POP EVIL Drummer Opens Up About Having To Work Other Jobs During Pandemic: 'I Found Myself Becoming Sad Or Angry Or Lost'
July 26, 2022
In a new interview with the "BREWtally Speaking" podcast, POP EVIL drummer Hayley Cramer spoke about how she dealt with not being able to play music with her bandmates during the first year and a half of the coronavirus pandemic. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's a really scary thing. I sat there and I was, like, 'I don't have a Plan B. I don't know who I am without being on the road.' It's a really scary place to be in. I continued to pay my bills, but it [was] not through doing what I do best. And I'm all about… When I do what I do best, I project really good energy out to people. When you follow your passion and you're doing something that you love, you can give that good energy to people. And if you're not doing what you love, it's harder to do that. And I found myself becoming sad or angry or lost. And I just had to navigate through it. And there were a lot of people that have gone through the same thing. Everything you've worked your whole life for and you've trained for…"
She continued: "There was an advert in England with this ballet dancer on it going, 'Oh, just retrain to be a computer geek.' Well, she or he trained to be a ballet dancer. That's what they do best. Support that. They're gonna give good to the world by doing that. They're not gonna give good to the world by sitting behind a computer. It was just ridiculous.
"So, yeah, anybody who's kind of gone through that and is coming through the other side, props," Hayley added. "Because it's weird. It's hard."
Back in April 2021, POP EVIL frontman Leigh Kakaty told "The Liquid Conversations" podcast that he and his bandmates "needed that rest" during the early months of the pandemic. "As much as we didn't necessarily want it at the beginning, it was important for us to rest our minds [and] bodies," he said. "I know my ears, for me personally — each bandmember was probably different. But my body was broken down. I was going through some huge [bouts] of vertigo before the lockdown. I was extremely dizzy. I don't even know how I was gonna do that tour in May  just 'cause I couldn't really stand up; I had to be laying down. So it was a rough year for me physically… It's almost like my body felt, 'Okay, you're stopping?' Then it all caught up to me — everything caught up to me, the whirlwind of all the travel.
"Being in a rock band, you have to tour so much," he continued. "There's no MTV or no TV exposure that breaks you overnight. You literally have to put the years in and just play for as many people as you can. So I think for a lot of us in the band, we really took that time to kind of just take a deep breath and go, 'Okay. Wow. We don't have to tour.' And obviously, the first few months of COVID, we were really hoping that, 'Okay, we'll be back by spring.' 'We'll be back by summer.' So right around summertime, we were finally, like, 'Okay, this is gonna be a whole year off.' And then once you got [over] the terror and the shock that we're not gonna make any money… Our touring monthly keeps the lights on, so the fact that we weren't gonna tour was devastating. And for our band, the other bandmembers had to get jobs. There wasn't no writing and creativity; they had to make money to live. So we weren't able to write.
"I don't think I was in the right frame of mind to write during COVID, 'cause it was just nerve racking," Leigh added. "None of us had been through something like that before, so there were so many more bigger issues than playing in a band, really, to be honest, that we were thinking about. I was thinking about my family, my friends, my loved ones who are older with underlying health conditions. I mean, I could care less about being in a band at that point. So once that kind of subsided, it was, like, bandmembers had to get jobs. Full time for me is POP EVIL; otherwise, if I take a job, it's over. I was trying to clean up the floor and make sure it's all dialed in. Obviously, I've gotta do all the press and all the speaking for the band; I'm that guy in this project. But in the meantime, all the other bandmembers — Hayley, our drummer, is in the U.K., she was doing what she could to work over there and make money; obviously, [she was] dealing with COVID in another country. I know the rest of us guys, in Michigan, trying to deal with that — Michigan was one of the hardest states hit. So these guys were trying to take care of their families, make any kind of extra money. And what I think it did in the long run was it really kind of instilled a confidence. Lately, when I've been talking to the bandmembers, there's such a respect that we have for each other differently now. I don't think anyone's afraid now to come home, if we have months off. Everyone knows now they can go to that mom-and-pop store and work for a few weeks and then go back on the bus. I think before that, it was terrifying. It was, like, 'If we don't play a show, we're screwed. What are we gonna do?' So I'm hoping that it's built a lot of confidence with our bandmembers to be, like, 'Okay, look, if we don't play for a few months, that's fine.' We can take of ourselves now. We're here, and we don't need to oversaturate the markets with POP EVIL."
Last month, Cramer married her girlfriend, fellow drummer Siân Monaghan.
Session drummer Siân is best known as the driving force behind psyche-pop artist SHE DREW THE GUN, though her career has seen her drumming with a range of artists, including CHINA CRISIS, THE WANDERING HEARTS, Derek Forbes (SIMPLE MINDS) and FINK.
POP EVIL celebrated its seventh career No. 1 single on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart in late 2021 with "Survivor" marking a historic milestone. "Survivor" joined the previous Top 10 single "Work" and No. 1 single "Breathe Again" from POP EVIL's latest album "Versatile", out now via MNRK Heavy. Over the course of its career, POP EVIL has achieved four gold singles with "Torn To Pieces" and "Trenches" from "Onyx", "Footsteps" from "Up" and "100 In A 55" from the band's debut studio album, "Lipstick On The Mirror".