The Pop

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1976)

- Roger Prescott -- vocals, lead guitar

- David Robinson -- drums, percussion

- David Swanson -- vocals, bass


  line up 2  (1976-77)

NEW - Joel Martinez -- drums, percussion

NEW - Tim McGovern - drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Roger Prescott -- vocals, lead guitar

- David Swanson -- vocals, rhythm guitar


  line up 3  (1977-79)

- Tim McGovern - bass, backing vocals

- Roger Prescott -- vocals, lead guitar

- David Swanson -- vocals, rhythm guitar

NEW - Robert Williams -- drums, percussion (replaced Joel Martinez)


  line up 4  (1977)

NEW- David Dolittle -- drums, percussion (replaced Robert Williams)

- Tim McGovern - bass, backing vocals

- Roger Prescott -- vocals, lead guitar

- David Swanson -- vocals, rhythm guitar


  line up 4  (1977-79)

NEW- David Hoskot -- drums, percussion (replaced David Dolittle)

- Tim McGovern - bass, backing vocals

- Roger Prescott -- vocals, lead guitar

- David Swanson -- vocals, rhythm guitar


  line up 5  (1979-81)

NEW - Tim Henderson -- vocals, bass (replaced Tim McGovern)

- David Hoskot -- drums, percussion

- Roger Prescott -- vocals, lead guitar

- David Swanson -- vocals, rhythm guitar





 The Burning Sensations (Tim McGovern)

- The Cars (David Robinson)

- DMZ  (David Robinson)

- The Exiles  (Roger Prescott)

- The Holy Boys  (Roger Prescott)

- Knuclehead (Tim McGovern)

- The Modern Lovers (David Robinson)

- The Motels (Tim McGovern)

- Jonathan Richmond and the Modern Lovers( David Robinson)

- Route 66 (David Swanson)

- David Swanson (solo efforts) 

- Texacaka Jones and the TJ Hookers (Roger Prescott))

- Train Wreck Ghosts (Roger Prescott)

- Velvert Turner Group (Tim McGovern)

- The Walking Wounded (Roger Prescott)


Genre: power pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Go!

Company: Arista

Catalog:  AB 4243

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut top right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3504

Price: $15.00


The Pop seemed poised for major stardom when they were signed to Clive Davis' Arista Records.  (Davis was supposedly looking for a band to compete with The Cars who he'd wanted to sign to Arista, but had elected to hitch their careers with Elektra Records.) Teamed with producer Earle Mankey, their label debut came in the form of 1979's "Go!".  Unlike their raw, garage-rock flavored debut, Mankey provided a fuller sound this time around.  Musically this one was a bit less free wheeling and enthusiastic, but had its share of charms.  Featuring all original material, to my ears the album had a slightly schizophrenic sound.  With singer/guitarists Roger Prescott and David Swanson responsible for the majority of the album's ten songs, about half the collection featured Talking Heads-styled new wave performances. Tracks like 'Under the Microscope' and 'Beat Temptation' showcased a jittery new wave influence - think David Byrne without the out-and-out weirdness factor.  At the other end of the spectrum, songs like 'She Really Means That Much To Me ' and 'Waiting for the Night' offered up far more conventional pop faire.  Quite enjoyable ...


"Go!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Under the Microscope  (Tim McGovern - Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 4:40   rating: **** stars

For a band that was widely tagged as a pop--oriented entity, 'Under the Microscope' came as a major surprise to me.  Yeah, it was catchy, but sounded like these guys had been listening to way too much David Byrne and the Talking Heads, or maybe XTC.  Very jittery, new-wave tinged flavor, but with a great poppy chorus, it was also quite engaging.   

2.) Shakeaway  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 2:22    rating: *** stars

I'd mentioned XTC earlier ...  at least to my ears their influences seem to resonate throughout the more pop oriented 'Shakeway'.  One of the album's more conventional and radio friendly tunes, this one sported a nifty Roger Prescott lead guitar.  Arista tapped it as a single in the UK:

- 1979's 'Shakeaway' b/w 'Falling for Carmen' (Arista catalog number ARTIST 304)    YouTube has a clip of the band lip synching the song on the Hollywood Heartbeat television show.  

3.) Beat Temptation  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:58   rating: **** stars

Back to Talking Heads territory with 'Beat Temptation.  I always loved the fuzz guitar sound that powered this one.  Arista tapped this one as a US single:

- 1979's 'Beat Temptation' b/w 'She Really Means That Much To Me' (Arista catalog number AS 0486)

4.) She Really Means That Much To Me  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:35  rating: **** stars

And with 'She Really Means That Much To Me' the band returned to a more conventional sound.  To my ears this was easily the album's most radio-friendly performance and should have been a single.

5.) I Want To Touch You   (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:36   rating: *** stars

In this day and age its hard to imagine a band releasing a song with this title.  Musically this one came across as a mash-up of The Talking Heads with a touch of reggae ... It was released as a single in Spain:

- 1980's 'I Want To Touch You' b/w 'Maria' (Arista catalog number A-101461)


(side 2)

1.) Waiting for the Night  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:34   rating: **** stars

'Waiting for the Night' found  the band pulling out their best Raspberries impressions ...  Another radio-friendly tune.  YouTube has a clip of the band lip synching in front of a very bored looking crowd:  

2.) Go!  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:32   rating: *** stars

Is it just my ears, or does the title track bare more than a passing resemblance to The Cars ?  Interesting call and response structure with plenty of Prescott's jangle guitar.

3.) Falling for Carmen  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:00    rating: *** stars

'Falling for Carmen' was the track that seemed to find the middle ground between their new wave and power pop tendencies.  

4.) Maria  (Tim McGovern) - 4:58   rating: **** stars

'Maria' was another tune that sought to meld new wave and power pop.   Kicked along by an incideously catchy guitar riff, call it the album's lost gem.

5.) Legal Tender Love  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:30    rating: *** stars

Always loved the big guitar sound that powered the Brit sounding 'Legal Tender Love'.  




Genre: power pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Hearts and Knives

Company: Rhino

Catalog:  RNEP 510

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: six track EP

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3309

Price: $15.00

Their little known epitaph and one of the finest things the Los Angeles-based power poppers ever recorded ... 


Dropped by Arista after two albums and an EP,,1981's self-produced "Hearts and Knives" found them hitched with Rhino Records.   A six track EP, the collection featured five originals and a cover of The Rolling Stones' '19th Nervous Breakdown'.   Musically it wasn't a major change from their two previous albums, but maybe due to the fact they didn't have much riding on the results, the band sounded at ease and comfortable, leaving you to wonder why they were never mega stars.  Anyone who was a fan of jangle rock, or power pop should enjoy tunes like 'Solitaire', 'Broken Pieces' and the brooding 'Go Girl'.  In fact the only modest disappointment was their rote cover of The Stones tune.  Shame it wasn't a full album of original material.  


"Hearts and Knives" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Solitaire  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson - Tim Henderson) - 3:21   rating: **** stars

Kicked along by shimmering jangle guitars and what were some of the best harmonies in power pop, 'Solitarie' was about as near perfect jangle rock as you could imagine.   How this one escaped radio is one of those long lost mysteries.

2.) Broken Pieces  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 2:18   rating: **** stars

Coming on the heels of 'Solitaire', 'Broken Pieces' may have been a little too much of a good thing.  Another awesome slice of power pop, this one had even better harmonies.  Looking a little older, but still sounding good, in January, 2014 the band reunited for an appearance at L.A.s Troubadour as part of a tribute to the late Earle Mankey (who'd produced their debut album).  'Broken Pieces' was one of the songs they played: 

3.) She's Really Got Me  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 2:42   rating: *** stars

Musically the jittery 'She's Really Got Me' sounded like something from earlier in the career.  The screaming guitars were quite nice. but ultimately it was a bit anonymous. 


(side 2)

1.) Go Girl   (Tim Henderson) -   rating: **** stars

Toughening up their sound, 'Go Girl' sounded like Roger McGuinn and company having been injected with an early-'80s new wave virus.  Dark and slightly ominous, it was a hoot.  The album's best performance.  

2.) Look At Me Now  (Roger Prescott - David Swanson) - 3:00  rating: **** stars

If you've ever heard someone talk about a big hook, they could well have been discussing 'Look At Me Now'.    Ridiculously wide.   Top-40 hit written all over it.

3.) 19th Nervous Breakdown  (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) -   rating: *** stars

Absolutely nothing wrong with their cover of this classic Stones tune.  And that was the problem.  Their version was pleasant, stripping away some of the original's threatening vibe in favor of a bouncy, power-pop vibe.  



And with that The Pop were history.  There' s a small website devoted to the band at:  


Dropping out after the debut album, original bassist Tim McGovern reappeared as as a member of The Motels.  He was also the front man for The Burning Sensations and a member of Knuclehead.


Roger Prescott played with a number of bands including The Exiles, The Holy Boys, Texacana Jones and the TJ Hookers, Train Wreck Ghosts and The Walking Wounded.

Swanson was a member of Route 66 and then released a 1990 solo album for RCA "Reclamation" before turning his attention to art.  He now lives in Montana and has an art studio.  I'm sure he wouldn't mind this link to his website: