The Mopes started out with some silly songs written by Dan Vapid and B-Face while on the road with the Queers. They promised each other they’d record them at some point but both of them were pretty busy with their other bands, Screeching Weasel and the Queers. Vapid first shared their goofy hit, Do the Hairball, with me while riding a city bus through Chicago together, where he explained the dance and sang the tune of the song.
Then one afternoon in early 1997, Vapid showed up at John Jughead’s house with an acoustic guitar and no explanation. Jughead was no slouch, so he invited him in and they started messing around with some of the songs Vapid had written with B-Face. It kept happening. After working out some songs together, John and Vapid invited Squirtgun’s Dan Lumley over to accompany them on drums. Since they were playing together in an apartment with neighbors, Lumley fashioned a drum set out of cardboard boxes. From an original idea by B-Face and Vapid, and filled out by John and Lumley, the Mopes were officially born.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving weekend 1997 when they laid down the tracks for a CDEP worth of poppy punk rock, catchy instrumentals, and goofy 60’s style stuff – plus a hidden track – with Mass Giorgini at his Sonic Iguana Studio in Lafayette, Indiana. That’s another thing, the Mopes only record on holidays.
The Mopes are either past or current members of some high pedigree bands from Chicago and Boston. But they’ve asked that we don’t dwell on that fact. Let’s just say, another great thing about the Mopes is that separately they are all known for writing and/or performing some of the greatest pop-punk ever. Ever. And I’m not just saying that because I got to put some of it out. These four men are national treasures.
So if these four are so amazing in their other bands, what happens when they get together? In February 1999, they answered that question when they put the finishing touches on their debut album. Sure B-Face had to drive all the way from Massachusetts to Lafayette, Indiana to spend one day doing his bass parts, and Jughead had to drive down each day to record his parts and then drive back to Chicago to do a nightly show at a local theatre, and sure they only had one proper rehearsal with amps and real drums before recording the first EP and no real practice before doing the album, but somehow the Mopes managed to make one of the best pop punk records I have heard in a long time. It somehow combining the pop elements of Green Day with backbeat punk of the Riverdales into a concoction that is unique, catchy as fuck, and totally original.
You probably want to know what is gonna happen with the Mopes. Another thing, they are not a pet project. Regardless of whatever else they have going on, and the fact that they each Mope lives in a different state, the Mopes are a bon fide band. Brand spanking new, but 100% for real. Pass around cigars and let’s celebrate!
L235 Lookout! Freakout
L215 Forward Till Death
L230 Accident Waiting To Happen
Compact Disc / 12″ Vinyl
L202 Low Down Two Bit Sidewinder