By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Though the Soda Pop Kids technically make their home in Portland, Oregon, these days, it's still tempting to lay claim to them as a Denver band. Before their relocation to the same rock-and-roll mecca that stole Strangers Die Everyday from us, vocalist Jonny P. Jewels and guitarist-vocalist Diet D made a big impression on our little scene when they played in the late, lamented Kill City Thrillers. Zachariah Brookswith (née Brooks) broke strings in Scott Baio Army and Call Sign Cobra. Once these erstwhile Queen Citizens settled in the great Northwest, Portland bassist Tony Mengis and nomadic drummer Alan Torres joined them to form the lineup that will roll back into town this week.
While this is a homecoming of sorts for the Kids, there's also greater cause for celebration. The outfit's sophomore full-length, titled Teen Bop Dream,has just been released on Full Breach Kicks. Building on the glam-a-billy sound of their debut, the new record is a fast-paced, full-flavored soundtrack for protracted adolescence. The band's free-spirited sound and stage show borrows liberally from hedonists like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, with a heaping helping of Marc Bolan and the New York Dolls thrown in for glamour's sake. The new album flawlessly captures the quintet's boundless energy and relentless pursuit of rockin' fun. We recently grabbed a few minutes with four of the Kids to hear their thoughts on the record and their feelings about returning home.
Westword: What's the first thing you do when you come to Denver?
Diet D: The first thing we do is find any of our friends that live in Five Points and cruise around in their pickup trucks, searching for handlebar mustaches.
Jonny P. Jewels: We also try to spend a lot of time at Water World. We sneak in with our old Splash Passes.
What do you miss most about Denver?
DD: The biggest thing is the fact that you can have a show with four bands that are completely different. [In Portland], it's very strictly defined genres. Lineups have all the same kind of bands.
Why is Portland better than Denver?
JPJ: You can breathe a little easier. It's better for your skin, because there's more moisture. It has certainly put a spry pep in our step.
The Soda Pop Kids are all about being a teenager forever. If you could choose a decade in which to be a teenager, which one would it be?
Alan Torres: 2006.
DD: I don't think that's a decade. I think I'd pick the '60s, because we like the girl groups so much. Motown was going strong.
Tony Mengis: As long as it's the early '60s and not the late '60s.
JPJ: Did you know the Strawberry Alarm Clock is still playing? We played with them, and one of the members told us that we really needed to change our band name. I think he forgot he's in a band called Strawberry Alarm Clock.