David Bash is the founder and CEO of the International Pop Overthrow Music Festival, which is held annually in 16 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York, Toronto, Vancouver BC, London, and Liverpool UK (at The Cavern Club).
The festival is dedicated to bring classic pop music to the public. Although the festival has over the years featured several major label acts, such as Phantom Planet, Maroon 5 (under their previous incarnation, Kara's Flowers), and The Click Five, Bash tries to maintain the grassroots feel of the festival by featuring primarily unsigned bands, and presenting them in a festival platform with similar minded artists, where they will be appreciated by both the festival audiences and by each other. Bash personally selects all the artists. Each year, Bash produces a CD compilation on the Not Lame Recordings label featuring bands that have played in any of the cities in which the festival has appeared.
Early life and formative years
Bash was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, on September 2, 1958, and grew up listening to 1970s top 40 radio on stations like WABC AM and 99X FM. He made the transition to album oriented radio in 1975, with stations like WPLJ FM and WNEW FM. By the time of his graduation from New York University in 1981, with a BA in journalism, Bash had amassed a collection of 4000 LPs and 1000 45s. The following year, he returned to college at the University of California Irvine; in 1984, he received a BA in psychology. He remained at UCI for graduate school, entering a PhD program in cognitive psychology, but in 1990 decided to leave with his masters degree, and embark on a teaching career. From 1990 through 1998, Bash taught psychology at various community colleges, including Cerritos College, Cuyamaca College, Palomar College and Camp Pendelton.
Pop music journalism and the International Pop Overthrow Festival
Throughout this time, Bash maintained his strong interest in music. By the early 1990s his record and CD collection had grown to almost 8000 items, and included many obscurities from international artists not generally known in the US. By the mid-1990s, Bash had discovered pop music fanzines, such as Yellow Pills and Audities, and started writing music reviews and articles for both publications in 1995. Over the next few years, he also wrote for Discoveries, Goldmine, Amplifier, and PopSided magazines, and penned the liner notes for various re-issue CDs, such as The Toms (on Not Lame Recordings), Wanna Meet The Scruffs?, Nino Tempo & April Stevens All Strung Out (Varèse Sarabande), and the 3 disc set Magic Time: The Millennium/Ballroom Recordings (Sundazed).
From his writing of CD reviews, Bash got to know unsigned bands from all over the world. Many of these bands expressed a strong desire to play in Bash's home town of Los Angeles, so in December 1997, Bash decided to create the International Pop Overthrow Music Festival. The name was chosen to pay tribute to Jim Ellison, singer songwriter of Material Issue, a powerpop band from Chicago, whose 1991 debut album was entitled International Pop Overthrow. The name was also chosen to communicate Bash's desire to overthrow, with the kind of classic pop music being featured at the festival, what had become decidedly "unpop" mainstream radio sounds. In August 1998, the first International Pop Overthrow festival was held in Los Angeles, featuring 120 pop and rock bands from Los Angeles, several other US cities, and 10 bands from five countries: Canada, Australia, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands. The festival was a success, and over the next three years, its roster grew to include bands from countries such as Japan, Norway, Austria, Israel, and the United Kingdom. At the 2001 festival, during a panel discussion, it was suggested by several bands that Bash take International Pop Overthrow on the road.
The first city outside Los Angeles in which the International Pop Overthrow Festival (IPO) was held was New York, in December 2001, followed by Chicago in April 2002. Each new city that followed added a cache of strong local talent, and provided opportunities for bands from other cities in which IPO was already established to play. The festival became international in 2003, when Bash was approached by Beatles historian, Jean Catharell, to hold the festival in Liverpool, UK. The festival has since become a yearly event at the Cavern Club, drawing unsigned pop and rock talent from around the world. The festival is now held annually in 16 different cities, and Bash continues to explore opportunities to take the festival to additional locales, with Sweden, Spain, Japan, and Australia high on the list of possible future International Pop Overthrow locations.
The International Pop Overthrow Festival has been held in several venues, such as the Cavern Club (Liverpool UK), the Troubadour (Los Angeles), the El Rey (Los Angeles), Spaceland (Los Angeles), the Abbey (Chicago), Schubas (Chicago), Bottom of the Hill (San Francisco), The Rivoli (Toronto), the Khyber (Philadelphia), Arlene's Grocery (New York), Kenny's Castaways (New York), the Knitting Factory (Los Angeles and New York), the Middle East (Boston), the Railway (Vancouver BC), City Hall (Denver), and the Orange County Fair (Orange County CA).
The International Pop Overthrow festival has been recognized in an interactive exhibit at The Grammy Museum, as helping the power pop genre "persist into the new millenium."
Artists who have played the International Pop Overthrow Festival include Walter Egan, Harmony Grass, Shoes, Off Broadway, John Wicks & The Records, The Rubinoos, The Cowsills, and Enuff Z'Nuff, as well as recent and current stars, such as Kara's Flowers (now known as Maroon 5), Phantom Planet, The Click Five, Jason Falkner, Seth Swirsky and The 88.
The International Pop Overthrow Festival has been covered in numerous publications, including The Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, The Chicago Sun Times, The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The Liverpool Echo, BBC Liverpool, SPIN!, Goldmine, Amplifier, and Billboard. In addition, noted Liverpool historian and BBC radio personality, Spencer Leigh, devoted several pages to the festival in his book, The Cavern: The Most Famous Club in the World.
As of 2014, Bash has lived in Sherman Oaks, California for the past 14 years. In 2001, he met his girlfriend, Rina Bardfield, at an International Pop Overthrow show, and they have been together ever since. Bardfield helps with the selection and scheduling of artists for the festival, and writes many of the artist descriptions for the festival's various programs.
- Ostermeier, Kendra; Kathy Janies. "David Bash interview". Way Cool Music. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- Harris, Will (August 11, 2008). "Hooks ‘N’ You: International Pop Overthrow". Pop Dose. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- Bronson, Kevin (July 27, 2007). "International Pop Overthrow kicks off 10th festival". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- DeRogatis, Jim (April 7, 2009). "International Pop Overthrow comes to Chicago for year 12". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- Leigh, Spencer (May 30, 2006). "Liverpool’s Fourth Annual International Pop Overthrow Festival has been a resounding success.". BBC News (Liverpool, England). Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- Borack, John (April 9, 2010). "Rave On: Believe in this International Pop Overthrow". Goldmine (magazine). Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- Frenay, Gary (2006). "INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW'S DAVID BASH". Amplifier magazine (Boston, USA). Retrieved April 24, 2011.
- Spencer, Leigh (August 30, 2008). The Cavern: The Most Famous Club in the World. SAF Publishing Ltd. pp. 213–217. ISBN 978-0-946719-90-7.