INTERVIEW: Bad Guys | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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With their ridiculous (and ridiculously good) second album Bad Guynaecology just out on Riot Season Records and a gig at Newcastle Northumberland Arms next week (Wednesday 1st April, appropriately enough), it seemed like a good time to ask Bad Guys guitarist PJ what they hell they think they’re up to. All four members of Bad Guys have served time in a myriad of bands (perhaps most notably drummer Tamas’ stint in The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers) until it all came together in London for Bad Guys. Their self-titled debut was a lot of fun but Bad Guynaecology feels like a real step forward so I kicked things off by asking PJ why he thought that was.

“Production is one thing, Gomez Arellano was definitely the right choice for this album, but also just playing together for 3 or 4 years, getting better, tighter, honing the sound, writing better songs and having Tamas join us on drums after the first album injected new life, new blood, fresh meat. Traditionally bands get together, do their best album first and progressively get worse but I feel like we’re just getting going.”

While Bad Guys are by no means a comedy band, there’s no question that humour and an appreciation of the basic ridiculousness of what they do shine through in their titles, lyrics and videos. At times they remind me of Ten Benson and Killdozer, who mined a similar seam. I wondered if either band had been an influence.

“I remember Ten Benson coming to Stoke in the 90’s. I remember liking it at the time but I’d completely forgot about them until recently, when some people started drawing comparisons. I can see the connection for both bands, especially Stu’s vocals and Killdozer, but I can’t say as either are a direct influence on any of the band. I will say US bands do seem to get away with humour a lot more than British ones for some reason. Being in a band is ridiculous anyway, it starts out as four kids who can’t play their instruments in a dingy room having a good time and turns into four slightly more competent adults playing on stages having a good time refusing to grow up. For me bands are there for entertainment and community, to help you forget about whatever it is you want to forget about and give you a release, whether you’re in the band or the audience.  Bands that think what they are doing is totally original or will change the world are just fooling themselves or taking it a bit too seriously. It’s meant to be fun, goddamn it!”

Bad Guys also have a fairly strong reputation as a magnificently stupid live act (tales of trashed ATP chalets, naked gigs in art galleries and the like precede them). Surely, like Iggy being compelled to get his cock out at every gig, this can become something of a pressure? “Yeah, it is a bit of a problem if you aren’t feeling like going mental at every gig, there are plenty of shows where we’ve driven for miles with little sleep, a hangover and the gig’s looking like it might be a bit shit, but you just have to try and make it as exciting as possible for yourself and anyone who’s watching. To be honest we are a little less wild these days and rely more on making the music better, because that will have more longevity than a trashed chalet (and it’s cheaper!)”

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“For me bands are there for entertainment and community, to help you forget about whatever it is you want to forget about and give you a release”

There seems to be a really healthy scene at the moment of bands who are noisy as fuck without being quite metal , hardcore or psych but a blend of all three: bands such as Hey Colossus, Grey Hairs, the reformed Part Chimp, Henry Blacker and Evil Blizzard (basically, bands you’d see at Supersonic or Supernormal, or that the mighty Leave Me Here would put on in Newcastle.). Do you see yourself as part of that and see any of those bands as fellow travellers? And if so, why do you think there’s so much good stuff around in that vein at the moment? “It’s a great scene at the moment and has been growing for a few years now, Riot Season, Noisestar, Gringo records and Dropout Studios in Camberwell are probably responsible for a lot of that too. We’ve known and played gigs with all these bands for years, it’s been very inspirational to see them develop and finally get some recognition they deserve. Evil Blizzard are quite new to us but we’ve played with those reprobates a couple of times and we’re on the same wavelength.  Bad Guys do lean more towards Metal than any of those guys but there’s undeniably a heavy connection, and there’s certainly been a lot of inter-band incest over the years. Someone needs to do a UK noise rock family tree. It’ll take a while just to map out Chris Summerlin (Reynolds, Lords, Grey Hairs, Wolves of Grease, Kogumaza) and Mike Vest’s achievements (Bong, Drunk in Hell, Lobster Priest, Blown Out, 11 Paranoias). Any takers?”

Power tools feature heavily in your videos. Discuss. “Power tools are classic rock video symbols of purpose. A man (or woman) who appreciates quality precision instruments can feel driven forward through the narrative safe in the knowledge the job will get done properly.” And what’s next for Bad Guys? “We have the rest of the UK tour to promote Bad Guynaecology this month, then Europe at the end of May, and hopefully Ukraine at the end of the year. Then we gotta write the difficult third album and make another overly ambitious video with zero budget and a lot of help from our friends. It will involve less power tools and more motorbikes this time I think.  I guess you could call a motorbike a power tool though right?”

Bad Guys play the Northumberland Arms on Wednesday 1st April with support from Roy Cropper, Rat Faced Bastard, The Newcastle Upon Tyne Speed Donk Experience and Molestral Palsy.

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