POP EVIL frontman Leigh Kakaty spoke to "The Liquid Conversations" podcast about how he and his bandmates have been dealing with their coronavirus downtime. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "For the band personally, we needed that rest. As much as we didn't necessarily want it at the beginning, it was important for us to rest our minds [and] bodies. 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 — last 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 [Cramer], 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."
POP EVIL's sixth full-length album, "Versatile", will be released on May 21 via Entertainment One (eOne).
"Versatile" will be made available on CD exclusively via Target, which will offer a two- disc deluxe edition. The second disc duplicates the track listing from their 2020 "#1's" LP; which was pressed on 180-gram opaque gold vinyl and featured all of the band's No. 1 singles up until now.