The classic parental torture method “go to your room” is meant to inflict annoyance and life lessons onto misbehaving children, and it’s a punishment Alex Oliver admits he was familiar with growing up. However, for him the chastising might have sparked more than just good manners.
Banished to his bedroom, alone, Oliver would listen to pop music on his FM radio and watch ‘60s television. He jokes, “When you lock up a kid like that, something is bound to happen.”
That “something” is Poppermost, which Oliver categorizes as a “creative musical and visual co-op” rather than simply a band. Consisting of Oliver and his musical partner Roy Al Rendahl, the project is designed to combine music with educational live-action and cartoon videos – though only the former has come fully into fruition. “I envision it as sort of a combination of Sesame Street and The Monkees,” Oliver explains.
If the concept seems too Schoolhouse Rock, the music itself isn’t. There are no songs following the process of a bill on Capitol Hill. Instead, Poppermost is classic sunshine pop music, which often pulls inspiration from bands like The Mamas and the Papas.
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenAll About You
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenAngel Wings
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenBang Bang
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenBang Bang Rock Version
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenBitter Suite
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenChristine Purple Star
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenErika III
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenFamily Christmas Tree
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenGabriella Sasparilla
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenIsabella Vina
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenKristen
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenLady in Waiting
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenLet It Shine
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenLiv Says
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenMyself
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenOne More MIle
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenSaturday Night
- Adobe Flash Player Required to listenWishing Well
“Popular music cuts a little deeper than a lot of people think,” Oliver says. “Pop music is a signpost. It shows us where we’ve been. It shows us where we are, pretty much where we’re going. It’s not just random graffiti that happens from decade to decade to decade.”
Oliver believes teaching kids the history of rock ‘n’ roll can be just as beneficial as teaching them trigonometry. He wants to help children embrace their creativity. After all, he’s seen the positive influence music can have. He’s lived it.
“I come from South Central Los Angeles,” he says. “Statistically speaking, I should either be in jail, or I should be dead, or I should be somewhere out there just being instead of actually producing anything.”
He credits his public school music classes and his mother for fostering his love for The Beatles with keeping him from a beaten path. He worries about the effects of budget cuts on state education systems.
Oliver continues, “I wonder sometimes about the kid who doesn’t get so lucky, doesn’t have the creative arts classes, doesn’t have the music classes. Where ultimately is he going to go to in order release his creativity? Chances are it’ll be graffiti on a wall or a bus.”
To spread their message of enlightenment, Poppermost opts to skip live performances altogether. Instead the band focuses on trying to create a strong web presence. They believe they’ve succeeded. The band regularly makes it onto the Weekly’s most downloaded charts. A yearlong contest that began in 2008 asked fans to submit short essays on topics, with the winners receiving a song written by Poppermost. It received more entries than expected.
The winning songs will collectively form Poppermost’s next album, By Your Inspiration, due out early 2010. When it does come out, the band won’t promote with local shows. They’ll move on to the next song, the next vision.
“It’s so much work (to perform live),” Rendhal says. “I would rather just make music, make good music.”