Interview: Pop Evil’s ChaChi Riot

By Conner Wight

Published on Saturday, July 26, 2014

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk with the drummer of Pop Evil, a rock band who is on a steady rise. They’ve been doing a lot of touring lately in support of their 2013 release “Onyx”.

Conner: “You guys have been touring a lot lately, which has kind of been the main thing. However the first question is there any new material or song titles out there yet?”

ChaChi: “Yeah, there’s always new work. The way we operate as a band is everyone writes on their own throughout the year at their own pace. Then when we’re ready to go in to pre-production, we’ll sit down as a band, and get in a room together and start throwing out ideas which will probably happen around January. At this point, there are definitely ideas being thought up, but there isnt any serious writing or song titles yet.”

Conner: “A lot of people would agree that you are getting better with each record. How do you feel about your progression as a band?”

ChaChi: “I would definitely like to think we’re getting better with each record. We’re getting more mature, more experienced, and we’re finding our sound. “Onyx” was the first record with this current line-up so we’ve definitely matured not only in personality but also in goals, life, and music. It’s very much a career for us now and I feel like we have grown-up emotions and opinions and that comes through music. We want to continue to make music to help people, music that has a purpose.”

Conner: “You guys are hitting the road soon on Uproar Festival with some really big names. You’ve got Godsmack, Seether…how excited are you to tour with those guys and how do you feel about how that helps your recognition?”

ChaChi: “Yeah I’m stoked man! We did a really short run with Godsmack last year and it was definitely not long enough. They’re great to us, we love all those guys. They’re a juggernaut when it comes to rock. They can play two and a half hours. They’re also in support of a new record so congratulations to them. So we’re super excited to be back out with Godsmack and

ChaChi Riot in action!  (Photo by our own Chip Tamplin)

ChaChi Riot in action!
(Photo by our own Chip Tamplin)

those guys, I love watching them play. Seether is another band we’ve been out with before but it’s been a really long time. In all honestly, I love their first record. Their most recent album is one of my favorites they’ve ever released. I absolutely love “Words As Weapons”. Being around as long as they have, it’s great to still see them making great songs and they do a great job of staying relevant. They’re very inspiring for a band like us. We’re stoked for Uproar Festival and for our future.”

Conner: “With the fact that you’ve been touring so much, what two bands plus Pop Evil would be your dream tour?”

ChaChi: “I think for me,  I would have to say Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. I’m a pretty massive Dave Grohl fan and I would be honored to share the stage with those guys.

Conner: “Hopefully they see this article and reach out to you!”

ChaChi: “Absolutely!”

Conner: “What would you say is your favorite song to play live?”

ChaChi: “Tough question! I think probably “Trenches”  is one of my favorites. Not necessarily just for the drumming, but for the excitement of the crowd. “Deal With the Devil” is the same thing. The crowd gets so excited. I feed off their energy, they feed off my energy…it’s a really great three and a half minutes. Those are definitely two of my favorites. We definitely thank the fans for making them the hits that they are and if it weren’t for the excitement and the reactions, we wouldn’t be where we are. I love seeing the fan’s excitement and the feedback at the live shows.”

Conner: “A lot of people aren’t really sure what life on the road is really like. It’s not exactly the most glamorous of things, so could you provide a little insight on what life on the road is like for you guys?”

ChaChi: “There are tons of ups and downs, just like any career. We live in a bus with twelve people. Basically, the tour bus is a really awesome car and a pretty small house. So, being that twelve of us live together, it can be cramped and a little bit claustrophobic. You do get an opportunity to do things every day so you can get off the bus. I’m a pretty big supporter of Crossfit, so where ever I’m at, I check out local sites if possible. I blog about a lot of my tour experiences. My blog is I post not only about touring but there is a section on there about tour life and how our days go. Some things aren’t what you would expect. Like we don’t always have the ability to go to a grocery store if we’re hungry since we don’t have a car. Basically, tour life is what you make of it and I’m very thankful to be doing what I’m doing for a living and that all of my hard work is starting to pay off.”

Conner: “It’s definitely payed off! What are some of your favorite North American cities to play in?”

ChaChi: “Holy moly, tough question! It’s pretty hard to top our hometown. There’s a lot of cities that have just kind of come out of no where. I love playing Flint, Michigan because it’s such a special place to me. A few that aren’t as expected, I love playing Baltimore, Maryland at Rams Head Live. I love playing Madison, Wisconsin. Madison has been an amazing city to us. Chicago, Illinois has also been really really awesome. I also like Kansas City out there in the true midwest, rock is very much alive and strong in that part of the country, which is awesome. We’ve been to a lot of places that are great.”

Conner: “Looks like we’ve got time for one more question. Thanks for your time ChaChi! Could you share with us a funny story from when you’ve been out on the road?”

ChaChi: “Before I joined Pop Evil, I was in another band and we were opening up for Theory of a Deadman and Black Stone Cherry in Grand Rapids. We had just finished our show, we were the opening band. My adrenaline was racing and I was just so pumped from the huge crowd. I was outside the venue and this guy walks up and he was dressed casual. He told me that we had a great gig. I told him that I appreciated it, but I was trying to rush to go see the other bands. Turns out he was a drummer too, so we were making small talk about drums and he said I played really well. I told him it was nice to meet him and that my name was ChaChi, and it turned out that he was the drummer of Theory of a Deadman. All the guys in Theory of a Deadman are really close friends, I love those guys, I stay in touch with those dudes regularly. But yeah when he told me he was the drummer of Theory of a Deadman I was just like Oh! Okay!”

Conner: “Pretty funny story! Looks like we are out of time. Thanks a lot for your time!”

ChaChi: “For sure!”

You can catch ChaChi and Pop Evil on the Uproar Festival Tour this August/September.


~Conner Wight

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