WATCH: Big Stir Records Share Classic Popsicko Video

Limited edition vinyl of the band’s 1994 LP Off To A Bad Start available on April 28th

Popsicko (Image: Big Stir Records)

The second wave of the alternative rock boom of the mid-90s no doubt yielded some of the decade’s finest talents, especially in the burgeoning world of pop-punk. 

Popsicko was one such group, hailing from Santa Barbara, CA with a sound on par with such heavyweights of the time as Green Day, Screeching Weasel and The Queers. They recorded and released their debut in 1994, entitled Off To A Bad Start, and seemed poised for success from the moment the album arrived at the local record shop. 

Sadly, only a few months following the release of the album, the group’s frontman Keith Brown was killed in a car accident. 

Popsicko Off To A Bad Start, Big Stir Records 1994/2023

“The entire experience of making Off to a Bad Start Was awesome,” proclaims bassist Marko DeSantis, who would go on to play in bands like Sugarcult and Bad Astronaut, in the album notes for the reissue. “For all four band members, at the time, it was the first actual record any of us had ever made. We cut the bulk of the basic tracks and overdubs at a studio called Sound Design on Haley Street in Santa Barbara, CA back in 1994. I was still in college, so I was living this double life of term papers & finals on one side of town, then tracking a rock ‘n’ roll record and hanging out at dive bars on the other side of town.”

For the first time ever, Big Stir Records will be making Off To A Bad Start available on digital as well as vinyl, marking its long-overdue debut in that format. Accompanying the album will be a special book, an oral history of the band edited by S.W. Lauden, an active rock writer who was one of Keith’s best friends, and it has remembrances from all the former band members who are supporting this release.

To Would Have Beens: The Official Oral History of Popsicko (Image: Big Stir Records)

Meanwhile, another old friend from the group’s salad days, filmmaker David Garonzik, found some great footage of the band he shot in the 90s that has been repurposed for the video we are honored to premiere today. 

“I shot Popsicko for the last time in 1995 at the Isla Vista/UC Santa Barbara beach concert,” Garonzik explains. “And looking back at that footage I am in awe. Shocked at the footage that was captured of the band, with the ocean behind them, just as the sun is setting. I have no recollection how, or who, let us into their apartment and onto their balcony to shoot the footage. I remember saying goodnight to the guys after the show. There’s even a little footage of me near the stage with the goatee and the Dennis Hopper/Easy Rider suede cowboy hat.”

For Garonzik, seeing his footage get utilized to help bring the legacy of Popsicko into the 21st century is a particular point of pride. Especially considering how he recently rediscovered it himself. 

“It wasn’t until 2018 that I came into possession of a 2K/4K film scanner and had an opportunity to pull all the footage out of storage and scan it,” he reveals. “This is when I saw the footage for the very first time and was blown away that I even got an exposure. I was so happy with the framing and the look. But it was really a shot to the heart, taking me back to both an amazing, but tragic period in my life. And then I was overcome with a certain melancholy as I did not want this footage to be lost. It was imperative that it be returned to its rightful owners. I’m still not sure how I found Marko, but by some miracle, we were able to connect and then skip ahead to this amazing moment in time, in 2023, when Popsicko, the pop punk sound of the 90’s, the Santa Barbara scene and Keith are all getting their due. I’m just over the moon that this footage, that was really part of some selfish, social cinema experiment, now has a home.”

Watch the video below and pre-order the limited edition vinyl for Off To A Bad Start here. Only 250 copies are being pressed, so act fast!


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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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