PUP (band)

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PUP (band) live new york 2016.jpg
PUP performing in New York on October 2016
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Punk rock,[1] hardcore punk,[2] pop punk,[3] indie rock
Years active 2013–present
Labels Royal Mountain, SideOneDummy
Website www.puptheband.com
  • Stefan Babcock
  • Nestor Chumak
  • Zack Mykula
  • Steve Sladkowski

PUP (abbreviation for Pathetic Use of Potential) is a Canadian punk rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario in 2013, originally under the name Topanga.[4] PUP's self-titled debut album was released on October 8, 2013 on Royal Mountain Records.[5] In December 2013, PUP signed with SideOneDummy Records and re-released their debut album in the United States on April 8, 2014.[6] The group was in the studio in late 2015 recording their second album The Dream Is Over which was released on May 27, 2016 through SideOneDummy.[7]


They originally called the band Topanga (a Boy Meets World reference) but changed the name just before the release of their first record after learning that the franchise was set to be rebooted by Disney.[4] The new name PUP is said to be an acronym for Pathetic Use of Potential.[8] Babcock has stated that this was inspired by something that his grandmother had said to him, although there are rumours that they found inspiration for their logo from graffiti above a urinal at Sneaky Dee's.

PUP logo at Sneaky Dee's

The band originally recorded an EP and self-released it digitally.[4] The EP started to get noticed and the group was approached by Hollerado to tour together. The band members quit their day jobs to pursue full-time music careers when Dave Schiffman (Rage Against The Machine, The Bronx, Weezer, Anti-Flag) replied to their e-mailed demo album and expressed interested in recording with them.[4][9] PUP has been named one of Canada's up and coming bands by the Calgary Herald,[10] as well as one of Stereogum's top 40 bands of the year.[11] PUP won 2 Bucky Awards from CBC Radio 3 for Best Live Show and Best New Artist in 2013, as well as being nominated for Best Video.[12] They've played festivals such as NXNE, Halifax Pop Explosion,[13] Pop Montreal, and CMW.[14]


PUP's self-titled debut album was released on October 8, 2013 on Royal Mountain Records.[15]From September to the end of November 2013, PUP joined Hollerado and the Zolas on a 24 stop tour across Canada to promote a newly released self-titled album. In December 2013, PUP signed with SideOneDummy Records and re-released their debut album in the United States on April 8, 2014.[16] 2014 was a banner year for PUP, they went on their first tour of the UK, playing 8 shows around the country with the UK band Slaves. The first two shows of the tour in London were part of the NME Awards tour.[17] After which they played South By Southwest in Austin, Texas followed by several more London shows and the Groezrock festival in Belgium. In May they started an extensive tour of the US with the Menzingers, Lemuria and Cayetana, playing 32 shows in 39 days. In August they opened for the Hives in London, England. and then playing at Reading and Leeds Festivals. later, On September 2014, they made first appearance on Riot Fest at Chicago and Toronto.

In late 2014, PUP completed its first head-lining tour of Canada and the US, culminating in a sold-out concert at Toronto's Lee's Palace featuring a "next level" performance.[18] In early 2015, PUP completed a multi-city tour of Australia, supporting The Smith Street Band. PUP then participated in the 2015 Vans Warped Tour, joining the tour for the month of July, including a highly anticipated date in Toronto, the band's hometown and place where the band has enjoyed success. This was the band's first time playing the Molson Amphitheatre. Between October and December 2015, the group supported Modern Baseball on their headlining US tour.[19]

The Dream Is Over[edit]

In early 2016, PUP is set to headline a very select number of shows in New York City. They also released a new track, "DVP", from their second album.[20] and also they announce upcoming second album The Dream Is Over which was released on May 27, 2016 through SideOneDummy.[21] On May 27, 2016, PUP released their second album, "The Dream Is Over".[22] According to the band, the title is a direct quote from Babcock's doctor after damaging his vocal chords.[23]

PUP toured the US, Canada, Australia and Europe in 2016 on a headlining tour entitled "If this tour doesn't kill you, I will", which is also the name of the first track on their second album "The Dream is Over". In early 2017, PUP headlined European shows with The Wonder Years and Tiny Moving Parts. during Spring and Summer of 2017 the band made a first appearance on Shaky Knees Music Fest, Boston Calling, WayHome, Lollapalooza, and Osheaga.

In September 2017, PUP made their cable television debut at Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC, performing "Sleep in the Heat"[24] and "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will / DVP".[25]

In January 2018, PUP join The Menzingers alongside with Cayetana on their headlining UK/Europe tour.[26]

Acclaim and awards[edit]

PUP has enjoyed critical success, having been nominated or won in major Canadian contests such as the Juno Awards, the Polaris Music Prize, the CBC Bucky Awards, among others. Their first single "Reservoir" was nominated for a SOCAN Song-writing Prize.[27] It was also used on gameplay footage showed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 for the game Watch Dogs 2.

PUP won 2 Bucky Awards from CBC Radio 3 for Best Live Show and Best New Artist in 2013, as well as a nomination for Best Video.[12]. PUP's first album was long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize of 2014. The national newspaper The Globe & Mail called them out as front-runners in the contest along with Arcade Fire, Mac Demarco, BADBADNOTGOOD, among other artists.[28] PUP has been nominated for three Juno Awards. In 2015, PUP was nominated for Recording Package of the Year and Video of the Year for "Guilt Trip".[29] In 2016, PUP was nominated again for Video of the Year for "Dark Days".[30]

Rolling Stone magazine listed the "Canadian punkers" of PUP as one of 2014's "breakout rock acts".[31]

PUP was nominated for the 2016 Prism Prize for Music Video of the Year for "Dark Days".[32]

PUP achieved commercial success with the release of their second album, The Dream is Over, on May 27, 2016, with chart achievement recognition from Billboard in several categories including Canadian Albums, Alternative Albums, Heatseekers, Independent Albums, Top Rock Albums, and Top Album Sales.[33] In July 2016, The Dream is Over was nominated to the Short-list of the Polaris Music Price 2016.[34] Rolling Stone also listed the "Sleep in the Heat" music video as #4 of the "10 Best Music Videos of 2016".[35]

PUP was nominated on 2017 Prism Prize for Music Video "DVP" and "Sleep In The Heat".[36][37] In July 2017, PUP won SOCAN Song-Writing Prize for "DVP".[38] On March 2018, PUP nominated for Prism Prize for Music Video "Old Wounds".[39]


  • Stefan Babcock – lead vocals, guitar (2013–present)
  • Nestor Chumak – bass, backing vocals (2013–present)
  • Zack Mykula – drums, backing vocals (2013–present)
  • Steve Sladkowski – guitar, backing vocals (2013–present)




  • Reservoir / My Shadow 7"


  • Oceans as Topanga (2011 digitally) 7" re-release 2012

Music videos[edit]

  • "Reservoir" (2013)
  • "Lionheart" (2014)
  • "My Shadow (Jay Reatard cover)" (2014)
  • "Guilt Trip" (2014)
  • "Mabu" (2014)
  • "Back Against The Wall" (2015)
  • "Dark Days" (2015)
  • "DVP" (2016)
  • "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will." (2016)
  • "Sleep In The Heat" (2016)
  • "Old Wounds" (2017)

Appearance in media[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PUP | Biography, Albums, & Streaming Radio". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  2. ^ Lampiris, Steve (April 14, 2014). "PUP – PUP". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved September 28, 2016. ...a fantastic hardcore band.
  3. ^ Weiss, Dan (November 3, 2016). "For Toronto pop-punks PUP, the dream is just beginning". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Hudson, Alex. "PUP - Boys, Meet World • Interviews •". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  5. ^ "Check out Toronto Punk Band – PUP". Indie88. 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  6. ^ "SideOneDummy Records signs PUP". Propertyofzack.com. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  7. ^ "PUP Announce 'The Dream Is Over' LP". Exclaim.ca. 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  8. ^ "Maimann: Punk band PUP has no regrets | Columnists | Opinion". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  9. ^ Elbert, Tarian (17 October 2013). "Producer Dave Schiffman nails the punk hook for Toronto's PUP". Metronews toronto. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  10. ^ Bell, Mike (2013-11-08). "Pup: The best new band in Canada heads to Calgary". Calgaryherald.com. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  11. ^ "Stereogum's 40 Best New Bands Of 2013 PUP – Stereogum". Stereogum.com. 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  12. ^ a b "2013 Bucky Award Winners". CBC. 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  13. ^ "Watch PUP Cover Fucked Up With Damian Abraham". Stereogum. 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  14. ^ "Topanga "Oceans"". Indie88. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  15. ^ "Check out Toronto Punk Band – PUP". Indie88. 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  16. ^ "SideOneDummy Records signs PUP". Propertyofzack.com. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  17. ^ "NME Awards Tour". NME. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  18. ^ Howard, Richard (2014-11-25). "PUP's Homecoming Show Took Them to the Next Level | NOISEY". Noisey.vice.com. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  19. ^ Leak, Brian (August 11, 2015). "Modern Baseball announce tour with PUP, Jeff Rosenstock, Tiny Moving Parts". Alternative Press. Alternative Press Magazine, Inc. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "PUP unleash rip-roaring new song "DVP" — listen". Consequence of Sound. 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  21. ^ "PUP Announce 'The Dream Is Over' LP". Exclaim.ca. 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  22. ^ "The Dream Is Over, by PUP". Puptheband.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  23. ^ "PUP talk their "rowdy, noisy clusterfuck" of a new album, 'The Dream Is Over'". DIY. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  24. ^ Pup: "Sleep in the Heat", 2017-09-18, retrieved 2017-09-20
  25. ^ Pup: "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will/DVP", 2017-09-18, retrieved 2017-09-20
  26. ^ Will, Richards (14 August 2017). DIY. DIY mag http://diymag.com/2017/08/14/the-menzingers-pup-uk-european-tour-2018. Retrieved 25 July 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 8, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  28. ^ Wheeler, Brad (20 June 2014). "Long list for the Polaris Prize is diverse, but not all-inclusive". The Globe and Mail.
  29. ^ "2015 JUNO Awards Nominees" (PDF). Junoawards.ca. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  30. ^ "2016 JUNO Awards Nominees" (PDF). Junoawards.ca. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 28, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  32. ^ "News". Prism Prize. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  33. ^ "PUP - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2016-06-18.
  34. ^ "2016 Nominees - Polaris Music Prize". Polaris Music Prize. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  35. ^ "10 Best Music Videos of 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  36. ^ "Prism Prize Announces Top 20 Finalists". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  37. ^ "Prism Prize Reveals 2017's Top 10 Finalists". Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  38. ^ "Punk phenoms PUP win $10,000 SOCAN Songwriting Prize 2017 | SOCAN". www.socan.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  39. ^ Murphy, Sarah (March 27, 2018). "Here Are the Top 10 Prism Prize 2018 Finalists". Exclaim. Exclaim. Retrieved 15 May 2018.

External links[edit]