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Liner notes

Pop Combo releases album!!

BLUE VELVET TRACES 

New release by Lenny Zenith & Pop Combo 2020

1970s

In the mid- to late 70s, when new wave and post punk were night-crawling through the New Orleans music scene, Lenny Zenith transformed his popular punk band RZA into the power-pop and new wave influenced Pop Combo with structure, chords, melody & storytelling. Songwriting that grew out of Lenny’s formative years at NOCCA and the punk angst of his & local frontwoman Becky Kury’s band RZA laid the groundwork for Pop Combo’s deliberate pop-pretty melodies. Over food and drink with original member & bass player Gary, Pop Combo was named with a side glance to a relatively unknown British band from Liverpool.

1980s

Emerging on the local New Orleans scene, Pop Combo created music that merged new wave with British Invasion pop. They opened for The Gang of Four, Gun Club, Aztec Camera, Modern English, Marshall Crenshaw & The Cold – shows that local scenesters flocked to. 

The band’s first EP, Give Us A Home, was produced by Ivan Neville and was well received locally, propelling them on to an east coast tour to gain new fans and a following in New York City, Boston, Baltimore and Provincetown.   

2010s

New wave passed into history and Lenny relocated to New York City, but Pop Combo members reconnected and revived the four-piece band. Original guitarist Bruce Blaylock had moved on, so Rick Nick, the original RZA guitarist, slipped seamlessly into place. Original members Gary Parky on bass and Steven Fisher on drums rejoined Lenny to once again play to crowded clubs in New Orleans. 

Fans traveled across the country to be there for these reunion shows. The set lists featured original songs from back in the day that have never been recorded until now, ranging from power pop fan favorites to rockabilly and punk jazz.

The Recording

All of the songs were recorded in New Orleans at Blue Velvet Studios and engineered by Tom Stern. In addition to the original band members, the recording is rounded out by notable New Orleans guest musicians Carlo Nuccio, on drums on Figment and Part of the Action; Alison Young on background vocals on Figment and Part of the Action; 

 and Scott Frock on trumpet, Joe Cabral on alto sax and Craig Kline on trombone on Part of the Action, with a horn arrangement by Rural Hall, NC native Rick Ledbetter. Lenny’s longtime NYC friend James Pertusi contributed additional vocals and guitar on a few tracks as well as mixing and overall production duties. Guitarist Andrew Solin of the Austin band Belcurve also contributed guitar on Subway Tracks. All songs are written and arranged by Lenny Zenith. Rick Nick shares co-writing credits on 42X and Five Pointed Animal. The CD cover artwork is by New Orleans native Steve Williams of 504 What Style. Known for his inimitable edgy illustrations that reflects the essence of the record’s musical approach.

This album is a tribute to our dedicated fans who have supported us throughout the years. As a transgender man who is grateful for his acceptance into the New Orleans rock scene, Lenny pledges that a portion of sales will go to a local LGBTQ fund. Lenny chose to do as much as possible in New Orleans  – hiring musicians & artists, recording and pressing the CD. Since we are currently navigating through crazy times, Lenny and Pop Combo will celebrate this historic release with shows in New Orleans, NYC, L.A. & Asheville in the near future. Follow us on Facebook here for updates and news.

Peace, love & understanding,

Lenny & Pop Combo

Photo Captions

  1. RZA – Lenny Zenith, Charlie Wehr, Becky Kury, Jimmy Negrotto, 1980 – Photo: Skip Bolen
  2. Becky Kury & Lenny Zenith, 1980 – Photo: Bunny Matthews
  3. Pop Combo – Bruce Blaylock, Steven Fisher, Gary Parky & Lenny Zenith, 1984
  4. EP released, 1983 – Artwork: Skip Bolen
  5. Rick Nick, Lenny Zenith, Steven Fisher & Gary Parky, 2019
  6. Pop Combo at Siberia, 2019 – Photo: Gina Montalbano
  7. Lenny Zenith laying down tracks at Blue Velvet Studio
  8. Horn Section – Craig Kline, Scott Frock & Joe Cabral 
  9. Tom Stern, Engineer
  10. Lenny Zenith, 1980 – Photo: Susan Indest

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