Bush Tetras drummer Dee Pop has died aged 65

Dee Pop, best known as the drummer of New York post-punk band Bush Tetras, has died aged 65.

His death was confirmed by bandmates Cynthia Sley and Pat Place, who shared a statement (via Pitchfork) revealing that Pop died in his sleep on Saturday night (October 9).

“Dee Pop was a quintessential New Yorker, growing up in Forest Hills Queens and living in New York ever since,” they said of Pop. “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.”

Sley and Place concluded: “He will be sorely missed by his bandmates and the many people he touched throughout his life. Rest in peace, Dee.”

We are so very sad to say that Dee Pop passed away in his sleep last night. Pat and I devastated at this news. We think…

Posted by Bush Tetras on Saturday, October 9, 2021

Born Dimitri Papadopoulos in 1956, Pop was heavily influenced by a number of famous drummers, but it was Tommy Ramone of The Ramones who inspired him to become a stickman despite a lack of formal training.

Pop joined Bush Tetras in 1979, playing on EP’s ‘Too Many Creeps’ (1980) and ‘Rituals’ (1981), and a trio of studio albums: ‘Beauty Lies’ (1997), ‘Very Very Happy’ (2007), and ‘Happy’ (2012).

The band – comprising core members Cynthia Sley (vocals), Pat Place (guitar), Laura Kennedy (bass) and Dee Pop (drums) – became an integral part of the New York post-punk scene and were repeated in downtown culture alongside the likes of Sonic Youth, the Contortions, Television, Lydia Lunch, and others. Original Bush Tetras bassist Laura Kennedy died in 2011.

Speaking in a 2007 interview with Modern Drummer, Pop said of Bush Tetras: “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.”

Dee Pop is survived by his son Charlie and daughter Nicole.