Meet the Night Sweats: Bassist Joseph Pope III

Joseph Pope III (third from left) with the rest of the Night Sweats.
Joseph Pope III (third from left) with the rest of the Night Sweats.
Malia James

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats will release their self-titled debut album this Friday on the legendary Stax Records. Last week's Westword cover story details Rateliff's long history in the Denver music scene. But every member of the band has been a notable contributor to the city's creative community. Over the next several days, we'll introduce you to them. 

Past Denver Bands: Born in the Flood, the Wheel, Fairchildren, Seven Hats, Centennial, Dust on the Breakers, Bad Weather California

Current Denver Bands: Miss America by Wheary, Bluebook

Instrument in the Night Sweats: Bass

Not long after Joseph Pope III and Nathaniel Rateliff met in Hermann, Missouri, more than two decades ago, the two started jamming together. One night, Rateliff played a song on his guitar for Pope, and the next day Pope, who’d already been playing trumpet, started playing guitar. “We worked at Subway together, and he played a song on the acoustic for me one night and I just felt this grip,” Pope says. “You know, like, ‘You need to do this with this guy and help him out along the way.’ We were kids in church, so it felt like a biblical prophecy kind of thing. It felt very fateful.”

They were around fifteen years old at the time, but it didn’t long for the two to start a band, with Pope writing a lot of the songs and Rateliff mostly playing lead guitar and singing harmony. (Pope says Rateliff was a bit scared of leading a band at the time until he eventually built up confidence and started taking things over.) The two have been collaborating ever since, forming Born in the Flood after moving to Denver, and working together for Rateliff’s solo project the Wheel and in Miss America by Wheary, Pope’s project with his wife, Julie Davis; the latter also includes Night Sweats drummer Patrick Meese. Pope and Davis also collaborated in Fairchildren, Seven Hats and, more recently, in Bluebook. 


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