Respect and Punk Rock: How PUP grew from touring to creating ‘Morbid Stuff’


Olivia Munson    College Times


The punk rock four-piece PUP was formed in Canada, so they are accustomed to long hours on the road when touring, according to drummer Zack Mykula.

Nevertheless, the band is maintaining its spirits on its latest jaunt, “The Morbid Stuff Tour-Pocalypse,” in support of its third album “Morbid Stuff.” The run comes to the Crescent Ballroom on July 2, coupled with plenty of crowd surfing and screaming.

“Everybody kind of gets loose but stays very respectful. It’s like a huge party,” says Mykula, whose band name stands for Pathetic Use of Potential. “The concerts are not about the individual but making everyone capable of having a good time and not infringing on anybody’s personal freedoms. At the same time, still trying to have fun; doing something as insane as getting into the mosh pit.”

Within the last year, PUP has toured the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. From traveling, the band has seen changes from the inside out.

“Touring, being the pressure cooker it is, definitely sped up the process (of growth) and let us keep in touch emotionally with each other and be more open,” Mykula says.

“In any career or walk of life, you just get better at being a person and interacting and working with people.”

PUP’s bond is something special because the members get “more and more excited to be with each other,” Mykula says. He adds that’s uncommon for bands. This connection helps improve PUP’s work ethic, whether it be with songwriting or its other ventures.

“You just gel so much easier and I think that it helped us a lot on (‘Morbid Stuff’),” he says.

Each PUP musician has his own style. The band tries to combine all its influences, which range from Arcade Fire to Van Halen, to make something new.

Although PUP speaks of serious topics in its songs, such as “Full Blown Meltdown” which highlights mental health and the competition within the music industry, it tries not to take things too seriously. The band likes to keep it light while talking about subjects it cares about.

According to Mykula, lead vocalist and guitar player Stefan Babcock has refined PUP’s lyrics while being “incredibly earnest and pointed but also having a really great sense of humor about everything he writes.”

Overall, Mykula says the band tries to create music they enjoy and that can be translated to a live setting.

The punk rock industry may not be easy, but PUP has found familiarity in the community they created.

Though Mykula says PUP is no longer DIY, it takes control in its creative outlet to include more artists and fans in the process. In 2018, the band has released two zines. Additionally, PUP started it’s own record label, Little Dipper, to release “Morbid Stuff.”

PUP takes baby steps, in terms of creating music and performing live, to extend its longevity.

PUP w/Ratboys and Beach Bunny, Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Avenue, Phoenix, 602.716.2222,, 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, $18, 16 and older. CT


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