“When you want to be the best sounding band you can be, you need to use the best sounding speakers you can buy and common sense tells us that is Eminence.”
Initially a local Pennsylvania cover band, things began to change for the Harrisburg, PA-based Poptart Monkeys when the band found Tyson Clark (lead vocals/sometime drummer) in 2003.
It wasn’t long before the band’s charismatic new frontman caught the attention of Steve Corbin (VP, Warner Music Group). After watching Clark perform, Corbin saw a star in the making. He knew he wanted to become the band’s manager.
Under Corbin’s creative direction, the band traveled to Atlanta to write and record a new album at the legendary Tree Studios. The initial recording sessions were loose and spontaneous, capturing the band’s live energy. The band collaborated on 13 new songs with Hugo Ferreira (Tantric).
After the band posted a few MP3s on their website (ptmmusic.com), local radio began playing one of the unfinished tracks, “Valerie.” When the band put a few finishing touches on the unrefined tracks, they filmed and financed a music video that began to gain traction with FUSE and MTV2. Soon after, the group embarked on an ambitious tour. The band’s project began to strike a populist chord.
On the strength of their live shows and growing fan base, the band began getting better gigs. Before they knew it, the Poptart Monkeys had gone from playing in front of their friends and family in smoke-filled hometown bars to opening for the likes of 3 Doors Down, Alien Antfarm, Bowling For Soup, Breaking Benjamin, Saliva, SR-71, and Sum 41.
The finished record, a concept album about love, loss, and growing up, was titled “Happily Never After” and released nationwide in November 2005 to heightened expectations. The band played roof-raising gigs to packed houses at infamous venues such as CBGB’s in New York, the Trocadero in Philadelphia, and Scarlett’s in Hollywood, Florida. Major label interest was growing, but ultimately the band did not find a home.
Following a year of extensive touring in the north, Midwest and southeastern United States, the band finished a controversial second place in Bodog Music’s $1 Million Battle of the Bands (semi-final round, December 2006).
It became clear that something needed to change. The Poptart Monkeys were no longer a little Pennsylvania cover band; they had become a bonafide regional powerhouse. Still, many believe the band is destined for even greater heights. In the interest of changing things up, the band amicably parted ways with original member Rob Hampton and started on a new direction, auditioning over 100 new drummers before choosing Jason Massey.
This new direction is a blank page and a fresh start, as the band continues improving and begins to record its next album. The group’s atmospheric textures and lunging riffs compliment Clark’s emotionally revealing lyrics, which range from breathy and beautiful to scathing and aggressive, with a twist of irony. With their tight knit chemistry and infectious hooks, PTM is turning heads and leaving crowds wanting more.
“We’re just so grateful,” says guitarist/vocalist Chris Kurtz. “We really pour our hearts into this band and the music. All of the time together on the road has really helped us grow and discover our sound as a group. As a result, when we go back into the studio, we should have a stronger sense of what we want to accomplish.”
Indeed, their story has just begun.