Saturday 28 February 2015

Interview with BAD GUYS

Bad Guys's music has been described as a mixup of Harvey Milk, Torche, Thin Lizzy, Orange Goblin, MC5, The Melivins, Black Sabbath and Motorhead. Sure it's noisy, chaotic but Bad Guys have a great identity of their own mixing dirty lo-fi scuzzy, sludgy, stoner punk driven riffs with sometimes hilarious over the top lyrics that you can't quite believe what they're singing about.

They released their debut album back in 2013 to some critical acclaim. 2 years later, Bad Guys are back with better than ever with their brilliant 2nd album – Bad Guynaecology

I described the album as:

Bad Guys return with their 2nd album 'Bad Guynaecology'. Yeah, awesome pun with a great album cover to match. Bad Guys released a superb debut album back in 2013. Its style of Punk, Sludge, Doom, Stoner and Hard Rock won them a range of admirers within the scene. The other element that make Bad Guys such a great band is their hilarious and in your face lyrics that verged on genius insanity.

In summary 'Bad Guynaecology' is a great album for Bad Guys to return with. It's a different album to its predecessor and it proves that Bad Guys have matured as a band though there's still a ton of laughs to have along the way. It's a must have record. Plain and Simple.”

Bad Guys have written one of the funniest songs of the year with CRIME. Now it's time to find out more about these TONKA TRUCK STEALING mother-truckers.

Q1 – Hi guys. How are things with you all today.

PJ- Prettay prettay good, albums getting good reviews, the Uk tours booked, the videos done, the Euro tour is coming along, Dave’s working on getting us to the Ukraine and Poland in October and most of our colds and infections are clearing up.

Stu – My piles are flaring up but otherwise I’m fine.

Dave – I’m still infectious.

Tamas - I`m very excited! 

Q2 – Can you give a brief history to our readers of how the band came about and where it is today.

PJ - The band started as burning desire to do something loud, stupid and rocking. We'd had enough of dynamics and clever time signatures, we wanted to have fun and we didn't really plan much ahead of that. Early gigs with our old drummer Mark Davidson were an absolute mess of drunken feedback, we'd turn up and play anywhere, usually uninvited, which had the effect of annoying promoters and security but being very entertaining for ourselves and the unsuspecting crowd we'd forced ourselves upon.

The first gigs were in ATP chalets at camber sands and Minehead, it gave us a taste for guerrilla gigs which required military style planning and execution with uncertain results. If we managed to play 1 track or 6 it didn't matter it was a victory, we talked about playing in the middle of the junction at Oxford circus once, We honestly didn't care if we got arrested doing it.

It wasn't until we had to write a 30minute set of material for a proper gig in a venue that we realised we might, actually have something here more than pure indulgent mayhem. The first single and album encapsulated the early Bad Guys spirit and humour. It’s unrefined and ridiculous in places but we put a lot of work into making it and I'm still proud of it.

After the sad loss of Mark our old drummer who left to become a professional hermit on the Isle of Skye, we thought it was probably the end of Bad Guys, as good drummers are as rare as fucking hens teeth, it was quite a low point having to put a DRUMMER WANTED ad on Gumtree as a last resort. Fortunately our saviour came in the form of Tamas Kiss, a brilliant Hungarian drummer we'd known for years who played in about 3 other bands including one of my brothers’. We managed to coax him over with cakes and tobacco to join Bad Guys because one of his other bands split up, I think I just told him he was the man for the job and he agreed.

After the first rehearsal, me and Dave realised we'd have to up our game to keep up with him and a new level of professionalism and life was breathed into the band. Stuart even drank less red wine. That fresh energy meant there was no difficult second album, it practically wrote itself and you can hear these offerings in the form of BAD GUYNAECOLOGY.

August 2011, Bad Guys guerilla beach gig w/ Gum Takes Tooth and Dethscalator. Festvial Pier, Thames South bank. Lo tide, full moon, Mark on drums.

Q3 – How would you describe your own sound. As I feel it's best coming from the band themselves.

PJ - We always just say its 'heavy rock', the influences are pretty clear if you know your rock and metal history.

Q4 – We have to talk about your new album – Bad Guynaecology - So are you excited, nervous or thrilled what people are going to make of it.

Tamas - I`m very excited! 

PJ - I'm as excited as a schoolboy who just found a copy of Razzle in the bushes. I was a bit annoyed it took so long to get out, but that’s probably our fault.

Dave - I don't really mind to be honest, I just hope that people will buy the album so we can get out of debt.

Stu – I just want it all out so I can get on with my life. I’m sure some people make feature films with less faffing about than it took to make the video for Prostitutes. Not to mention how long it takes to layout lyrics on a CD booklet. Fiddling with font sizes and kerning and shit. I’m like the fake Geena Davis at the beginning of The Fly 2, giving birth to a giant maggot screaming GET IT OUT OF ME.

Q5 – Why the hell did you choose the name Bad Guynaecology. Awesome title which shows off your insane sense of humour.

Stu – The keen eyed will notice it’s a lovely portmanteau of ‘Bad Guys’ and ‘gynaecology’. And is a tribute to the (shit) Prince album ‘Musicology’. It’s got so many layers.

Q6 – Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for. Are you happy with the final result.

PJ - As I said this album was a pleasure to produce. Some of the songs we'd been gigging for a while and we demoed it first so it was really easy to bash ‘em out in the studio.
Newer songs like 'Reaper' and 'Fabled Succubus' I wished we'd had a bit more time to refine but sometimes its good to have a time limit and really please with the end result. I will happily give the record to Stuart's parents for Christmas.

Tamas: - Some songs were very easy to write - a couple of rehearsals and the songs were done, but some songs took ages to finalize.  We always revisited the already written songs to see if they are still rockin’, sometimes we had to ditch completed songs or some ideas - unfortunately.

Dave - I think recording the album was the easy part as we had almost everything completely written before we went into the studio.  I am personally really happy with the final result. I think Gomez did an amazing job producing

Stu – Yeah recording was easy coz Gomez is a master blacksmith with beautiful, safe hands. He has his shit on lock.

Q7 – What influenced you when writing and recording the album.

Tamas - Almost everything, lots of laughter definitely...

PJ - Everything from ZZ Top to John Carpenter soundtracks. The giant Well spring of Rock is there to be dipped into and all is considered without bias, prejudice or until it’s found guilty of being a shit idea.

Q8 – Has it surprised you the way critics are enjoying the album. It's starting to win some major praise within the Sludge/Stoner Metal Scene.

PJ - I always thought it was a better album than the first one and we'd managed to step up a gear but yeah I am a little surprised at the response and the biggest surprise is, its not just the heavy rock scene that’s giving it good reviews, the album seems to be creeping over into the mainstream a little, like a pervert in the night. I'm not sure how I feel about this, Bad Guys was never created to go on Jools Holland, but it would be fucking hilarious if we did.

Stu – I wouldn’t go on that weird pixie’s show, but I wouldn’t be against you all using a hologram of me, like Tupac. Or even better, use the Tupac hologram and make him sing my lyrics. That’d be good. And then Jools joining in for a honky tonk section of World Murderer. Can we make this happen?

Q9 – As you may of know I think the song CRIME is possibly the funniest song I've heard all year. So is this song based on an actual event. Did you steal a TONKA Truck when you were younger. You don't have to answer that part. It's a song that shows people your great sense of humour.

Stu – It’s not a true story. PJ said we should write a song called ‘Crime’, I assume thinking we were gonna make something all tough sounding, so I wrote those lyrics just to be difficult, or different. I’ve actually no idea where the Tonka thing came from specifically. It’s a good word though isn’t it? ‘Tonka’. Sometimes it’s good to think about what sounds nice when making music.

Q10 – Humour is obviously a big part of the Bad Guys sound. Especially with the lyrics. Was it an easy decision to include humour in your music. Did you worry that overseas audiences wouldn't understand it as it has a very typical British feel.

PJ - I don't write the lyrics of course but I'm going to throw in my stinkin 2 cents here anyway:
On the contrary, I think what overseas listeners want to hear is our silly British humour and use of provincial language. British humour for me is one of our best exports. I love the idea of a kid in the Philippines going online to try and figure out what Stuart’s just said. Will he be surprised or disappointed?

Stu – I thought most metal bands had a sense of humour? If I’m wrong then there are a lot of serious dudes looking pretty silly singing about weed and magic. If I was gonna write ‘serious’ lyrics, I don’t think a band with two double neck guitars is really the right platform for it. Also, across all genres, there are only a handful of artists who can write good, serious, heartfelt lyrics that are like poetry anyway. It’s Sturgeon’s law isn’t it? Like with anything, 99% of lyrics are shit. All the pseudo-philosophy, and sombre, heartfelt lyrics that fall flat, and tough guy lyrics sung with a straight face by people who’ve fallen for their own act are, to me, way fucking funnier than anything on our album.

Q11 - How important is a physical product to your band being either CD or Vinyl. As some bands are relying on Digital Downloads for their first release(s).

PJ - When you are touring and playing live it’s incredibly important, you still can't beat having the thing, the object to take away with you, no one wants to buy a digital download code from you at a merch table. Maybe its from a bands perspective as well, but the first thing you wanna do when you get into music is to release a PROPER record, that’s never gonna change is it? ­Maybe you should ask some younger people though.

Dave – Whenever I bought an album when I was young I would listen to it from start to finish and read the lyrics throughout, it wasn’t just songs it was an album. I think just releasing singles here and there takes away from the challenge of writing an LP. I am getting old though so don’t listen to me.

Stu - We clutch at relics but they only serve to weigh us down and slow our ascent to the infinite and liberating virtual heavens in our future. People are idiots. Here, buy our record for your shelf.

Q12 – Which bands and artists influenced you all as musicians. Any particular album that stands out that made you decide to become a musician.

Stu – I like noise and dance music. And weirdo avant-garde stuff. When I was a kid I used to really enjoy singing along to all the songs on Faith though. Still do. I just started singing in a band cos PJ said to get drunk and rant while he played guitar, and I’m not one to turn down a drinks invitation.

PJ - I'm from Stoke so we took what we could get. There's plenty of embarrassing influences in there but my earliest real influences were probably Metallica, Megadeth and Earache label bands because you got a free CD compilation on the magazine. So Obituary, Carcass, Entombed, etc… and Cathedral used to come and play in town so we'd always go and watch them, all 10 of us, (they must have loved playing Stoke). 'The Ethereal Mirror' is probably engrained in my psyche. I still love all of these bands today. (Not so much MegaDave though)

Dave – I’m from a small town in Canada, we got even less than Stoke so probably even more embarrassing influences in there for me. I think when Nirvana and Soundgarden made it through to the village that was a big moment for me.

Tamas: From Deep Purple through Edda Muvek to Carnivore and beyond... One artist made me influenced and it’s the drummer on my cousin’s wedding back in 1988 (hope I remember right) and I thought I can play on drums better than him.

Q13 – What is your musical setup when playing live or recording new material. Do you have an advanced setup or basic setup.

PJ - Our set up for both is the about the same, its not that crazy but has a few anomalies.
Drums, 2 guitars, 1 dry vocal. We don't have a bass player though so live I split out to a bass amp to thicken up the bottom end but in the studio we always record a proper bass part. Me and Dave both use these ridiculous double neck guitars which are a Baritone and a straight six so we constantly switch between about 3 tunings. We will have back problems when we're older.

Stu – I have back problems now, from doing removals when I was 16.

PJ - Tamas uses a double kick pedal and has that weird almost left handed set up, with the hi hat on the right and 2 massive floor toms either side. It confuses the hell out of me how he does it but it looks so fluid and natural when he's playing, like liquid gold. Sometimes at rehearsal the 3 of us sit for hours in silence, just drinking beers, watching him play.

Q14 – What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to one individual or a group collective.

PJ - I'll usually have a riff or two but no idea what to do with the things, then we'll all take turns at pummelling it into a song, usually the original riff is unrecognisable but it doesn't matter, the process is what matters.

Stu – I write the words but don’t have much say over the rest of it. If I really don’t like something I might just continue to delay writing lyrics for it in the hope they all forget about it or give up. Sometimes what works is singing a riff you don’t like in a sarcastic tone, ruining it for everyone.

PJ – Stuart is usually our litmus test for a good riff or idea, but as we have the instruments and are a lot louder than him he may not always be heard.

Bad Guynaecology cover art

Q15 – What were the reasons behind the album cover. Very understated but I wouldn't expect nothing less from you guys.

PJ - I think Me and Stu liked the fact that you get sucked in by that beautiful bear man's eyes. You don't know whether he wants to kiss you or punch you. Either way you know he could have you if he wanted.

Stu – Yeah I love him he’s mesmerising.

Q16 – You will shortly be going on a small UK Tour in April. Can you tell people what to expect from a typical Bad Guys show.

PJ - It really all depends who shows up! We'll do our part, its up to the audience whether it’s going to be a good night or a great night. (Yes those are the only two options).

Stu – I don’t care who turns up, I will sing to anyone. I love singing.

Q17 – Do you perform gigs on a regular basis in your hometown or do you travel further afield.

PJ - Yeah we play in London all the time, mainly in the east cause that’s where all the venues are (and where we live). We do travel quite a bit but its always a mixed bag of nuts touring the UK, the shittest gigs are always the ones where you had to travel the furthest it seems. Apart from in Europe, its generally more fun in Europe, and they feed you.

Q18 – Riot Season Records are once again releasing your new album. Was it an easy decision to stay with Riot Season. Did you have any more offers to release your new album.

PJ - (shhh don't tell Andy Riot Season but we did look elsewhere) - Not because we were unhappy with him, but because we weren't sure if we were too much of a metal band for his label, he admits it was a bit of a wild card for him putting out our first album and I think it got mixed reviews from Riot season fans.

Dave - Once the album was ready though and we'd had a look around it quickly became clear that we would be silly to move away from Riot Season. It's such a well respected label and it's great to be on a label that's put out Shit n Shine, Mainliner, Hey Colossus, Acid Mothers Temple and Henry Blacker. RS has released some of the best music of any UK label over the last however many years in my opinion.

Q19 – Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans.

PJ - We have fans? - Ok if you exist and like what we do, buy the album. If you don't like what we do, please still buy the album, We had to sell Dave’s liver to fund Bad Guynaecology and the man said we could buy it back if we're quick enough. I don't know how long that is but Dave’s looking pretty weak and yellow.
Don't let Dave die you selfish pricks, forget about drummers have you got any idea how hard it is to find a new double neck guitar player?!?

Stu – I would like to say, to all my fans, thank you for your support, I love you and I’m nothing without you, etc.

Words by Steve Howe and Bad Guys

Thanks to Nita at Gold Star PR for arranging this interview. And to Bad Guys for taking the time out to talk to us at Sludgelord HQ. Bad Guynaecology will be out to buy on Riot Season Records from 16th March 2015 on CD/DD/Vinyl.

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