Michigan quintet Pop Evil have been mainstream rock hitmakers since 2008, the year their first album, Lipstick on the Mirror, was released. The band has already garnered five No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart, with the most recent, “Waking Lions,” coming from 2018’s self-titled fifth album. However, its latest single, “A Crime to Remember” — which reaches a new peak of No. 27 on the chart dated June 2 — has the potential for airplay beyond active rock, and its newly released video could help get it there.
Directed by Columbia Tatone, the clip for “A Crime to Remember” shows scenes of protest and of a diverse group of people holding signs, interspersed with shots of the band performing. The refrain of the song that asks, “Are we divided, are we united,” paired with the imagery in the video, makes for an inspirational clip. And while there have been plenty of national protests in the past several years, singer Leigh Kakaty says that the song wasn’t written about one incident in particular. “Lyrically, we wanted to take a positive approach in order to create awareness for our listeners,” he says. “We wanted to spread a message that change is needed to stop hate and to try and love one another.”
While those that hold the signs and appear in the video aren’t actual protestors, they’re not professional actors, either. Kakaty calls them “people who wanted to come together to help inspire others.” The messages on the signs — which say such things as “It stops now,” “Strength in numbers” and “I fear not” — are vague but inspirational. Pop Evil has kept its political leanings to itself in the past, and even with the message behind the “A Crime to Remember” clip, it’s not showing its hand. “We just try to write music that moves us and hope it helps others,” says Kakaty. “The band is constantly growing, both on and off the stage, and we feel it’s important to not shy away on any issues/themes that are important to us.”
While “A Crime to Remember” is well-crafted and thought-provoking even without taking a stand for one issue in particular, to many in the music industry — especially the band — the beginning of the video may be the most emotional part of it. It starts with a dedication to Kato Khandwala, the album’s producer. Khandwala, who also had worked with such names as The Pretty Reckless, Drowning Pool and Blondie, died April 25 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. “Kato Khandwala meant the world to our band,” says Kakaty. “He became a brother and a very important figure in our musical career. We lost a very special part of our PE family. We miss him dearly and now want to honor him by taking this album as far as we can to help add to his legacy.”
Pop Evil will get a chance to do that this summer by touring arenas with two iconic bands from different decades, Cheap Trick and Poison. (For tour dates, go here.) The band is looking forward to it, with Kakaty calling it an honor. “They both are legendary bands and some of the most down-to-earth people we’ve ever met,” he says. “We felt this tour was a great opportunity for us to showcase our music to a whole new audience who may not be listening to new rock music otherwise.”