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Overflowing with attitude, energy, and hooky guitar figures, PUP are a Toronto-based punk combo whose acclaimed 2013 debut helped earn them a widespread audience both in and outside of Canada. PUP quickly became a touring dynamo with a larger label (SideOneDummy) behind them, and their quirky sense of humor and engaging songwriting played out over albums like 2016's The Dream Is Over and the slightly more polished Morbid Stuff, which arrived in 2019.
Featuring Stefan Babcock on vocals and guitar, Steve Sladkowski on guitar and vocals, Nestor Chumak on bass and vocals, and Zack Mykula on drums and vocals, all longtime friends who met in elementary school, PUP formed in 2011 under the name Topanga. The original name was a reference to Topanga Lawrence, a character played by Danielle Fishel on the '90s sitcom Boy Meets World, but when the members learned Fishel would be reviving the character in 2014 in a spin-off titled Girl Meets World, they chose to change the name to PUP, standing for "Pathetic Use of Potential." Topanga released a digital EP titled Oceans, and positive press and attention from other bands helped create a buzz about the group. In 2013, they became PUP, releasing their self-titled debut album through the Royal Mountain label. The album was a hit with both critics and fans, with the group being named Best Live Show and Best New Artist by CBC Radio 3. The band toured extensively, playing throughout Canada and making their way to England and the United States. By the end of 2013, PUP had signed a record deal with the well-established punk label Side One Dummy, and spent much of 2014 and 2015 touring in support of SOD's reissue of their debut LP, launching their first headlining tours of the United States and Canada, as well as making their Australian debut.
In February 2016, PUP teased a new single called "DVP" in advance of their second full-length album, The Dream Is Over. Released in May of that year, the album's title is a reference to a prognosis Babcock received from his doctor: he'd severely damaged his vocal cords after enduring years of non-stop touring. In true punk fashion, PUP used the doctor's glib comment as the rallying cry for another set of hard-hitting, self-deprecating punk tunes. The band promoted the effort with an international tour over the next year before returning to the studio to write and record the follow-up. They spent most of 2018 working on the album which saw release in April 2019. Titled Morbid Stuff, the record was produced with Dave Schiffman (the Mars Volta, Weezer) and lyrically focused on Babcock's struggles with depression. ~ Mark Deming
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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