Pope Paul & The Illegals

Pope paul & the illegals

“It bums me out! After about four years now, no one realizes the illegals I’m talking about look more like our bass player, John!”, jokes Paul “Pope Paul” Bouyear of Santa Ana’s twangy trio Pope Paul & The Illegals. Bassist John Kveen is very tall and very caucasian. It would be easy for one to imagine him just stepped off the boat up Ellis Island circa 1892 or over Plymouth Rock in 1620. Bouyear, by contrast, like drummer Sal “Fat Sal” Sandoval both appear mighty for their stature, an assumption quickly proven true. In Trump’s America, however, Bouyear admits the band receives more shit on Facebook for some perceived disparaging of Pope Francis more so than The Illegals moniker. “Most are good sports. They laugh it off when I joke about the Mayflower at our shows.”, reassures the good Pope.

It would be easy to blame Tony Hawk. After all, Bouyear, like millions of American teens spent hours playing Pro Skater 3 at the end of the millennia. With a soundtrack made up by the likes of Del The Funky Homosapien and Xhibit, It was The Reverend Horton Heat with “I Can’t Surf” that crept into Bouyear’s subconscious. This music harkened back to his Grandma Carol’s Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly LP’s. As well, this sound was obviously descended from The Stray Cats whom his mother and aunt adored.

Bouyear counts it a stroke of luck, or fate maybe that his home had a working turntable. Connections were made between Kveen and Bouyear in the school pep band. Guitars were purchased. Liberal amounts of reverb and hair grease were applied.

Pope Paul believes he first heard the word on the Dial Back Sound studio in Water Valley. MS from one of the earlier drummers in the Illegals. The group wanted to cut albums live to tape the way the masters had done it. Recording was rarely done this way around Los Angeles anymore and could be cost prohibitive if it was sniffed out.

It was a chance meeting with The Squirrel Nut Zipper’s Jimbo Mathus one night in Las Vegas that solidified the band’s hunch about the mysterious studio. After a boozy conversation and a handshake, Mathus told Bouyear he was sure they would again cross paths. While studying liner notes later, Bouyear noticed that Jimbo was doing a lot of solo work out of Dial Back Sound.

Since meeting Jimbo Mathus in Vegas the trio has criss-crossed the United States numerous times to tour and hold all-nighter sessions at DBS. The band released some of the material via streaming and tour only CD’s. Jimbo has subsequently appeared on a prior Illegals’ track and has, in fact custom made the collage art for the front cover. Meanwhile studio owners Bronson Tew and Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers) were keeping an ear out for a special collection of songs to be released on the studio’s new record label of the same name.

The project has materialized in the form of ‘When The Stars Come Hurtling Down.’ This will mark the band’s first release in the LP format. Each track was given a fresh mix for the new format while Patton listened on and let the album’s flow percolate. The sides were lacquered up and mastered for vinyl on the lathe at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN by engineer Jeff Powell.

‘When The Starts Come Hurtling Down’ by Pope Paul & The Illegals will be released by Dial Back Sound on February 22, 2019. Copies will be available from the band on tour and via the store at dialbacksound.com . Copies will be available in the EU via Sonic Rendezvous Distribution.

Pope Paul & The Illegals 'When The Stars Come Hurtling Down' LP w/download

You will receive the LP with a download card inside. This vinyl only collection of songs features Illegals tracks both new and classic. These tracks were selected by Bronson and Matt at Dial Back and were given all new mixes and mastered especially for vinyl. Lacquers for this special collection were cut on the lathe at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis by engineer Jeff Powell. LP’s are currently being pressed by Memphis Record Pressing. Coming February 22, 2109

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Pope Paul & The Illegals ‘When The Stars Come Hurtling Down’ LP  Collage by Jimbo Mathus  Layout & Text by Sara Kleinick

Pope Paul & The Illegals ‘When The Stars Come Hurtling Down’ LP

Collage by Jimbo Mathus

Layout & Text by Sara Kleinick


March 2019

Thu 1 Apalachicola, FL at Bowery Station

Fri 2 Jacksonville, FL at Shanty Town Pub

Sun 4 Nashville, TN at The Local

Mon 5 Charleston, WV at The Empty Glass

Tue 6 Ft. Wayne, IN at The Brass Rail

Thu 8 Muskegon, MI at Unruly Brewing

Fri 9 Grand Rapids, MI at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill

Sun 11 Norman, OK at Red Brick Bar & Grill

Mon 12 Austin, TX at Hard Luck Lounge

Tue 13 San Antonio, TX at The Lonesome Rose

Thu 15 El Paso, TX at The Original Rosa’s Cantina

Sat 17 Long Beach, CA at Shenanigan’s Pub