The Popheads
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The Popheads

Hillsboro, Oregon, United States | SELF

Hillsboro, Oregon, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Popheads jump back into local music scene"

There aren't many rock stars, even ones with million-dollar record deals, that have built a custom reverberation studio from the ground up with their own hands. But local band The Popheads did, as an add-on to bassist Eric Madsen's house.

"It even sounds expensive," Madsen said.

"We even waited to start the album to finish the studio," Popheads guitarist/vocalist Thomas Vause said, accounting for the extended period of time between releasing the band's first and second records.

The band celebrates the release of that long-in-the-works sophomore effort, "Feel Absurd," at a CD release party Saturday at The Engine Room.

The record is a giant leap from the band's 2008 release "Eat Supermodels," the cover of which harkens back to the kind of '70s absurdist cover art featured on Frank Zappa records, with cartoonish chomps taken out of the midsection of a half-nude model wearing a signature garment from the band's live performances: furry pants.

Strange? Perhaps, but that's nothing compared to the antics and wardrobe the band has planned for Saturday.

"I can promise special outfits," Vause said coyly. "We're gonna have a ton of confetti and balloons. And there will be cake."

Of course, the live sound that was re-created in the studio performances has been retooled since the release of "Supermodels."

"We're letting the studio dictate what we can do for an album rather than playing it live," Vause said. "I think it's going to have more influence on what we play."
The revamped sound is also a result of the band's synergistic gestalt. Vause and Madsen make all band decisions collectively with guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Tad Moody and drummer/vocalist Jackie Madsen, Eric's sister.

"When you stop trying to be good and start enjoying what you're doing, good happens on its own," Eric said.

"To me, 'Feel Absurd' means that who we are as people and musicians feels absurd in approach," said Vause, who said the band will be giving away copies of "Feel Absurd" at Saturday's show. "What's the difference if I sell 100 people $10 CDs in a year or 2,500 people get CDs for free over three years? So many more people hear our music that way.

"I don't care about a million-dollar deal. If I can be on stage and entertain lots of people, that's over the moon for me."

Read more: Popheads jump back into local music scene | | Tallahassee Democrat - Tallahassee Democrat

"Always better with a Pophead"

'Always better with a Pophead'
Meet the unique members of local psychedelic, indie-pop quartet
By: Lily Reisman
Posted: 11/26/07
Imagine a warehouse with a family printing business in the front and a large garage filled with antique cars in the back. Now picture a small room off of the garage with mushroom covered tapestries draping the walls, Persian rugs concealing the floor and an abundance of musical instruments, speakers and amplifiers taking up a majority of the open space. This room is where local band The Popheads gathers to create a refreshing and distinct sound that separates it from every other musical group in Tallahassee. The Popheads is composed of Tad Moody, Thomas Vause and brother-sister duo, Eric and Jackie Madsen.

All native to Tallahassee, The Popheads' members have been playing together, "almost our whole lives," drummer and vocalist Jackie Madsen said. After playing together for numerous years, the band's undeniable chemistry is heard and seen in all of its songs. While practicing the song, "Up for Now" (which can be heard on their MySpace page), Vause and Jackie Madsen jointly sing the lyrics, "don't look back, don't turn around," when Vause, on guitar, appropriately turns around and looks at Jackie with a big smile that is returned.

"We are four, individual, self-disciplined people," guitarist and singer Vause said. "When it comes to wanting to accomplish something with music, we decide that we can all do it better working together."

All four members contribute to the vocals in "Up for Now" which also displays the band's cohesiveness and desire to individually combine as one.

"Escape Plan," another song that can be found on The Popheads' MySpace page, embodies the psychedelic-pop phenomenon through Vause's repetitive, distorted guitar riff. Eric Madsen, on bass and lead vocals, eerily channels David Byrne from the Talking Heads in the unique and peculiar inflection of his voice.

A much heavier and different style sound is heard in the song "The Creator," which "isn't about anything religious," Jackie Madsen said. In the middle of the song, everything culminates and then slowly begins to start back up, only to end with a big bang.

First, Eric comes in with a strong bass, then Jackie brings in the drums with a passion that should be envied by any female who has ever dreamed about being a drummer and finally, Vause and Moody bring in the guitars while engaging in a friendly staring competition that aids in their playing to one another.

For Pearl Jam fans that shiver at the sound of Eddie Vedder's voice, check out the song "Eurydice" on The Popheads MySpace page. Vause, on lead vocals, will blow listeners away with a sound that shares an uncanny resemblance to Vedder's throaty tone.

Before leaving the band's page, also make sure to listen to "Group A" to get a taste of Moody on the keyboard. The slow-paced, melancholy song is reminiscent of one of The Pophead's biggest influences - The Flaming Lips. The combination of the keyboard and the background vocal harmonies are bound to put the listener in a trance.

To go along with their psychedelic, indie-pop sound, The Popheads like to make its shows aesthetically pleasing and if they can, add a unique twist that will distinguish its performance from any other.

"At one of our most recent shows, we did have a five piece party train," Vause said. "We had a harmonica player, a tambourine player, a saxophone player, a violin player, and my cousin Justin played the trumpet."

The Popheads are also known for their eccentric outfits; all three men wear furry pants and Jackie wears leopard print. When on stage, the band members' identities change into their respective colors: Eric is blue, Tad is green, Thomas is red and Jackie is leopard. Initially, the crazy outfits were a random decision, but after realizing the appeal the pants had on its fans, The Popheads decided to make it a trademark look. The fascination with the pants came as quite a hilarious surprise.

"We would have had to have been crazy to think that wearing ridiculous fuzzy pants was going to be like a really big draw for people," keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist Moody said.

Although not all of the members of the band agree, "Some people think we wear the pants as a gimmick, but we wear the pants because we want to wear the pants," Vause said with a comical tone.

To go along with The Popheads' colorful performances are beautifully designed, colorful flyers. Eric Madsen, a gifted artist, is in charge of designing the band's promotional handouts. The flyers "help to tie us in to the band we are playing with," Jackie Madsen said.

The creativity of the flyers should not be undermined. Each one is specifically created to connect The Popheads with the artist it will be playing with.

"You look at the other band's art and try to get their feel," bass player and vocalist Eric Madsen said. "You try and think, how can I see myself cool like they are cool?"

The Popheads recently played two nights in a row at the North Florida Fair and the American Legion Hall. The band is in the process of setting up its next show, but until then check out its MySpace page at for a sample of its tasty grooves and creative flair. - FSView/Florida Flambeau

"The Popheads bring furry pants, penguins"


The Popheads brought furry pants and fun psychedelic indie rock songs to Jack Rabbits Saturday, August 2.

The foursome, who started playing together when they were just kids, cite influences ranging from The Flaming Lips and the Talking Heads to Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age for their unique styles of music.

?Whenever we hear music that sounds like it?s people trying to make music and not just people trying to be in a band, we feel that and we try and share it with each other,? said Eric Madsen (bass, vocals).

?[Those bands] do stuff on their own terms? said Thomas Vause (guitar, keyboard, vocals). ?And that?s what this project is about in a lot of ways. We record ourselves, we make our own CDs, and it?s just pretty much on our own terms.?

At Saturday?s show, The Popheads demonstrated the results of making music on their own terms. The band members all showed high levels of musicianship and stage presence.

Everything I thought wasn?t right about their album was ?fixed? in a live setting. The guitars sounded huge, the vocals blended with everything else and Jackie Madsen (drums, vocals) ? well she really held it down. And, to my surprise and delight, all four band members shared vocal duties throughout the night.

The Popheads also played some newer tunes that weren?t on Eat Supermodels.

Although the band has to divide their time between practicing for live gigs, writing new songs, recording songs and working real jobs, The Popheads add four or five new songs to their live shows every 3 months, said Vause.

When writing the new stuff, the creative process is very open and free, according to Madsen.

?Songwriting is an anything goes kind of thing. It?s a give-what-you-like-because-the-rest-of-us-are-going-to-like-what-you-give environment,? said Madsen. ?When one of us comes up with a musical part, the rest of us think of that with charity. Even if we don?t hear anything good about it, we let that person keep on playing and we find a way to make it rock to the rest of us. That?s challenging and that?s what really makes it fun and bonds us as musicians to each other.?

That bond is evident on-stage. The Popheads? show was very solid and they acted like they were having a great time, and I believed them. Their furry pants (standard practice for concerts), dancing and smiling rubbed off on the crowd, who shared the thrill ? but without the furry pants.

?We definitely want to always have a smile on our face when we?re doing it, because it?s not worth getting up there otherwise,? said Vause. ?We?re not in it to make money, so it?s really about having a good time.?

A good time, indeed. Halfway into the first song of the set, a fan dressed as a penguin appeared and didn?t stop dancing until the show was over. And as strange as it was, I think I half-expected it. The penguin dancer fit so well with The Popheads sound. He was as integral as the strange melodies and furry pants.

To see a video of The Popheads? show at Jack Rabbits, visit their MySpace page at

Check out Matt Olsens' THE POPHEADS AT JACK RABBITS photo gallery.

- The Florida Times-Union


Eat Supermodels - 10-song EP released June 2008. Several tracks streaming on

Feel Absurd - Released February 2011. Currently available from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Dig Station and In and Out Records, with plans to add many additional distributors.

GULF 104.1 (Tallahassee, FL)
X101.5 (Tallahassee, FL)
V89 (Tallahassee, FL)
WGKN Radio (Orlando, FL)
Rock 104 (Gainesville, FL)
WOSP Osprey Radio (Jacksonville, FL)
WUOG (Athens, GA)
WVVS 90.9 (Valdosta, GA)
WRAS (Atlanta, GA)
WREK (Atlanta, GA)
KUCI 88.9 (Irvine, CA)
KSUB (Seattle, WA)
WNYU 89.1 (New York, NY)
KVRX 91.7 (Austin, TX)
WZBC 90.3 (Boston, MA)



The Popheads are a psychedelic indie rock quartet from Tallahassee, FL. Though the band was officially formed in early 2007, its four members have been performing together for over ten years.

With a sound that critics have dubbed "freakpop", The Popheads' music has been compared to that of The Talking Heads and The Flaming Lips.

The band's brightly-colored fuzzy pants and infectious feel-good vibes have earned them many smiles and helped them to distribute over 2500 copies of their 2008 10-song EP "Eat Supermodels" at their shows. The Popheads' sophomore (and first publicly distributed) album "Feel Absurd" was released in February 2011.

Band Members