The year of 20ninescene has brought forth the revival of bands such as Go Radio, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, We Are The In Crowd and more. Adding fuel to the nostalgic fire, Hey Monday sent fans into a mass frenzy after posting teasers regarding the 11-year anniversary of the band’s debut album, Hold On Tight. After a week’s worth of waiting and anticipation, Cassadee Pope announced the Hey It’s Monday Pop Punk Homecoming night set to take place in Nashville Nov. 25.
However, the teasing didn’t stop there as Pope hinted at some appearances from some very special guests. Now, AltPress is getting an exclusive glimpse at what this night will entail as the former Hey Monday frontwoman reveals two of those special guests.
Pope discusses some details of this Pop Punk Homecoming and spills who will be joining her onstage. Hold on tight, Hey Monday fans, as guitarist Mike Gentile and rhythm guitarist Alex Lipshaw are set to appear at this incredible event.
First of all, congrats on the 11-year anniversary of Hold On Tight! It’s mind-blowing to think it’s been that long already.
Thank you! I know, it’s crazy. I mean, I’ve just been on this reminiscing kick as of late. It’s just fun to see the progression of all of us—how far we’ve all come and what we’re all doing now and especially the songwriting aspect. Even just writing a song now and knowing so much more where I want to head with lyrics and memories and how so completely lost I felt with this writing. [Laughs.] It’s just such a big progression for all of us. It’s cool.
I can’t even imagine. So you recently announced that you’d be hosting a Pop Punk Homecoming Night in Nashville. How did that show come together?
I just thought if we’re going to have some sort of announcement, why don’t we make it a rock show? Put a show together where maybe Hey Monday play a few songs and I have a few guest appearances come up and do a song or two from their old band or as a band that they’re still in. So that’s how that took shape, and it’s been really fun to put it together. I got a few people that are confirmed that I’m excited about. So it’ll be awesome.
It sounds exciting! Like you said, you have been teasing that you would be joined by some special guests at the event. Who can fans expect to see, or can you provide any hints on who might make an appearance?
I definitely can say Mike [Gentile, guitar] and Alex [Lipshaw, rhythm guitar] from Hey Monday. So far, they’re the only ones I can say that I’m positive are coming. I know a few others have said they’re definitely coming, but I also don’t want to say that and then have it in writing and then you know… But definitely Mike and Alex, which I’m so excited about. That’s like the heart and soul of the band, you know? The three of us were the first members to come together in West Palm Beach. I went to high school with Alex, and Mike played in my band Blake before Hey Monday. So the three of us really were the ones that put the band together in the first place and formed first. So it’ll be really exciting. I can’t wait.
Was it easy to get Mike and Alex on board with the whole thing?
Yeah! Mike, Alex and I have kept in touch over the years, so I just hit them up. Mike’s not actually in Nashville, [but] Alex is. Mike [and] I had to figure out, “OK, what date would you have available to rehearse?” and everything. But yeah, the initial thing of like, “Hey, is this something you’d be into doing?” They both were immediately on board. No questions about it. “Fuck yeah, that would be awesome!” [Laughs.] But it was just logistics, you know, making sure that they were available for the rehearsals. We haven’t played together in, oh gosh, like eight years? I wanted to make sure that we had some practices under our belts and felt really comfortable getting onstage when the show comes about. That was really the only thing we had to figure out. But the idea of doing it was just exciting to all three of us.
That’s very cool that you guys stay in touch, especially after how long it’s been.
I think when you go through something so monumental with people and something changes your lives together, it’s impossible to not stay in touch. It’s almost a natural feeling, you know? We’ve stayed in touch over the years, but we haven’t been best friends like we used to be. So getting back in touch, talking every day basically has been so nostalgic and fun. We’ve been swapping pictures of back in the day. Ones I didn’t even know existed that are half-amazing and half-embarrassing [Laughs.] The thread is pretty entertaining.
You touched on it a little bit, but I know some fans were asking if this show was going to be performance-based, or will it be more like a DJ-style setup, kind of like an Emo Night?
Oh, it will definitely be a live band setup. The whole night basically is going to be me and my backing band minus Mike and Alex. They’re going to be the house band. All of these people are gonna come up and actually play live and sing [their song] with the band. Toward the end of the night will be me, Mike and Alex, my drummer and my bass player from my backing band, all playing an actual live Hey Monday set. It’s not going to be a DJ, [and] it’s not going to be backing tracks. It’s a full-on rock show. I totally get the confusion because that’s happening a lot. The idea was to make the announcement and then give all the fans little nuggets of information, slowly leading up so they can get the anticipation and give them enough information. I know fans are not going to travel unless they know that a few of the members will be there playing, so I’m definitely going to reveal that so people can make the proper travel arrangements. So yeah, it’s going to be a full-on rock show. I’m really excited.
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It’s surprising how many people who were in the pop-punk scene or are currently in the pop-punk scene who are living in Nashville right now.
I know! It’s crazy, and we all like working together, too. It’s just so fun. I’m always playing shows [with] Dan + Shay, Justin Richards, [Loren] Brinton and Andrew Cook who were in A Rocket To The Moon. Paul DiGiovanni wrote one of my singles from this album, and he was in Boys Like Girls, and the list goes on and on. We’re all just these kids who have played pop-rock for most of our [lives] living in Nashville now, and we’re bringing ideas that are seemingly new to country, but we’ve been doing [this] for 10-plus years. It’s really fun to bring our pop-rock influences into country and have them be so well received. That’s been really fun.
As you said, you’ve had such an incredible and amazing career path. You went from fronting Hey Monday to winning season 3 of The Voice, and now you’re releasing these absolutely amazing country albums. What has that journey been like for you, and how has your career as a musician evolved since then?
It’s been pretty seamless because I played country as a kid, and that’s the genre I learned to sing on. I sing a lot of Martina McBride and Faith Hill. That was definitely my first genre that I ever sang, so the transition from pop-rock back to country was easy. I feel like I was reentering into the country world after The Voice in a time where pop and rock was happening a lot more, so the timing was on my side as well. And like I said before, I worked with a lot of people from that rock world in Nashville, so it does feel like all of my worlds are colliding. It feels really comfortable, natural, all those things. I feel at home, which is nice. It’s a good feeling to feel at home when you’re in this crazy industry.
It’s been so much fun watching you grow and flourish in the industry.
Thank you! Yeah, it’s crazy. I just never expected myself to be here. I try not to ever expect anything, but I most certainly didn’t expect to be on a reality singing competition show. And I definitely didn’t imagine I would be solo. That was something I thought about doing. So it’s just funny when you let life happen. I’m going to work hard and try my best, but I just go through the doors that open for me and then at least be somewhere completely crazy and amazing. And that’s what I’ve felt like is the best method for me. The best route I can take is walking through these opportunities. That’s how I ended up here. So that’s been awesome.
It’s been 11 years since Hey Monday’s debut album, and you’re still playing songs off that album today. You played the final cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour, and you’re playing some of the songs during your headlining shows. Did you ever think that you’d still be playing these songs over a decade later?
Honestly, yeah. That album was such a crazy whirlwind of an experience, and I didn’t realize it. Back then, I was hoping I’d be playing that 10 years later. At the time, I thought I’d be playing them 10 years later in Hey Monday still, not as a solo artist. The outreach it had [was crazy], and I didn’t even know it. I was so immersed in the work of it and traveling. It was such a crazy time for us. It happened really fast. We were everywhere and then nowhere right away afterward. So it almost felt like a dream in a way. So yeah, I did expect this thing for the record, but I didn’t know it at the time. I thought, “Yeah, it could be a hit,” or it might not be. When I left the band, I was like, “OK, that album is gonna go away, and [it’s] going to be a thought or an afterthought,” and now here I am playing a Hey Monday reunion basically. People are excited about it and wanting to come. I’ve tried to not have expectations because they’re either never met or exceeded. And that’s just always a surprise. So that’s how I try to look at things.
So other than the Pop Punk Homecoming Night, what other things do you have coming up next?
I’ve been writing for a new record and promoting stages for the last few months, which has been incredible, and I’ve loved every second of it. But when I play the songs out [loud], sometimes I think, “Man, it’s so funny how much can happen in a few months,” because I am not really where a lot of the songs are talking about. So I felt like, “OK, I’m going to start writing during this time in my life” so by the time the next record is cut and released, it will be my story. So [I’ve] been basically just documenting my life with it in the form of songs that work. I’ve got [a] show that’s set up as a Hey, It’s Monday show because I have another ’90s country night, which I’m excited about. And then there’s another thing I can’t talk about! [Laughs.] There’s another fun thing happening in December in Nashville that I’ll be announcing next month. Next year’s open-ended. I’m hoping to release another record. There could be some team additions, which would be great. Things are escalating, which is what I want. I just want next year to be an elevated version of this year, and that’s all I can ask for.