Road doggin’ with PUP | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Road doggin’ with PUP

The Dream may be over, but tour never is

PUP (Stefan Babcock, second from right)
PUP (Stefan Babcock, second from right)
Toronto’s PUP is a scrappy punk band; it creates raw music deeply rooted in honest lyricism and technical riffs. It’s dark, but it’s also fun, and the band’s manic energy is best captured in live performances. Shows are marked by sweaty dancing, stage diving and passionate singalongs.

The members of PUP — which formed in 2013 — are committed to keeping up the momentum they’ve earned through rigorous touring. In 2015, PUP performed 250 shows. Three days after returning home from a long stretch on the road, the band entered the studio for three weeks to record The Dream Is Over. As soon as recording wrapped, the band hit the road with Modern Baseball for two months.

That tour was cut short, after vocalist and guitarist Stefan Babcock’s vocal chords hemorrhaged, leaving him unable to make any sounds for two weeks. Pushing his gritty tenor to the edge, those endless months on the road had finally caught up with him.

His doctor gave him two options: surgery or vocal therapy. Babcock chose therapy, which included two weeks of silence, two weeks of whispering and five months of taking it easy. When we spoke a few months ago, Babcock stressed that PUP would be taking it easy for the rest of the year.

Now the band is on a 100-day tour with only three days off. It’s the longest stretch of PUP’s career. In a more recent interview, Babcock assures me that the next year and next album will be much more relaxed, but I don’t believe it for a minute.

“It feels pretty amazing that we can tour the world and sell out small shows. Are people still going to be excited in two years? Two months? It’s hard to say no when good things happen,” Babcock says. “Things are going good for us right now, and we really appreciate this opportunity.”

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