reinvents itself like none of it ever happened.”
All of that is abundantly clear on Off To A Bad Start, a record that's gone too little heard since its 1994 release. The new single is just the start of an attempt to rectify that, as the surviving members of Popsicko, Brown's family and Big Stir Records hope to draw the global pop community's attention to a lost chapter of a vibrant local scene and the history of '90s guitar pop as a whole. “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 that perfect pop tune shot through with punk abandon and glam finesse will find a cure that's been there all along in the music of POPSICKO. With the “Nastassja” single and more news to come in the months ahead, they'll have another chance to discover it.