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A Norfolk five-piece who are turning heads and going places in the industry, Bad Touch blend together elements of classic, 80’s rock with blues licks to create a powerhouse of melodic rock. Listing Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes and Rival Sons amongst their influences, they are a band who love to turn up the volume, but also infuse their songs with subtlety and melody.
It bodes well for new album ‘Halfway Home’, due out at the end of April, and we got a taste of their style when we played their lead single ‘Wise Water’ on the show last week
The album has been a long time coming for Bad Touch as it’s been 5 years since their inception. Having started with cover songs, their set has evolved into their own material. Which they have taken the time to hone and mould into their own style. Patiently working on their own material before launching into a debut album, the result is truly impressive.
Bad Touch are currently supporting The Answer on their UK tour and prior to them taking the stage at Chinnery’s, Southend-On-Sea, last week, I sat down with all five members of the band and began by asking about the length of time it’s taken them to release their debut album.
MJ: ‘Half Way Home’ is your debut album. It’s been a long time coming. We played the lead single ‘Wise Water’ on the show last week and I can tell you that it went down really well with the listeners.
Stevie: I’m glad that you say your listeners like Wise Water. Yes, it has been a long time coming. Well, it was just that we all wanted to make sure that, when we got this album out, we wanted to do it right. So, you know, we wanted to make sure that people wanted it. We’d done a few UK tours, and we got our name out there. So, we thought, let’s do the album because people want it.
MJ: There’s a lot of people that have seen you fellas play. They like your music and we get requests to play Bad Touch. Seeks, how’s that sound to you with the reaction that you’re getting from the album?
Seeks: It’s lovely. It’s great that people are asking for us to play our own music. It’s fantastic. I mean I don’t know how anyone else would feel about it, but just for people wanting our music being played is the whole point we do it, you know?
MJ: Let me turn to Bailey. What is it you’re enjoying most about this album?
Bailey: I’m loving it. We spent ages writing it, recording it. And it’s now actually out there for people to listen to. That’s nice to actually hear them say that they’re enjoying it as well.
George: We sort of write each song in a different way. Like on some of them one person might have written 90% of it, but other songs you might just get a guitar riff and then we all sort of collaborated together. But, in general, it’s hugely more or less one person has the germ idea, and then we all take it away, and then we all write our own parts to it. And lyrics can be done in one night or one year, you know?
Stevie: That’s one of the things I love about being in Bad Touch the best is getting everyone else’s ideas and going, “Wow. That sounds awesome. I’d have never have thought of that.”
MJ: Rob, you’re obviously testing out the new songs on this tour?
Rob: On the set at the moment is all the new stuff from the album. There’s no sort of old tracks from the old EP. But, we’ve got a couple more experimental tracks on the album where we sort of do our thing where it goes on for a little while. They’re blues-y, slower. So, we try to keep it more upbeat with the set that we’re doing. But, obviously, we’ve got half an hour set, so we sort of want to get on there, do our thing, and then come off. So, it’s going well at the moment. The Answer guys, they sort of pick the particular tracks they like, and they’ve been really cool about it. So, it’s all going well.
MJ: And the feedback, Stevie, on this tour with The Answer has been really positive.
Stevie: Yeah. It’s lovely to have all these people saying how much they’re enjoying it, both the album and the live performances and stuff like that. I mean, but we take criticism where criticism is due just like we take credit. We’re quite aware that we’re not breaking any sort of boundaries with regards to musical experimentation. We’re quite happy doing what we do and it being feel good, rock music, you know? I think too many times people are caught up in it and the brains behind it and think, “Oh, we’ve got to be new. We’ve got to…” It’s like, if it sounds good and you enjoy playing it, then that’s all that matters. And, if people enjoy it, then even better, you know?
Stevie: Oh, that’s very kind of you. No, we definitely wanted to make sure that you say that. The thing with this album, which I’m most happy is that it sounds like us. If you came to see us and bought the album, you wouldn’t get the album home and go, “This doesn’t sound like them.” It captures us or what it is to be Bad Touch, you know?
George: In the album, we’ve tried things on the album that is different, but that’s the whole point of an album. But, it’s not like we’ve gone synthesizers, and electric drum kits, and things. It’s basically a five-piece rock band doing what they do, you know? And we did everything on the album.
MJ: Well, we’re going to leave it here because you’re off to sound check. Thanks so much for chatting with us on The Classic Rock Show. Last few words from you guys for the fans out there?
Seeks: A big thank you everyone and to your listeners for the support.
Rob: Yeah. Thanks a lot everyone. You’ve been great.
George: Yeah. Keep coming to the gigs and keep rocking!
Bailey: If you haven’t heard the album yet, we hope you enjoy it.
Stevie: Just want to say thanks for listening and, even more so, thanks for wanting us. And thanks too to The Classic Rock Show for putting us up.
This week has come around so quickly. More great music is in store, however, including your requests as well as a sprinkling of album tracks from LPs released this week back in the day from the likes of Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Extreme, Pantera, Europe, Poison, Kiss, Aerosmith and Coverdale Page.
We’ve also got the new single from Motor Sister who are fast becoming my fave band of Q1 2015, along with a homage to three musicians who passed away this past week…Mike Porcaro (Toto), Bruce Crump (Molly Hatchet) and Andy Fraser (Free).
Join the listening rock party from 7pm GMT www.theclassicrockshow.co.uk
Cult favourites WhiskeyDick return to the UK this March to blow minds with a double barrel blast of dreadnaught shredding and hillbilly bellowing that makes you want to knock back a shot, stand up tall, and holler “Oh-Hell-YeeHaw!”
The Fort Worth duo carry on the Texas traditions of super-powered guitar slinging and clever songwriting that make lone star music a worldwide curiosity, except Reverend Johnson will remind you more of Dimebag Darrell than Billy Gibbons and Fritz remains more lyrically akin to David Allen Coe than Robert Earl Keen.
WhiskeyDick’s live show is a true spectacle: two giant, tattooed, mean-looking dudes saunter on stage and sit down on 2 chairs, then pick up acoustic guitars and proceed to amaze everyone by generating more power than a full band by means of Fritz’s deep, rich vocals, Johnson’s unapproachable acoustic guitar heroics, and their triumphant songwriting.
It’s their approach to music and the message they carry that’s resonating with the legion of Dimebag Darrell’s fans and viewers of hit tv show ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ which has resulted in the duo’s song ‘Drunk As Hell’ fast approaching 1 MILLION views on Youtube.
WhiskeyDick release their best of album ‘Welcome To YeeHaw County’ 24th April 2015 via record label Rusty Knuckles. We spoke to Fritz ahead of their forthcoming UK Tour.
MJ: Welcome to the Classic Rock Show, Fritz. How on earth does a name like WhiskeyDick come about, firstly?
F: Thank you. Man, I appreciate it. Yeah the band name. Well, we kind of did some drinking a couple of nights in a row and we were playing some shows and didn’t really have a band name, this was about ten years ago, a little more than ten years ago, actually, and after one night of the heavy drunken debauchery, we had a couple of names floating around in our heads and we knew we liked whiskey, and we were on our way to a show, actually, and I was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle and it just kind of hit me and I blurted it out real loud as we were going down the road. And actually Reverend Johnson (Whiskeydisck’s lead guitarist) wasn’t really happy, didn’t really like the name right off the bat, but kind of stuck after a couple of minutes and then kind of I called the venue right then and said we’re coming, we’re ready to play, and we’re Whiskey Dick and it just kind of stuck. And here we are ten years later with the same band name.
MJ: We’re talking via Skype and I can’t help noticing a poster behind you of the big man himself Hank Williams. I guess you are a big fan of Hank and of country music in general. I dare say there’s a Doc Watson photo or poster somewhere in the Fritz household.
F: Yeah, there is one out in the studio somewhere. This is a gift. I am a huge fan of the [Hank Williams] Senior and we come from metal roots but we always loved our Country [music] that we’ve grown up with and it’s kind of a way of life around here, where we’re from, so kind of born and bred into it.
F: I tell you, I’m very heavily influenced in the old country stuff, Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings, and I think a lot of it comes from growing up and listening to the music on old vinyl records. Wasn’t just the old country, but it was Allman Brothers and Bob Dylan and a whole slew of amazing artists growing up. And I think that my vocal range was more in that register, you know, with the way I have a very low twang, I guess, I think I mumble, [laughs] but the old sound and kind of really honed in on that. So I try to surround myself with all of the music that I’ve been influenced by my whole life. My writing style and all that stuff and taking shape and mould it into my own. But there’s always a little piece of Hank Senior in my head and Waylon Jennings floating around there too. Heavily influenced by those guys and the way they lived, they lived their music. So that’s what me and Reverend do. We live every minute of it. So, the night I spoke it and it kind of goes hand in hand.
MJ: You share song writing duties?
F: Yeah. The way we write, you know, we take life experiences that we’ve lived through, you know, and take them and sometimes alter them a little bit so they don’t sound so drab or anything. But you know, things that we’ve lived through and come out alive still, are amazing, some of the stuff that we’ve gone through and try to take some of that and use it to our advantage and our music. And I think that’s another reason why when we play live it’s more of an emotional thing for us because we’re really tapping into some stuff that we’ve been through all together and being apart and being together we’ve gone through a lot of stuff. And to me, real good soul music, music from the soul, is good for the soul. And we try to incorporate that as much as we can in our music. Because I mean it’s all we do. We live it and then we write about it. You know? That’s the way they did it back in the old days.
MJ: “Drunk as Hell” written some few years ago now, has really came to prominence on the back of having been on the soundtrack to “Sons of Anarchy” episode. For a two-piece band to get a song on a mainstream TV show, tell us about how you felt the reaction yourselves?
F: You know, it’s still kind of shocking. Just for them to even contact us and want to use our music was mind-blowing to us! We’re just two dudes and you know for someone, for anybody, for that matter, to take something that we’ve written from in here in our souls and our hearts and actually like it enough to want to use it for a show was, we were floored by that, you know. We’ve always been a two-piece and so it’s just the two of us and kind of look at each other like, wow! [laughs] I don’t think some of it has even set in all the way yet, you know, all together, how far we’ve come and just doing it with hard work and lots of hard work and sticking with it. And fighting through whatever it is that comes our way and got to overcome all of that stuff. So I think as a two-piece we’ve been able to do that pretty successfully.
F: We try to mix it up and do a little bit off of every album. We’re doing a lot of songs, like I think four songs and five songs in our set from our Drunk as Hell album which is our third release that we released in 2010 and “Drunk as Hell” is actually the title track of the album. So, that one we always try to incorporate in our set just because it’s fun to play and the people seem to really like it and relate to it. We have a couple new songs off of the Devil’s Boots album that we’ve really been playing live a lot, “Yee-Haw” is one of them and it’s another acoustic metal kind of feel to it, over here in the States we call it like a Southern Metal groove kind of song. There are some songs from our Wicked Roots album which is our fourth release that we released in 2012 and that was more of an acoustic-driven song. There’s no distortion or anything on that whole album. “Murder Love Song” is one, “Mountain Town,” from the First Class White Trash album. And we do “Train Riding and Gun Totin’” [laughs] and that one is always good because it gets everyone moving and wanting to drink some beers with us. So we try to mix it up a little bit. This tour we have got a compilation album that we’re putting out called ‘Welcome To YeeHaw County’, only released over in the UK and it’s 13 songs and I believe we’ve got at least 3 songs from each album. So we’ve been playing a lot of those songs, too. We’ve got some old songs that we’re going to pull out that we haven’t played even in the States in a while and as we realised the other day, as of right now we’ve got 74 original songs so we’re trying to weed through them all and pick out the ones that we really want to focus on and play them to the best of our abilities.
MJ: You were over here in August/September last year . What are you looking forward to most when you come back to the UK?
F: We’re really looking forward to getting back over there and playing some music and meeting the people and having a good time. It’s what it’s really all about, you know? We’ve had a boost of fans from our last tour online and stuff and a bunch of them are planning to come out to a lot of the shows and we’re just really looking forward to meeting the people and playing and putting on a good show for them and really kind of putting our foot down and saying here we are, we hope you like us, and let’s have a beer. That’s the goal of ours, to frequent over there and tour over there as much as we can. It’s a new area and we’ve been touring the States here for almost the last five years pretty much non-stop. And it’s a whole other world over there. The first time we went over we absolutely fell in love with everything about it. So we’re really looking forward to getting back over there and putting on some good shows and having a good time with everybody and raise a little hell.
MJ: Great to finally hook up with you Fritz. Good luck with the UK Tour and the compilation album
F: Yeah, I believe we’re playing, we haven’t really set everything in stone yet but we’re already trying to come back in the fall.
F: Just want to thank you for having me on and really, really appreciate it and we’re looking forward to getting over there and playing some good ole southern acoustic metal/country hillbilly yee-haw music. We are going to have a lot of new merchandise with us on this tour. Some hats, some shirts coming with us and some of the new compilation album which we’re really happy about. Just looking forward to getting over there and doing out thing, man. And like I said I really appreciate you having me on, MJ.
MJ: What does Children Of The Drones mean?
V: Well, my wife and I actually turned vegan a year ago, after watching some different videos and the cruelty to animal factory farming. And then you know just what’s going on in society and how important bees are to the ecosystem and things of that particular nature so I wanted to write a song about it. And Children of the Drones talks about it: “Concrete for the trees as they poison the bees”. And you know there’s a message and we put it on the album cover and besides those messages, the biggest message is, on the album cover the drones have a barcode on the back of their heads and there’s talk of us all having chips in our bodies at some point. I look at it like stepping out of that line. If you’re looking at the album cover you’re in line with the drones heading to the pyramid. So the message is step out of the line, be independent, think for yourself and don’t be controlled. And you know, that’s the song that I take a shot at corporations and government on every record. On this record it’s “Children of the Drones.” I think the world is the most dangerous world it’s been since World War II. And if there’s ever been a time for the younger generations of people around the world to step up I think now is the time to be doing it. And you know I could cheapen up the lyrics, we could go real poppy and crack into corporate suit control pop radio and pop rock, you know, but I haven’t sold out and it’s taken us a long path going into our 6th year now to really start getting somewhere but I’m proud of it because we’ve stuck to our guns, we haven’t sold out, we continue to write songs that we feel teach lesson and deliver messages that need to be delivered and I’m just not going to stop doing it.
MJ: Accompanying your lead single “Hang the Predator” is a video directed by Christopher Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew. How did that collaboration come about?
V: I might add that his brother is the famous actor Nicholas Cage. It’s really kind of a funny thing. US actor comedian, Andy Dick, is a very good friend of mine and he wanted me on the Andy Dick Live show. He flew out to Ohio to see us open for Alice Cooper back in 2012 at the France Pavilion in Dayton. He wanted me on the show to promote Venrez and the producers had wanted to book Chris Coppola, the comedian but by accident they booked Christopher Coppola, the director. And so he was on the show with me and we just instantly hit it off like we were past life samurai warriors or something together. And we became best friends. So when it came to wanting to start getting some good videos directed, I asked Christopher to direct them. And I think he just did a great job with this new video, “Hang the Predator.”
MJ: It’s got quite a dramatic beginning, with ants attacking a scorpion. Can you explain that metaphor?
V: “Hang the Predator” is my shot at corporate greed and government control. So the predator is who tries to control us and take our freedom back. And so that is my biggest shot at it. With what is going on in the world with North Korea and even our country with police brutality, I’ve seen plenty of craziness going on in the UK, you know the issues in Syria and Iraq and with ISIS…these monsters we’ve created we now have to deal with. Ee need to step up and do something to change the world for the positive. I really do think that we’re facing some serious dangers throughout the world based on human kind being out of control in an aggressive manner.
MJ: There’s an interesting story, is there not, behind the lyrics to “Hang the Predator” because by all accounts these were quite old lyrics that you had sent to your guitarist Jason Womack and he found them one day?
V: [Laughs] Yeah, they were. The way I work is I write lyrics and send them to Jason he puts music to them and sings the demo and then we work it out with the band. The other way is he sends me music and I write lyrics to the music. Now, what happens is I’m usually writing in my studio office at my house , I immediately email to him and save it to a file. But sometimes we’re on the road and when we’re on the road and I’m writing I use my iPhone and what I usually do is copy, paste, email it to him and save it. For some reason with “Hang the Predator” it was the one out of a few hundred songs that I forgot to do it with. And as we were about to record this record Jason had an old phone, cause I wrote the song probably two and a half years ago, and before he was going to dispose of the phone he booted it up just to make sure there was nothing on the phone that he wanted to make sure he saved. And there were the lyrics! He sent them to me and of course I had never saved them and it is pretty funny and ironic that it ended up being the single to the new album. A lot of times we’ll be jamming and sometimes we’ll record it and sometimes we don’t. Usually every time you’re not recording, you come up with something great and say I bet you can’t remember, and you say ah we gave that one to the gods. Well we tried to give this one to the gods but the gods gave it back! [Laughs]
MJ: Is it fair to say that Venrez have now found their sound with this album?
V: Yeah, I think so. I think so. We have four records now, but what happened when I formed the band in 2009 we had a very different lineup and it was another guy on guitar who was writing the lyrics and the sound and it became evident to me that we weren’t going to go anywhere unless I started writing my own songs. So, we had a change around and Jason stayed and we made an agreement to work together. Then I brought in the guys who had toured with us up until now, Alex Cane and Michael Bradford on bass, and Ed Davis on drums, who were not in the band at that time. And we went on a hodge podge of writing at the time called Witch’s Brew, which is a lot of different types of songs and sounds. And then we started trying to tailor it from Sell The Lie to American Illusion and so it’s been a four album process. I say this is our third record because the first one, Witch’s Brew, was just a different band and sounds and songs that are good but not really where Venrez was going. So I think with Children of the Drones, it’s evolved. In other words, Sell The Lie was the baby, American Illusion was the teenager, and Children of the Drones is the full-on adult and we’re now 28 years old and for the next 10 or 15 years we’re going to give you a whole lot more of that kind of stuff.
MJ: You’re going to be opening a UK tour on the second of March down at the Windmill in London. It’s not your first foray into the UK, but this is your first headline tour.
V: This is our first headline tour anywhere in the world! And you know, there’s a few really nice club venues we’re heading to. Some of them are pubs and bars, you’ve got to start somewhere. We’ve been playing arenas and huge venues with bands like Slash, Alice Cooper, the last tour of Europe with Buckcherry, we were at Koko’s in London. The thing about going back to a smaller club tour it is so intimate, we do have a lot of fans in the UK, we’ve been there four or five times on tour, and I’m really looking forward to showcasing the band in a smaller, intimate venue-type situation and I look forward to it being very successful. We’re very excited about it. We leave in two days. It’s Wednesday here today and we’ll leave Friday and land in London Saturday, the 28th February and that we’ll start on the 2nd March in London and end up at Bathgate, Scotland on the 12th.
MJ: What are we going to be hearing?
V: You’re going to get the full-on Venrez show! And you’re going to get a good smattering of five songs off the new record and then some of our fan favorites, from Sell The Lie and American Illusion. Some songs we haven’t play in 2-3 years live, and I think Jason put together a brilliant set. It just rocks from the first to the last song and it’s going to give fans a nice mixture of the current album and the last two records.
MJ: Ven, thanks for chatting with The Classic Rock Show.
V: You’re welcome. I’m really looking forward to coming back to the UK. I just want to thank all of our fans for supporting rock and roll. I think a lot of artists forget they wouldn’t have a career and wouldn’t be able to enjoy what they do without the fans. The first thing I always want to do is thank the fans for supporting rock music. Without you, there is no rock and roll!
Thunder are to release their latest album ‘Wonder Days’ through earMUSIC on February 16th (UK/EU). Fans have had quite a wait for anything new to come out of the Thunder camp, but the wait was worth it. Judging by the reaction our listeners gave when they heard the single ‘Wonder Days’, it’s clear to anyone with a pulse that they are back with a belter of an album.
Recorded at the infamous Rockfield Studios, from start to finish, the songs on the album seem to have this ability to form an instant bond with the listener, grabbing your attention right from the opening riff, through to the dying notes. It’s this rare gift that has served them well, ever since the day they recorded as a band and in Luke Morley, us Brits have a songwriter we can be rightly proud of.
I sat down with Danny Bowes and Luke Morley at a studio in London to ask how ‘Wonder Days’ was put together. Always willing to fully answer any questions thrown at them, we began by asking after Ben Matthews’ health. Listening to their answers, you immediately sense that their ambition is as strong as ever it was and that they are proud, rightly so, of the way they have adapted to the new approach to recording an album and what they’ve achieved in the studio with ‘Wonder Days’.
There are very few rock bands out there, less than a handful in my experience, that can ignite such a positive reaction from listeners when played on ‘The Classic Rock Show’ as Thunder can…and I’d put them at the top of that list. ‘Wonder Days’ will only ensure they stay there for a long time to come.
This week’s show takes you on another trip down memory lane, back to the year 1983, with Part 4 of a series of shows celebrating Rock Music through the 80s, year-by-year. “Oh yeah….looking through those rose-tinted spectacles again, are we?”, but those of us fortunate enough to have lived through the early 80s can be forgiven for thinking it was an era where rock music, not for the first time, took on an energy all of its own, providing some notable highlights and in some case, breaking new ground.
Just look at a few of the bands we’ve lined up for you to rock out to in the first hour of the show! Motley Crue, Dio, Y&T, Quiet Riot, Yes, Genesis, Alcatrazz, Thin Lizzy and Gary Moore.
And if that’s not enough, we’ll be hearing from the likes of Queensrÿche, Metallica, Kiss, Molly Hatchet, Hanoi Rocks, Magnum, Bryan Adams, AC/DC, Rainbow, Journey, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Hawkwind, Marillion, Status Quo, Accept, Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne, Slade, Def Leppard and ZZ Top.
Three hours of great music, anecdotes and news headlines from the year 1983 – 7pm Thursday, 12th February.
Listen links are on our homepage www.theclassicrockshow.co.uk