[Aural Reports] International Pop Overthrow Brings World-Class Melodies to OC

David Bash's International Pop Overthrow fest is all about good melodies, strong harmonies and strong hooks

Tune In, Turn On, Pop Out
International Pop Overthrow Wants to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony

"Pop" isn't a dirty word. Just ask International Pop Overthrow founder David Bash.

What is International Pop Overthrow?

International Pop Overthrow is a pop music festival that's been in existence since 1998. We do it in various cities across the United States and Canada, as well as Liverpool, England. Each International Pop Overthrow, or IPO, features some of the best pop and rock bands from around the world.

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What's the guiding philosophy of the IPO?

The aim is always to get exposure for worthy pop bands, to give them the opportunity to play in front of people who would really dig what they do, and hopefully in front of people in the industry as well.

What was it that inspired you to create IPO?

In the mid-'90s, I was writing reviews for several different fanzines, and I would get to know bands whose CDs I was reviewing—bands from all over the world—and a lot of them conveyed their interest in playing in Los Angeles. They also lamented the difficulty of trying to make that happen. So I thought, why not create something where bands from all over the world could play under one umbrella where there would be likeminded bands? The audience would really dig the whole thing because it was about music with good melodies, strong harmonies and strong hooks. Having bands from all around the world would give it an exotic feel as well. So, that's what we did.

Using the word "pop" seems like it might confuse some people.

Yeah. The word is certainly a nebulous term, and it means so many different things to so many different people. At first glance, they might misconstrue it. They might think we're showcasing Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears kinds of bands. But if they explore a little further, they'll get the picture pretty quickly.

Orange County's been one of the sites for International Pop Overthrow for several years?

There are a lot of bands from Orange County that I got to know over the years, so I knew Orange County had a pretty good scene. We've always done very well there. We've done several outdoor shows in various locales—Garden Grove, Stanton, and now this year at the Orange County Fair for the first time. A lot of that has to do with [OC-based co-organizer] John Borack. John is with Time Warner Cable. They sponsored a lot of the IPO events we did outdoors, and they're also one of the sponsors of the Orange County Fair.

How do you find bands?

We do [the fest] in a lot of different cities, and we have to be mindful of having as many local bands as possible. I don't choose a city to do the festival unless I know there's a really strong scene there. In the late '90s, it would be bands I already knew, then bands referring other bands, bands finding out about the festival and submitting that way. There's still quite a bit of those things going on, but probably the main avenue for finding bands now is MySpace. It has a very effective search engine. You find the bands in the area you want, and contact them. MySpace has been an absolute godsend for the festival. But the old-fashioned way is still being done.

How did the festival become international?

We became international for the first time in 2003. A woman in Liverpool had contacted me. She found out about the festival and asked if I'd ever thought of making it truly international, and if I'd be interested in having it in Liverpool. I said yeah, but I didn't know anyone there. She said she knew a lot of people at the Cavern Club, and she'd help me. You could have knocked me over with a feather, because the Cavern Club is famous for where the Beatles essentially got their big start. It's been amazing ever since. We've been there for six years, and it gets better every year. It's so international; that's the one where the essence of our vision is best expressed. But we have several international bands playing at the IPO in Orange County this year, too.

International Pop Overthrow Orange County at Fitzgerald's, 19171 Magnolia St., Huntington Beach, (714) 968-4523. Sat. Call for times. $8-$10; also at the Orange County Fair, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-1500. Aug. 3. Call for times. $9. all ages. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/internationalpopoverthrow and www.internationalpopoverthrow.com.

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