Bush Tetras Drummer Dee Pop Dies at 65

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Bush Tetras Drummer Dee Pop Dies at 65

The native New Yorker also played with The Clash, Can’s Michael Karoli, and The Gun Club

Dee Pop

Dee Pop (Photo by Bob Gruen)

Bush Tetras drummer Dee Pop died in his sleep last night (October 9). His representative Trip Warner confirmed the news to Pitchfork. He was 65.

Dee Pop was born Dimitri Papadopoulos in 1956. He grew up idolizing Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, and Keith Moon, but it was Tommy Ramone that would inspire him to start playing despite a lack of formal training. 

In 1979 he would join Bush Tetras, who became an integral part of the New York no wave scene and remained a fixture in downtown culture alongside Sonic Youth, the Contortions, Television, Lydia Lunch, and others. In a 2007 interview with Modern Drummer, he said of the band: “Everything we do is organic, meaning that we have no pre-mediated plan for our sound. While it’s not improv, our music isn’t carefully calculated. Rather, it flows from us naturally, encompassing what we know and naturally feel. With The Bush Tetras I have the freedom to try anything. There are no rules.”

Original Bush Tetras bassist Laura Kennedy died in 2011. In a statement, Pop’s surviving bandmates Cynthia Sley and Pat Place said: 

“It is with great sadness we report Dee Pop, drummer for Bush Tetras since 1979, passed away in his sleep last night. Dee Pop was a quintessential New Yorker, growing up in Forest Hills Queens and living in New York ever since. He was not only Bush Tetras drummer, but also our archivist, owning an original copy of every Bush Tetras release and t-shirt and also maintaining the band’s masters. In addition to Bush Tetras, Dee Pop played with Richard Lloyd, Michael Karoli (Can), The Gun Club, Jayne County, and The Shams, William Parker, Eddie Gale, Roy Campbell, Freedomland, Hanuman Sextet, Radio I-Ching and 1000 Yard Stare. Dee Pop is survived by his son Charlie and daughter Nicole. He will be sorely missed by his bandmates and the many people he touched throughout his life. Rest in peace, Dee.”

Pop would later collaborate with jazz musicians like William Parker, Eddie Gale, Roy Campbell, Freedomland, and Hanuman Sextet. His latest projects were with his group Radio I-Ching, which he described as playing improv, Americana, jazz, blues, and other music, “sometimes all at once.”

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