Chains (Big Stir Digital Single No. 21)
The 21st BIG STIR DIGITAL SINGLE, "Chains" b/w "Dream Baby", arrives Friday, March 22, courtesy of the Orange County, CA collective POPDUDES. The well-known band centers around drummer and noted rock journalist JOHN BORACK (their recent and celebrated album Maximum Rock Stupidity came bundled with Borack's equally praised power pop guidebook Shake Some Action 2.0). The band features a revolving "who's who" from the OC and LA pop rock scenes, including (this time out) BORACK (drums), MICHAEL SIMMONS (guitar), Big Stir Records' own ADDISON LOVE (guitar and lead vocals on "Chains") and Addison's father TIM LOVE (bass and lead vocals on "Dream Baby"). Both tracks are available for preorder now at the link below.
The following is an excerpt from BORACK's Popdudes tell-all tome Behind the Stupidity (which may or may not be real):
The whole thing started as sort of a joke. And in many ways, it still is.
I first met Mike Simmons in 1998 after I spied a CD by his band, sparkle*jets u.k., at the counter of a local record store. I contacted him, we connected on a fellow Beatles/pop geek level, and we’ve been pals ever since.
I think it was around 2001 when we first recorded music together at Mike’s old home studio in Fullerton, California. I was visiting Mike with my then three-year-old daughter Kayla, and we all somehow found our way down to the studio. Mike pressed the “record” button, and we lurched through several spirited-yet-silly takes of the Beatles’ “I’m Down” as Kayla danced. That fateful occurrence would come to be known as The Day Mike Simmons Would Forever Regret.
I’m joking. Sort of.
From that point on, Mike and I would get together sporadically and record stuff, mainly covers. Some of it would never see the light of day (thankfully), while other songs found their way onto various compilations and tribute albums. It was Mike who decided we would be called Popdudes, which, as some might know, is a portion of my email address. (Well, we couldn’t be called Hotmail, right?) Silly name, silly band…perfecto!
At some point in the story – details become foggier with each passing year – we started playing live gigs now and again. The “studio version” of Popdudes, as it were, was originally just Mike and myself, with me on drums and Mike playing everything else because the guy is just stupidly talented like that. But when live gigs started happening, we of course needed other folks to lend a hand. That’s when Popdudes became something of an L.A.-area pop music collective, with everybody and their brother joining us on stage (and sometimes in the studio) from time to time.
The version of Popdudes you hear on these two previously unreleased recordings feature me, Simmons, and the father-son dynamic duo of Tim and Addison Love. Four bigger Beatles geeks you'll never meet, which is why we cover a song here that the Fab Four also covered - The Cookies' "Chains" (sung by Addison). Tim Love handles lead vocals on the flip side, a reverent cover of Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby."
Both songs were tracked as we ran through them prior to a series of live shows in 2016. Unbeknownst to me, Simmons was recording our rehearsal and he used my drum tracks as the foundation for both these tunes. I would have played better had I known we were making a record…but then again, maybe I wouldn’t have. Anyway, here they are: these are new phase POPDUDES recordings; in comes the warmth and the freshness of a live performance; as reproduced for disc by Michael Simmons.
-John M. Borack, 2019
(Big Stir Records notes that the artwork for the single is also provided by Mr. Simmons as he is, as noted above, stupidly talented.)