The POP Stars
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The POP Stars


Band Folk Rock


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"The POP Stars to be on Channel 5's Chronicle!"

The Pop Stars have been asked to be included on Channel 5's TV Show - Chronicle. They will be featured on a show about local music. Check back later for updates.

"Singing over Spilt Milk"

Singing Over Spilt Milk
MetroWest Men Turn Everyday Fatherhood Moments into Music
BY robin burke photos BY jeffrey w. boudreau

Fatherhood, can be a rollercoaster of a ride. Through all the challenges and joys - from missing sleep to potty-training, to spelling out words in front of the kids, to the sweet things they say, to rekindling couple time - the POP Stars, seven dads from MetroWest Massachusetts, are providing musical therapy and giving support to parents everywhere.

Inspired by their own experiences, the folk-rock-jug-style band, formed last fall and performing only since January, is gaining popularity rather quickly thanks to local and national media coverage, and their family-friendly shows, including those at Foxboro's Orpheum Theater, George's Island, and Mamapalooza in New York City.

"The parents who attend the show have enjoyed the lyrics and loved how they tap into the experiences they are having as parents," said John Powers, POP Stars vocalist. "They also love the upbeat, feelgood sound that we have. People enjoy the fact that they can bring their kids to a show and watch them dance around and have a good time. At the same time, the parents can listen to the lyrics of the songs, laugh out loud, and feel good about being a parent, and at the fact that these songs are letting them know that we're all going through the same thing, so let's have a good time and enjoy it while we can."

The quick success has been a pleasant surprise.

"It's been an unbelievable ride so far and we've only just begun," Powers said.

The POP Stars history dates back a couple years when the Holliston Public Library asked Powers, a local musician, to perform.

"I had just written a song called I Miss Sleep about the little things we sacrifice when becoming parents: sleep, expletives, our first name, talking on the phone. I thought that it would be fun performing for parents about the children they have," Powers said. "The library loved this idea and booked the gig."

Powers wrote 15 more songs about parenthood, did the gig, and was a hit.

"I spent about a year or so recording the songs. ... when it was done, I tried to think of a good way of presenting these songs to the world of parents," he said. "I decided what better way of singing songs about parenthood than a bunch of parents singing them? I thought since I am a dad myself, a group of dads would be a good idea. I thought of who I knew in town and realized a bunch of friends I knew were musicians. I rang them up and they all got on board."

Today, the POP Stars (POP being a humorous pun for dad) are: Holliston residents Powers (vocals/acoustic guitarist, guidance counselor, two children); Ira Kittrell (mandolin/harpist/kazoo, speech language teacher in the Milford Public Schools, private practice and assistant camp director, two children); Tom Farrell (bassist, owner of the Coffee Haven coffee shop, father of two); John Marczewski (keyboardist, electrical engineer, two children); Tibor Nemeth (rhythm guitarist, photographer, two children); and Natick residents David Ripp (drummer, social worker, two children) and Tim Neves (harmonica, mechanic, one child).

Between work and being husbands and fathers, the men, all of whom have a variety of music and performance backgrounds, rehearse on Tuesday nights at Powers' house and talk "shop."

With children growing and changing, and new experiences, feelings, elations and frustrations popping up frequently, the creative juices never dry, Powers said.

"We actually have a backlog of topics that we are hoping to get to in our songwriting sessions," he said. "Things come up all the time during rehearsal. Rehearsal is actually a dad support group. We talk about things and share things and usually someone will say 'that's a good idea for a song.' It's a topic that keeps on giving."

"Anything can become a song," Kittrell said. "Two of us have children in the tween or mid-elementary years, and some have babies. The concept of what is great or difficult about being a parent changes with personal as well as shared experience...therefore, topics will alter as our kids get older. Getting pooped on will alter to 'your bedroom is a mess' and concerns will certainly shift to 'oh no- my daughter wants to go on a date.'"

Most of the songs are light-hearted and funny, Powers said. Among them is Spelling Errors, a song written about how Powers' mother-in-law would spell the wrong words around his children and how it ended up in disaster, and Spilt Milk, which addresses stress parenting can bring.

The collection also includes Being for the Benefits of Mammary Glands: "They're reliable, dependable, affordable, and portable/You can take them anywhere/ They provide a strong bond and foundation/With love and lactation/If one runs out there's always a spare."

And, Pooped On: "When you get pooped on, puked on, peed on, sneezed on, farted on, snotted on/Everyday and night, especially w - Bay State Parent Magazine

"Papa's got a brand new band"

Group shares songs about fun, frustrations of raising kids

The POP Stars, who sing about fatherhood and are preparing for their first gig Saturday in Holliston, include Tom Farrell, John Powers, Ira Kittrell, David Ripp, Tibor Nemeth, and John Marczewski. By Calvin Hennick, Globe Correspondent | January 21, 2007

It is 8 p.m., the kids have been put to bed, and John Powers and his band have taken over the playroom. They've set up the drums and plugged in their amps. It's time to rock and roll.

"Your life as you know it is over," Powers croons in one song. "You're throwing it all away/You're giving up all your freedom/Everything is gonna change." At his feet, guitar cases lie next to red cardboard building blocks. Band members place beer bottles on shelves lined with educational toys. A poster hanging on one wall is signed not by some rock 'n' roll hero, but by Eric Carle , author of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

Powers writes songs that look at the trials and tribulations of fatherhood, an experience in which he and his six band mates are fully immersed. The band has been working on an album, titled "Songs From the 'Hood," that includes songs by Powers such as "Pooped On," "I Miss Sleep," and "Being for the Benefit of Mammary Glands." The band, which they've dubbed the POP Stars , has its first gig lined up for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Holliston Public Library. Powers, 44, said the group is like a support group -- a "wife-approved" activity where the seven fathers can get together and share the funny or frustrating experiences that come with having kids. Each of the men in the band has two children.

Several were in bands before they had kids, and they said they never envisioned themselves singing about shopping for diaper rash cream. "When you're in a band, you don't think you'll ever have kids," said David Ripp of Natick , the group's drummer. "And then once you have kids, you don't think you'll ever be in a band again." Ripp, 43, is the only band member who doesn't live in Holliston. Powers reminisced fondly about the days he used to play in Boston nightclubs. "It was pretty heavy," he said. But now most of his lyrics look for the humor in everyday situations.

One of his songs, "Spelling Errors," is about a mother-in-law who can't quite grasp the concept of spelling out words in front of young children to keep them from knowing what treats are around the house. "She says, 'There's cookies in the J-A-R," Powers sings, backed vocally by 41-year-old Ira Kittrell . "Or a B-O-X of candy bars/ She thinks she's really fooling them/When she spells 'M and M.' " His children sleep on the opposite end of the house so the music doesn't wake them.

Still, guitarist Tibor Nemeth joked that he hopes the neighbors call the police with a noise complaint. "It'll give us that Nirvana edge," said Nemeth, a tiny doll clinging to the end of his guitar. The group has discussed staging and performing at a large Father's Day event in June. Kittrell, who plays mandolin and harmonica, said the group has plenty to draw on for their songwriting. "It's an interesting time when you've got little kids," Kittrell said. "It's a fascinating experience." Kittrell said the themes might change as his children grow up, and sang, "Well, I hope that my kid stops smoking cigarettes," to an impromptu guitar riff.

Although the men play mainly for fun, they said they wouldn't mind it if the group became a success. "If it does, it's fun, and if it doesn't, it's fun too," said Nemeth, 35.

John Marczewski , 43, the group's keyboard player, said the band gives him an outlet to express himself. "I do engineering work all day," he said. "This uses the other side of the brain."

Maura Marczewski said she thought the band was a "perfect" creative outlet for her husband, noting that he hadn't shirked any parenting duties because of rehearsals. "He comes home from work before he goes to rehearsals every week and makes sure he's helping put the kids to bed," she said. "He does his fair share of the dad duties around here."

"The dads are all really involved with parenting. That's why they can sing the songs with gusto."

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
- Boston Sunday Globe

"Dig it, Daddy"

Dig it, Daddy
By Mason Neely/Daily News correspondent
Thursday, March 15, 2007 - Updated: 12:00 AM EDT

Every singer/songwriter has a muse. Some find it in politics, others in love. Holliston resident John Powers, however, has spent years writing about a subject that couldn't be farther from the minds of most: the perils of fatherhood.
Powers is the leader and founder of The POP Stars, a group of local musicians who sing exclusively about the ups and downs of having a family.

With songs like "Songs From the 'Hood," "Pooped On," "I Miss Sleep" and "Being for the Benefit of Mammary Glands," he called the group "part band, part support group," giving each of its members an equal chance to play their instruments and let off a little steam.

Powers, 44, added that with each POP Star boasting at least two kids, any opportunity to talk through their lives is a welcome release.

"Anyone who's ever been a parent realizes how hard the job is, so for me it was just a chance to get these guys together and talk about trials and tribulations of being a parent, as well as an excuse to get together with your friends and have a good time," he said.

Among the group's members are rhythm guitarist and freelance photographer Tibor Nemeth, keyboardist and electrical engineer John Marczewski, bassist and coffee shop owner Tom Farrell, mandolin player and speech therapist Ira Kittrell, all of Holliston, and drummer and social worker David Ripp and harmonica player and mechanic Tim Neves, both of Natick.

The inspiration for the group came nearly a year after Powers had begun performing his songs about parenting and family solo at area clubs.

A music business veteran with a number of solo records and scoring credits to his name, Powers began recruiting musicians late last year to round out the project and soon realized that each player he approached seemed to have an uncanny amount in common.

"I tried to figure out a cool way to present these songs to the public," he said. "Then I realized that most of my friends were not only around my age and not only dads, but they also had been musicians at some point of their lives. They all come from really interesting backgrounds. The idea of singing about our funny experiences really grew from there and it's been picking up ever since."

Despite only having a few performances under their belts, the POP Stars have generated an almost immediate response.

Their first gig was held at Holliston's public library last month to a packed room of listeners spanning from 6 months to 60, though with lyrics like "You're throwing it all away/You're giving up all your freedom/Everything is gonna change," Powers freely admits his songs are primarily for parents.

"There's so much music out there for kids, and I think that's really valuable, but for me, I was far more interested in creating songs that dealt with what parents go through and gave them something to connect with, but at the same time still gave the kids something to dance to. It's great to see it when that combination happens," he said.

Their next performance on Sunday will be a fundraiser for rebuilding Goodwill Park Playground in Holliston, which in recent years has fallen into a near constant state of disrepair.

"The playground is in desperate need of attention," said Liz Nemeth, president of Mission Possible Holliston, one of the event's sponsor. "Structures are rotting and present a serious safety risk. The goal is to rebuild the playground and make it accessible for children of all ages and abilities."

The POP Stars play the at Placentino School Cafetorium, 235 Woodland St., Holliston, on Sunday, March 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, $20 for families and are available in advance at Holliston Superette and Fiske's, both located on Washington Street. For more information, go to - Metrowest Daily News


Songs from the 'Hood(parenthood that is)
Volume 1: The Early Years



Based in the Metrowest area of Boston, The POP Stars is a band comprised of a group of dads who perform original songs about fatherhood. These songs collectively describe their roles and observations on such things as potty training, sleep deprivation, breast feeding, spelling dangerous and divergent words like “cookies”, in laws, unwanted parental advice, familial pressure on procreational activities, spilt milk, and the myriad spectrum of joys and challenges fatherhood has to offer. The result is a light-hearted and poignant look at fatherhood combined with a Folky "POP" beat that is a guaranteed good time for all.