The SpacePimps
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The SpacePimps

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
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"Space Pimpin All Over the World"

"If you are a human being, then you will hear about The SpacePimps at some point," the band's flyer proclaims. "They are the best band ever to be placed on this fine planet they call earth." They may talk big, but Pittsburgh powerpop band the SpacePimps have a huge sound and packed resume to back it up. What's more, their remarkably level-headed vibe makes the bravado seem downright sweet. The young, accomplished ensemble rocks out around the world with an eclectic blend of 90s pop, old school punk, and sheer hard work.

Born in May 2002 when the crew was still in high school—frontman and guitarist Rishi Bahl and drummer Jared Roscoe attended "a really strict private high school that did not give you room to breathe," says Bahl—the SpacePimps came together in the simplest of ways. Three guys (Bahl, Roscoe, and bassist and vocalist Brian Cain) discovered that they shared similar music tastes and the same longing for a creative outlet. But the band has long since made the enviable and impressive graduation from high-school band to blasting their own music in huge venues like Madison Square Garden—a sound perhaps best described as "melodic punk rock," says Cain, and molded by influences from predecessors ranging from Green Day and Blink-182 to The Ramones, NOFX and Everclear. In fact, the band has already completed three U.S. tours, performed alongside mega-bands including Fall Out Boy, Reel Big Fish, The Starting Line and Bowling for Soup, and—perhaps most impressive of all for an independent group—sold over 5,000 copies of their first EP without label support. When we caught up with them, they had just returned from a three-month tour of Japan, slated to pump up their 2006 release "Turn It Up!"

But it wasn't always this way. "We started out playing tiny shows," says Cain. "We recorded a demo that turned out really well, and started giving it to everyone and everything—I remember begging bands like New Found Glory to listen to it when they would tour through Pittsburgh."

Their big break came when they submitted their CD and were accepted to perform at the New York City Film and Music Festival. From there, the three began to play prestigious New York venues—B.B. Kings Blues Club included—in front of labels and managers—and with that, things started to get big. Promoters came calling, asking the SpacePimps to play alongside bands like Fall Out Boy, "and we didn't have to beg our friends to come see us anymore," says Cain.

Ten months ago, the SpacePimps signed a recording contract with a Japanese label called Kick Rock Music. Now they live dual lives that few college bands ever experience: Japanese superstars who still work hard running their own show in the U.S. They can now walk into a Virgin Megastore in downtown Tokyo and buy their own record.

In the U.S., the SpacePimps handle their own scheduling, promotion, sales, and finances—every layer of the business.

They signed with Kick Rock to release their debut album and organize a tour in Japan after "Turn it Up!" earned serious airtime. "It was simply amazing," says Roscoe. The label arranged all the trappings of a full-fledged tour—hotels, food, promotions and the itinerary—but the best part of the experience by far, the three agree, was the fans. "The shows were packed, and the kids there just go nuts for pop/punk music," said Roscoe. "They make you feel like a rock star—I'm talking mobbing you when they see you. It is unreal to me to think that the songs I write in my apartment by myself end up being sung by people across the world and mean something to them." But being treated as rock stars is exactly the last thing the SpacePimps say they are looking for right now. "Rock star implies some hierarchy," explains Bahl. "We are just guys who poop, play video games, eat, and get heartbroken by lame chicks."

Nor are they interested in trading elements of their style or sound to what Bahl calls "corporate America," in exchange for a big record deal—but they have been talking to a major label this year. Back home, the three are—believe it or not—full-time students at Pittsburgh colleges, although their domestic touring scheduling takes up six months out of the year. Working to earn a triple major in art history, political science and communications, Bahl manages publicity and marketing for the band, while his fellow members study business and political science. Their schedules demand that they take classes only on certain days of the week or online.

"It's definitely not a 'normal' college experience," Bahl admits. And none of the three students will graduate on time.But the group does not seem to have a problem with that. "We are happy and having fun, which is all that matters," Bahl says. "It may sound cliché, but we just want to have a good time!" Spoken like a true college student. Website: http://www.thespacepimps.com - Newsweek Magazine


"The SpacePimps Review: Stuck Here Forever"

“2003 is the only time that ever made sense to me.
Four chords, a punk rock show and we were good to go.”

2003 seems a far cry from today’s music scene, buried in techno-driven beats or overtaken by nonsensical lyrics of little to no value. But Pittsburgh’s The SpacePimps are in for a little bit of time travel, back to ’03 when pop-punk was first making an emergence onto the scene with bands like New Found Glory, Sugarcult, Simple Plan, and Good Charlotte; nevermind when Blink 182 and Green Day were at their prime.

It’s hard to pin-point a band or two that most resembles this Pennsylvania three-piece, as they show a reflection of so many similarities across their genre’s spectrum: from The Wonder Years to MxPx, from Blink-182 to Allister. In fact, it just speaks to The Space Pimps ability to ultimately encompass the ideals of pop-punk in a way that is uniquely their own in all its variations. You won’t ever find the need to press the skip button on this gem of a release.

This is music for the realists. The melody’s got that Warped Tour tinge of summer to it, but the lyrics are free from heartbroken tears and whiny grasps for girls. Flip over to a fan favorite, “The Downside of Growing Up” for three minutes of fast-paced nostalgic brilliance. As difficult as it is to grow and evolve from childhood on, don’t ever let yourself forget that “there’s more to life than what they made it out to be.”

Interspersing winding guitars, jogging drums, bouncing basslines, and the occasional gang vocal, The SpacePimps have compiled a CD for the music-adoring masses. I don’t know about you, but one song after another of pure pop-punk adrenaline certainly have me pulling out my scuffed Chucks and jumping in the car for a solid rocking-out-at-the-stoplights soundtrack.

Seriously, get in on this band before they hit the mainstream. - Absolutepunk.net


"The SpacePimps go Sophmore"

The SpacePimps have announced the June 8 release of their sophomore album Stuck Here Forever and a summer tour throughout the US to coincide. The tour launches with a hometown CD release show June 18 at Club Diesel in Pittsburgh.

With nearly 10,000 copies of their debut EP in.the.meantime sold independently, The SpacePimps bring strong perseverance to their brand of pop-punk music that was influential before the current musical culture shift. Proud of comparisons to likes of Blink 182, the band is armed with irreverence for the trappings of the current scene, while always delivering pure honesty in their music and explosive live shows.

"Stuck Here Forever encapsulates the following situation," the band explains. "It's Friday afternoon and you just got off work or school. This record documents the mayhem, fun, heartbreak, and nostalgia that occurs from that moment until Monday morning when the week starts all over again."

The album's first single, "Running Away (Leave the Light On)," will be released immediately in advance of the June 8 album release. Produced by Chris Badami (The Starting Line, The Early November), the album will see placement from Hot Topic along with a host of online visibility including a PureVolume album exclusive and front-page feature. The complete track listing for Stuck Here Forever:

1. DIY 'Til We Die
2. Trust Comes Tough
3. The Guide to Ruining Your Life
4. She Had It Coming
5. 2003
6. Running Away (Leave the Light On)
7. This One's For You, Mandy Moore
8. Hillcrest
9. When Music Mattered
10. The Downside of Growing Up
11. The Other Side
12. Confessions of an Independent Band - USA Today


"Pittsburgh's Pop Punks The SpacePimps Release Stuck Here Forever"

One thing about the old advice to "write what you know" is that the more you write, eventually what you know best is writing -- not the kinds of experiences you initially drew upon as subject matter. Which I suspect accounts for so many novelists using writer protagonists in their later works. And for all the songs and albums about being in a band.

Over the past several years, The SpacePimps have been one of Pittsburgh's more active pop-punk outfits. Now the trio of guitarist Rishi Bahl, drummer Jared Roscoe and bassist Brian Cain is releasing Stuck Here Forever -- an album that often seems a celebration of their years together as a band.

That nostalgic tone starts with the first note, the 40-second opener "DIY Till We Die," with the lyrics "We've been doing this for years now ... / To all the critics and hypocrites / we won't let this go." Other titles include "When Music Mattered" and "Confessions of an Independent Band" (which, oddly, seems mostly about staying in bed and feeling sorry for yourself, instead of music).

The album's central statement seems to be the song "2003," which provides the album's title. It opens with a Weezer-ish hook and includes the lines, "2003 is the only time that ever made sense to me / Four chords, a punk rock show and we were good to go / Nobody cared about the clothes you wore or MySpace whores / And no, I don't wanna add you as my friend."

Although the band hews to a bright, classic pop-punk sound, there's some variety to all the upbeatness. "Running Away (Leave the Light On)" has a New Wave-ish guitar hook, while the acoustic intro for "This One's for You Mandy Moore" is reminiscent of Cornershop's "Brimful of Asha." The album-closer, "Confessions," has a kind of sped-up Tom Petty twang.

The SpacePimps are self-releasing Stuck Here Forever here in the States; in Japan, where the band's toured in the past, it's being put out by Kick Rock Music. Their tour begins with a CD-release show at Diesel on Fri., June 18. - Pittsburgh City Paper


"Pop Punks The SpacePimps Stay True to the Music"

Three 6 Mafia might complain that it's hard out there for a pimp, but they haven't met the ones from outer space: suburban Pittsburgh pop-punk phenoms The SpacePimps, whose lead singer/guitarst Rishi Bahl really felt like he had landed on another planet back in 1996, when the Warped Tour first came through town.

"I was 11 years old and went with my mom and dad and sister," Mr. Bahl recalls. "My dad is a doctor from India, so imagine the combination of an Indian father who's 6-foot-3 and only knows bhangra and Bollywood, and my 5-foot mother who grew up in Wilkinsburg. I got my ear pierced, which took a lot of convincing, but it got taken out within weeks.

Nevertheless, punk rock left an indelible impression on the young lad, who grew up feeling stifled in the upper-class private school milieu of Shady Side Academy. The misbehavior of preps and jocks in his class led his small clique of punk-rock pals to take the opposite approach.

"Whereas these rich kids thought it was cool to get drunk and stoned, we called ourselves 'straightedge' [drug and alcohol-free] because it was this rebellious term that made everyone question what you were doing.

"We never had the [straightedge] X's on our hands, and we couldn't have different colored hair because the school had a dress code," he adds. "But we were cohesive because few kids in our class listened to punk. While the rest of the kids were at parties, we'd go to shows at Laga and Graffiti. We'd see bands who were on small labels, like Rufio, Taking Back Sunday or Yellowcard, and yet it would still be packed. It seemed too good to be true -- they were having so much fun with no restrictions. Little did I realize they didn't have health insurance or a place to stay, but it didn't look like a struggle to me at the time."

In Mr. Bahl's senior year, he started a pop-punk band with drummer Jared Roscoe and suddenly needed to come up with a band name. "We were practicing in Jared's walk-in closet," he recalls, "when Jared's little nephew, who was 6 or 7 and had been watching MTV's 'Pimp My Ride,' said, 'You guys look like a bunch of pimps from outer space.' Jared submitted the name without telling me, and we showed up to the high school battle of the band. The sign said 'The SpacePimps are playing Blink-182 covers,' and I was mortified."

After playing some of their "first real shows" at all-ages venues, Messrs. Bahl and Roscoe joined forces with bassist Brian Cain and have retained the same power-trio lineup ever since. "Things moved faster than we imagined. We got a big Punchline show at Laga and the Ernie Ball stage on the Warped Tour, so we'd been exposed to a large enough population that it would've hurt to change the name. Six years later, we're selling records in Japan under that name."

Mr. Bahl refers to 2006's "Turn It Up," a self-released album that sold 7,000 copies in the States. A Tokyo indie label called Kick Rock Music caught wind of it, and the boys got a taste of what it means to be "big in Japan."

"[The CD] sold more there than here, and we ended up touring [Japan] in 2007," he recalls. "It was unbelievable -- we played four shows, headlined all of them, and sold them out. It's a completely different market. [In the U.S.] it's just oversaturated -- there are too many bands, period. But in Japan, there aren't as many, and American bands are seen as better and desirable."

For Mr. Bahl, who missed both 1977 (the year punk entered the media) and 1991 ("the year punk broke" into the mainstream, according to the documentary starring Sonic Youth), Tokyo felt like 2003 all over again.

So he wrote two songs on The Spacepimps' new CD, "Stuck Here Forever," about that halcyon year before the self-absorbed era of Myspace and Facebook. Having missed out on pop-punk's progenitors such as The Descendents and The Queers, and a bit too young to even catch Green Day's ascent, Bahl and friends adulated third-iteration acts like New Found Glory, although they were also fans of more seminal bands such as NOFX.

"I grew up on pop-punk music," he explains. "It might sound funny, but it was music that differentiated us in the 'emo' scene because we missed the pop-punk bandwagon. There was always Blink-182 or Fall Out Boy, but the scene underneath them was nonexistent, and we always had to piggyback on emo shows. I guess we're kind of the bastard child of pop-punk -- the slow kid that you can't get rid of, but everyone still likes."

These days, The SpacePimps might still be fish out of water, but they're getting all their ducks in a row. The new album was recorded with producer Chris Badami (The Starting Line, The Early November) mostly in New Jersey but with some parts in Pittsburgh at the New Hazlett with Dave Bjornson.

The band's goal is to get picked up by a label and make music a full-time pursuit for a while -- a reasonable shot for a band that was featured in Newsweek. "They did a two-page spread on us [as an example of] balancing a band and being in school at the same time," says Mr. Bahl, who receives his Ph.D. in business this fall, comparable to the highly educated members of punk legends such as Lifetime and Bad Religion.

"Jared and Brian are still in college. It's been hard to juggle -- I took years of online school at Pitt so I could get through classes while I was on the road."

Some tracks on the CD, such as "DIY Till We Die" and "Confessions of an Independent Band," seem hyperbolic but are still cogent statements in a world where groups with suburban teen appeal use Auto-tune and backing tracks on stage.

The album art drives Mr. Bahl's point home, depicting a moshing crowd of kids enjoying The SpacePimps on the front cover, while a faceless group with fashionable hair plays to two forlorn girl groupies on the back cover in front of a banner that reads "we do this because we want to be famous."

"All these bands know is getting viral marketing on YouTube or how many plays they can get on MySpace. But ['Confessions'] encapsulates what it's really about: camaraderie with your friends. We've had the same lineup for six years, which is remarkable. It's about being in a 15-passenger van with 13-hour drives. On days off, when you're not playing a show, you go to the mall or a big concert and try to sell your CDs until you get kicked out. It's about sleeping in the van and on your friends' floors.

"You can either take the leap into the deep end, and say we're going to do this full-time and put our lives on hold, or you can still try to maintain some kind of normal life," he adds. "We want to be a band that unloads from their trailer, plugs in their amps, and starts playing. That's what it was in 2003 -- it wasn't about who had the better BlackBerry. It was simply about high school kids going to a show and wanting to have fun."


- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Discography

Full Length "Turn It Up!" Released in July 2007
Release single "Tell Me Why" and had local radio play on the largest rock radio station in Pittsburgh, 105.9 The X. There was also substantial College Radio play throughout the US.

2nd Full Length, "Stuck Here Forever," release June 2010.
Single, "Running Away (Leave the Light on)" has been featured on radio stations across the nation, and their current single "2003" was used on television as well as radio stations across the nation (105.9 The X, KROQ).

Turn It Up sales worldwide are over 10k
Stuck Here Forever sales worldwide are over 6k

Photos

Bio

What the hell is a SpacePimp? 3 white dudes who play pop-punk? Well, sort of. There is plenty more to the story than that.

The SpacePimps are a band that creates music that normal people, who deal with a wide array of normal issues can understand and find meaning. This means you will not hear a song that has to do with dancing, and certainly no songs with metaphors that talk about getting laid by underage scene girls. The band ascribes to am much more honest backdrop, resonating with a fan base similar to that of Blink 182, New Found Glory, The Starting Line and Yellowcard.

Coming off their Sophomore release, "Stuck Here Forever (Produced by Chris Badami; The Starting Line, Early November)," The SpacePimps pride themselves on a work ethic that has gotten lost in the dozens of bands that sport deep v-necks and neon colored girls jeans. In the first 2 months of the release, the band has already reached upwards of 1,900 units sold. Currently, sales are around the 5,000 unit mark. Additionally, a 2 month US tour complimented by dates on festivals like Summerfest and Warped Tour have helped move units faster than expected. A featured in-store release with Hot Topics all over the US have also significantly helped this cause. These sales compounded with the nearly 9,000 units moved with their previous release, "Turn It Up!" give a cumulative total nearing 10,000 units sold.

The name sounds familiar, maybe? This is largely in part to the comprehensive marketing plan that included features on AOL.COM, AbsolutePunk.net, Fuse TV, Alternative Press Magazine, and Purevolume.com. These promotions helped push the band into the international market as well. The SpacePimps are inked in a distribution agreement with Japanese powerhouse label, Kick Rock Music and Chinese label Hot Pot Music to release their record all over Asia. With sales over 2,500 in Japan, the band embarked on their 2nd tour of Japan in early September, and were one of the few American bands ever to tour china in the Summer of 2011, and reached over 20,000 fans.

The band is constantly seeking new ways to spread their "brand" to as many people as humanly possible. Recently, the band has entered into a licensing agreement in the United States in order to place their music in television and movies. This mentality mixed with a blue collar work ethic is what defines The SpacePimps.

Take a listen: www.myspace.com/thespacepimps
New Album URL: http://soundcloud.com/thespacepimps