When David Bash wanted to make his labor of love, the International Pop Overthrow, true to its (international) name, he knew where to go: The Cavern Club. The quaint Liverpool venue where John, Paul, George, and Pete Best (sorry Ringo, you didn't join the band until the following year) cut their teeth was the ideal spot for the International Pop Overthrow (IPO) festival, and one that symbolizes Bash's downright obsession with all things "pop." Based in Los Angeles, the festival is now a decade old, and has been growing steadily over that time, with editions in Southern California, the aforementioned Liverpool, New York, Chicago, and tons more. Included in this expansion, for the first time ever, is Portland. The four-day event features over 30 bands (local and national), a special Paisley Pop night, and showcases the wide reach of the pop music stratosphere. Bash takes a moment to answer questions about the festival's start and why booking a zombie Beatles might not be the best idea.
MERCURY: When you first started the International Pop Overthrow did you ever imagine it would balloon to this size?
DAVID BASH: When I first started I thought it was only going to happen in Los Angeles. We had a panel discussion, and a bunch of the bands who had been traveling to LA made it clear that they thought it was about time I took IPO on the road. I've had some trepidation about it, but it just seemed like the time might be right. That's when we went to New York and it worked out really well. We added Chicago, Liverpool, and then ultimately Vancouver. I decided to add Portland this year.
The festival definitely seems to be the product of someone who just loves pop music and wants to share that with the world.
I'm not a musician. I can't play a note of anything, but I've always loved music. I just wanted to give worthy bands a platform on which to play on bills with other really good bands and in front of people who would have a good chance of digging what they do.
The term "pop" covers a lot of ground, is there any set criteria for an IPO band?
It's very nebulous, and when we first started there was a lot of criticism that we were just devoted to power pop and that there were so many sub-genres of pop that we weren't showcasing. I've tried to address that over the years by bringing in more punk pop, folk pop, garage rock—anything that could fall under the pop umbrella as long as it's melodic.
Logic aside, name one band—dead or alive—that you would want the most to perform at the festival.
Well, I'd like them to be alive, but if you're going to ask that question, as cliché as this might be, I'd have to say the Beatles. As far as a band that's still alive and would be ripe for a reunion, it would be Jellyfish and I would love it to be at International Pop Overthrow.
The International Pop Overthrow runs from Wednesday, August 20 through Saturday, August 23 at East End (203 SE Grand).