In 2000, with the last embers of his namesake punk-rock band finally extinguished, Joe Popp left Tampa Bay for New York Citys greener creative pastures. Joe Popp, the band which included bassist Martin Rice and late drummer Jeff Wood was perhaps the last local rock group to pack em in at venues like the State Theatre.
Popp (his real name, he swears), who has maintained solid ties to Tampa Bay, returns for a couple of acoustic gigs this weekend.
Hes currently the technical director for the Sonic Arts Center program at City College of New York, where he designs studios, builds amplifiers and oversees the centers facilities. He enjoys educational benefits, a light schedule and a one-year paid sabbatical coming up this fall. It is, he says, a great job. Popp has continued to make music on the side, be it a band gig with friends in New York or a rock musical, Maxwell, which he wrote and produced with Jobsite Theater in 2002.
But Popp has just about had his fill of the Big Apple. Its just so expensive to live here, he says, and sharing walls with people is getting really old.
His show at the Globe will feature a hodgepodge of guest-musician friends (Ami Sallee Corley, Scott Harrell, John McNicholas, Will Quinlan and Martin Rice, among others) while his set at Skippers will feature only one or two sit-ins.
What will he be playing? Just singer/songwriter-type stuff, he says with a laugh, and adds, I never thought Id say that. He Elaborates: Ill be playing my [rock] songs in a more low-key way, instead of screaming and destroying things and all that.
Joe Popp, Sat., April 4, Globe Coffee Lounge, St. Petersburg, and at the Old School Tampa Reunion Party and Concert, Sun., April 5, Skippers Smokehouse, Tampa, 5 p.m., $10.