Revelation Records and Calling Hours are excited to announce the Friday, November 10 release of Say Less, the debut showcase from the east coast punk/rock band featuring veteran vocalist Popeye Vogelsang (Farside) and members of Don’t Sleep. An outcome of various collaborations, Say Less revisits the band members’ melodic punk sensibilities while working in a decidedly contemporary direction. Produced by the legendary Brian McTernan (Turnstile, Hot Water Music, Thrice), Say Less is also a deep dive into the feelings of displacement and discomfort that punctuated Popeye’s move from California to Pennsylvania a few years back—a meditation on the intersection of sense of place and sense of self.
Accompanying the announcement is the windows-down, heartland punk of “Curtain Call,” an obvious single choice to lead the album because it begins with Popeye’s unmistakable vocals being heard front and center. “It’s an instant reminder to Popeye’s fans from his days singing in Farside that his voice is simultaneously uplifting and heavy, soulful and gritty, and powerful and vulnerable,” bassist Garrett Rothman said. “For many of his fans, hearing his voice on ‘Curtain Call’ will be like running into an old friend you haven’t seen in years – all the good feelings from the past will immediately come rushing back to you.”
The official story of Calling Hours more accurately begins in 2021, but for vocalist Popeye Vogelsang, the story actually unfolds a few years earlier.
“I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a 1940s building in Los Angeles,” he recalls. “It was a seven-minute walk to Trader Joe’s, an eight-minute walk to my bank, and a nine-minute walk to the post office. I was doing voiceover work full-time. When I had free time, I’d walk to one of the local parks and have a sandwich under a tree. It was like living inside of the Andy Griffith show—like I was living in Mayberry, where every day was a sunny day.”
As an established fixture in Southern California—both personally and creatively as the former frontman for melodic hardcore greats Farside—there was little in his routine to suggest at that point that Popeye’s life was headed for any sort of major change. It felt like an ideal life, in fact, until it didn’t. “It was very solitary, and I guess I was OK with that—or at least I told myself that I was OK with that—until I met the woman who is now my wife,” he explains. “That absolutely changed everything.”
Among those changes, Popeye uprooted his entire life to move cross-country to the decidedly less metropolitan city of Scranton, PA, where he would eventually come to meet the rest of his new band—guitarists Thomas McGrath and Tony Bavaria, bassist Garrett Rothman, and drummer Jim Bedorf—at the tail end of 2021. That’s when The Commercials, a band of local heroes featuring McGrath and Bavaria, invited Popeye to open a New Years Eve reunion show they were planning. That invitation quickly evolved into the duo offering to become the core of a backing band for Popeye to play with that night, and then eventually, into the idea of becoming a new band altogether—bringing in Rothman and Bedorf from Don’t Sleep. “And stupid me, I raised my hand and said, ‘Well, I’m not doing anything. You wanna send me some demos and maybe we can do something?’,” Popeye laughs.
And while the Calling Hours story is still very much being written, the singer credits that displacement with the courage to make a dedicated return to his musical life so many years after Farside’s quiet ending. “At some point reality sets in and I think you tend to get a little more introspective in a different way,” he says. “I very much understood that if I moved out here, my voiceover career would very possibly take a huge nose dive, and it did. I was barely making any money. The honeymoon was over, and that was pretty much my life. So I wrote about that.”
“There’s a sadness to his lyrics, but it’s super relatable,” Rothman adds. “‘Cardboard and Aluminum’ is basically about when it feels like your life is falling apart, like it’s being held together by duct tape.” When he sings, “Trade in my sunscreen for a different dream,” in “Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?”, there’s a clear sense that Popeye’s move to Pennsylvania is part of a dream still unfolding.
“Ultimately, I always come back to the fact that I have a much better life now than I did in 2018,” he summarizes with certainty. “It’s enhanced, it’s upgraded, it’s messier, and it’s more complicated. But it’s better because this life can actually lead to some very great things.”
Say Less track list:
- Cardboard & Aluminum
- Curtain Call
- Gin Perry
- Low End Theory
- Why Did It Have To Be Snakes?
- Heavy Future
- Alex Chilton