Today, April 12th 2010, is Joe Pop-O-Pie's 51st birthday. And to celebrate the occasion, the key figure behind the legendary SF punk outfit The Pop-O-Pies, who formed in 1981 and disbanded sixteen years ago, decided to reform the group and perform on a bill at the Warfield in San Francisco tonight (they play tomorrow & Wednesday also), along with another recently reformed SF group -- Faith No More. Coincidentally, Joe was an original member of Faith No More!
Besides being a unique way to celebrate his birthday, another reason Joe chose this time to reform the group was that he recently found himself with a lot of free time on his hands and needed to fill that void. "This is what recessions are good for. If you get laid off and you've got nothing to do, you gotta do something," laughed the long time San Francisco resident, speaking by phone a few days ago from his new home in Reno, Nevada.
After living in the deep and gritty heart of San Francisco for three decades, including having spent the past eighteen years in the Tenderloin, the New Jersey born and raised Joe Pop-O-Pie has embraced his recent move to Nevada. "One of the things that is so fantastic about Reno, NV is that cockroaches can't live up here. Yeah, the Tenderloin is just rife with cockroaches. It was such an amazing thing. Cockroaches can survive a nuclear war but they won't follow you up the mountains to Nevada," he said. Shortly after finishing college in NJ Joe packed up and moved west to the city by the Bay, where, in September of 1981, he formed The Pop-O-Pies. Labeled 'punk,' the Pop-O-Pies, which essentially consisted of Joe and an ever rotating list of musicians, were really a concept band. For the first two years of their existence at their live performances the band played only one song for their entire set, the Grateful Dead's "Truckin.'"