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Successfully Chasing The Charts
Daddy Pop
Act like an ass, make fun of yourself, and just play what they want to hear. - Gene Potts
by Natasha McGrath
 [Chorus and Verse] Daddy Pop
Daddy Pop

Earlier this year, Daddy Pop emerged with a style different than most NJ cover acts. Playing a little bit of everything, they’re not classified to one specific genre. Instead, they make sure they've got something for everyone.

They create the perfect party atmosphere by playing all the current radio hits, throwing in some old classics for good measure. Featuring six members, plus the occasional sax player, they are literally one of the biggest bands on the shore.

With flawless musicianship, Daddy Pop delivers all the favorites, making it look all too easy. Fronting these guys are Gene Potts and Liz Schubert. Potts is armed with one of the best male voices in the cover circuit. He masters everything from The Black Crowes to Living Colour. On The Strokes’ "Last Nite" he has mind-blowing vocals, the crowd "just don’t understand". And once he's got you in the palm of his hand, he screams classic Zeppelin at you, with "Ramble On" mystifying whoever's within an earshot.

Schubert takes the center spotlight with hits by Sheryl Crow and Michelle Branch. With a New York-based big band orchestra in her background, it’s obvious she can cover today's female hits with relative ease. Her vocal power wows the crowd on Nikka Costa's “Like a Feather”, a little-known rock/r&b tune Schubert is making sure everyone in New Jersey knows the words to. Gene and Liz perfectly harmonize together, winning over the crowd everywhere they play, with Moby's "South Side." There isn't much that these two can't handle.

Behind these two powerhouses are Dave Haywood on guitar, Joe "JG" Grabowski on bass, Jeff McGowan on keys, and Danny Pinto on drums. Scott Solomon provides the crazy sax when necessary.

Daddy Pop

Daddy Pop's rendition of “Mustang Sally” showcases the talent of both Haywood on guitar and Grabowski on bass. When he's not busy rocking the shore with his stellar guitar riffs, Haywood is sometimes spotted in NYC jamming with other well-known guitar gods. His ability to play anything ranging from rock to funk hooks the crowd, leaving them eager to hear what his fingers might do next. He even takes a turn on lead with Sublime's "Santeria", energizing the club that much more.

Grabowski's bass sound is faultless, adding to the underlying pulse where Daddy Pop generates most of its energy. Every time he gets a chance to show off with a solo, his talent hypnotizes everyone in the area.

McGowan adds all the sounds that make each song unique by sampling and tickling the electronic keys. He handles all the background noises that wrap themselves around our favorite hits effortlessly, making every song memorable.

While every song Daddy Pop performs is great in its original form, sometimes you just need a little sax. For this, the band relies on Scott Solomon. Solomon 's sax sound is no stranger to Jersey's rockers, and can be heard in other bands along the shorelines.

Pinto holds it all together, while wailing on the skins. He keeps the crowd jumping with perfect timing, rhythmic drumbeats and transcendent technique.

Daddy Pop can cover it all: rock, r&b, classic and pop. They even dish out an 80's medley comprised of songs we all know the words to as well as we do our own name. They cover Rick Springfield’s "Jessie's Girl", Tommy Tutone's "(867-5309) Jenny" and the Jersey cult favorite "Anything, Anything" by Dramarama. This gets the crowd involved, no matter what the atmosphere.

107 Productions presents Daddy Pop in all the favorite places along the coast, from LBI to the Atlantic Highlands. Every Thursday you can catch them at their newest spot, The Beach Haus in Bayville. For more dates and all other info check out their web site at www.daddypop.com.

Gene Potts

How did you all come together to form Daddy Pop?

Gene: Danny and I had known each other for quite a while, and I was itching to play again since I had left the scene about two years ago. I called him up and we started to get an idea of what we wanted to do. We auditioned a bunch of musicians and didn’t really come up with the people we wanted. Danny had met JG a while ago when he was playing in Funkyard. I had known Liz from an orchestra I had seen her in and begged her to join. We all met Dave through his wife, who I work with during the day. Jeff was the last piece of the puzzle. He played with Dave in an original band called Sauce. We also have Scottie sax, who comes out on special gigs. He also played with Dave.

Liz: I had been working in a wedding band, Dreamstreet, for a few years, and when the front man left. Gene was his replacement. One day at a gig, he mentioned starting a new band, said he had a few players in mind. He convinced me to join. The rest is history.

Dan: Gene and I had played together in an early version of what became known as Saturday Night Fever. As Smack Daddy was unwinding, Gene asked me if I would like to do something fresh and a bit different. I liked the concept of a fun pop band with no borders.

As a six-member band, with two singers [and] playing a broad range of music, ranging from classic rock, r&b and today's rock, how do you decide which songs to cover?

Gene: Classic rock, r&b and today's rock. We grab whatever's on the charts and then fill in the rest with older songs we either like or with what we know is popular. The Billboard charts have been a big help.

Liz: We basically chase the charts. We learn whatever is on the radio, if we think it will work in a club. Since we play such a variety of music, we just pick whatever’s hot, whether it’s dance or rock or whatever. It’s good too, because it keeps it fresh for the band as well as the audience.

Dan: New songs, they have to be a hit on MTV, Z-100, K-Rock, or [W]PLJ. Something for everyone, the average people who like a little variety in their music and life. Classic stuff we cover has to have been very big in its time. Give the people what they want.

Being relatively new to the scene, Daddy Pop has already made a name for itself. With most NJ cover bands sticking to one musical genre, is it easier or harder finding your niche, while covering so many different types of music?

Liz Schubert

Gene: I think it’s a little harder because the crowd doesn’t know what to expect when they see you. The good thing is we play a little of something for everybody, except maybe people who like the real heavy shit. I love it but could never sing it. I love System Of A Down and Slayer. [I] couldn’t see myself pulling that off.

Liz: Personally, I have a wide range of music that I listen to. I think most people are the same way, so maybe our niche will be that no matter what you listen to, you will hear music that you like when you see Daddy Pop.

Dan: So far it has worked out well. Sometimes it is a little more difficult to change gears then in the past. Pacing the set is important.

What kind of music do you listen to other than what you cover?

Gene: I love Prince, The Black Crowes, Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, Fantomas, and Grand Funk Railroad.

Liz: We cover so many genres of music, it almost makes it a difficult question to answer. But I would have to say, blues, gospel and r&b. Anything soulful.

Dan: Everything, but not too much country. I prefer good r&b, both old and new. Stevie to Seal to Destiny’s Child. New Age is cool: Enigma. Good pop: Vertical Horizon, Matchbox 20. Heavy has to be industrial: Linkin Park to Skinny Puppy

What's the favorite song you cover? What's the crowd favorite?

Gene: My favorite is Nikka Costa’s “Like a Feather.” Liz covers it perfectly. The crowd favorite, believe it or not, seems to be “Ramble On” from Zeppelin. Nobody seems to play them anymore.

Liz: My favorite song to cover is definitely “Like a Feather” by Nikka Costa. It’s a song that’s not very well-known, but it never fails to get the band going. Crowd favorite is a medley we put together of 80’s songs that everybody knows.

Danny Pinto

Dan: Currently, hard to say on both. Depends on my mood and the crowd’s disposition. It's got to be funky, though. [The] latest is “Cult of Personality.”

What's your biggest fear as a newer band, in such a cover-band-dominated state?

Gene: That we sound like we are covering a cover band. You don’t want to do exactly what someone else is doing. Its hard, because being an all-round pop band you are touching on the things established bands have been doing already.

Liz: Although I think we’ve succeeded in separating ourselves by choosing songs that no other bands play, a few of our players are former members of some popular local cover bands. I wouldn’t want to be compared in any way.

Have any other NJ cover bands inspired you?

Gene: I really like the entertainment value of Brian Kirk. He's a great front man. I’m really happy for and proud of Henry from Lifespeed. We’ve been friends for a long time and I like how he just came out with a new band and blew it up.

Liz: The Nerds and Brian Kirk and the Jirks always have the crowd right in the palm of their hand. I love that. But, my favorite cover band in the area is Linedrive. The band is great and the vocals are unbelievable.

Dan: I have probably played with someone in most of the more popular ones. These guys are all my friends and when I get a chance to go out and see them, I love to watch them kill!

Daddy Pop Performs at The Tradewinds 2002 Anniversary Party

Playing many different bars/clubs along the shore, how do keep the crowd's interest?

Gene: Act like an ass, make fun of yourself, and just play what they want to hear.

Liz: We have fun. When we are on stage jumping around and acting like idiots, it makes people more comfortable to be silly too. It’s all about going out and having a good time.

Dan: I have been considering playing in the nude as of late. The audience can be fickle at times. The key is to have fun, ‘cause that is why everyone is there. That energy can be transferred off the stage and into the audience.

What's the most bizarre song request a fan ever made?

Gene: “Paradise Theatre” by Styx, last week at Joe Pops, LBI.

Liz: “Something” by Frank Sinatra. Doesn’t sound so strange, but it was from an older woman who was just banging her head to Creed. That was bizarre.

Dan: Nothing would surprise me.

What musical influences helped determine your onstage personality?

Gene: Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and, definitely, Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes. I think the asinine side of myself comes from David Lee Roth.

Liz: Alanis Morrissette has a very laid back, serious style, and Gwen Stefani, my idol, has uninhibited energy on stage. In a perfect world, but more likely only in my imagination, I will reflect a combination of those qualities.

Dan: I can be amusing if I am in a good mood, but people only notice the drummer when they screw up. I will come out and sing a few soon. This way, I can be completely immature.

Daddy Pop Lights Up The Cove

What are some of the factors helping make Daddy Pop so successful?

Gene: Most of us have been around the block. Danny with Smack Daddy, me with the Fever and Dave even toured with Chaka Khan and Steve Miller. We have the experience and the good relationships with the club owners and managers.

Liz: The players in this band are all amazing. They’re all pros and it’s obvious. The musicianship is great, as well as Gene’s antics, which are unmatched. Let’s just say, he’s crazy. It’s hard to sing sometimes because he always does something to crack me up.

What can we expect of Daddy Pop by the end of the year?

Gene: A huge stage show. We are definitely going to expand our light show and song list. Hopefully, we will be in all the big clubs in the state, we’ve gotten a good start already.

Liz: A bigger stage show, many more songs and maybe even some original music. Oh, and you can be sure to see Gene doing his butt dance with his pants down. God, I hope his boxers stay up!

Dan: I guess to be bigger and better and to buy a crystal ball.

Natasha McGrath is a graduate of Rider University with a degree in Journalism. A web site content developer for an investment firm by day - music enthusiast and cover band connoisseur by night. "NJ being the mecca of cover acts, someone has to let Garden Staters know who's worth the charge at the door. Usually found near the stage ... I'm the one who knows all the words." In addition to writing for Chorus and Verse, Natasha is also Music Writer for RedBank.com.
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