At one time or another, even the very biggest bands were unknown. The Beatles, for instance, were just another quartet of leather-clad rockers playing in a pokey Liverpool tea bar until Brian Epstein was handed a rough copy of them singing My Bonnie.
Bad Touch first came onto my particular musical radar in The Chester Live Rooms on a stickily hot evening in June of this year. Headlining was the uber-talented blues-rocker Jared James Nicholls, with the excellent Dave Hanson along with Bad Touch in support. At the bargain price of £12, what’s not to like and in Dave Hanson, the evening had got off to a fine start.
Then out of nowhere almost, this five piece outfit from Norfolk took to the stage and summarily rocked the bricks out of it. They were punchy, passionate and damn good. Above all though, they were clearly having fun and this showed in the lyrics. Sweet Little Secret is the perfect testament to that AC/DC-esque, good times Rock ‘n’ Roll feel they have: not quite A Whole Lotta Rosie, but close.
A month later and Bad Touch were back at The Chester Live Rooms, now in support of Stateside stadium fillers, The Kentucky Headhunters. This time the five piece were not only playing music from Halfway Home but also new tracks they’d been dabbling with for a new album to be released later in the year. That album is Truth Be Told and is all set to be released on The Cadiz Recording Company label on December 2nd.
Truth Be Told is great stuff. A rock blues album that’s as engaging as their live performances, but with a subtlety lying beneath that leaps out and catches you unawares on occasion. That night in July, the song which most caught the ear was 99%: a catchy, riff-based, crackling, rocking number guaranteed to set any venue alight.
“Truth Be Told is our second album and we’re so pleased with the way it’s been received so far. We are all really chuffed with it,” says lead singer Stevie Westwood. “A lot more heart and blood and soul went into the making of this album than the first. That’s not say we didn’t try with Halfway Home, but this one saw us really pushing ourselves to the absolute limit. It’s really good to see that the effort is being rewarded in the reviews it’s receiving so far.”
The fun element, thankfully, is in no way diminished on the album with tracks such as Let The Sun Shine and the opening One More Night really setting the tone. “What’s the point of playing Rock ‘n’ Roll if there’s no fun in it? We had a great couple of weeks in the studio: it was hard work, sure, but it was such fun because we could see everything coming together the way we’d more or less imagined it would right before our eyes.”
99% is set to be the debut single from the album and Made to Break lined up as its follow up. Both tracks were remixed for radio by the legendary Rolling Stones engineer and co-producer, Chris Kimsey. “We asked friends and colleagues and fans what they thought of the two songs and almost everybody agreed that these two should be the singles,” Stevie explained.
“I personally think they’re both really catchy – ear wormy, I guess – and perfect for getting people up and having a good time. What Chris has done to the tracks is amazing. He took our raw files and rubbed a more than generous layer of sparkle on them. Someone has said that 99% is a mixture of Slade & Lynard Skynard, which is a pretty good description I think and I’m really happy to be likened to those two that’s for sure.”
“The song itself started life when we were all in our studio discussing cars and someone said he was ‘99% sure he had found his next car’. We all laughed as we were 100% sure that there was no way he would ever buy it, as he needs absolute certainty before spending any of his hard earned cash. Somehow this conversation led us to start writing which then, over the course of the next couple of weeks, led to 99%. By the way, the guy never did buy the car.”
Amidst all the frivolity on Truth Be Told, though, there are a couple of tracks that exude confidence in being able to push the band’s stylistic limits. One of these is Waiting For This, which is a lot harder than its cohorts on the album: much more conceptual and considered. “We deliberately made it a bit darker and edgier because we don’t want to get too stuck in the ‘happy-go-lucky’ kind of mould if you like. We are people with feelings and we do think about all sorts of different things, other than having a good time.”
“This song is about the breakdown of a relationship and attaching all the blame to the other person. It’s about bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Despite all this it still takes a positive view for the future and moving on”.
“It’s really nice to be able to write songs about your feelings at certain points in your life and this is one of those songs. It has gone down really well on the few times we’ve played it live so far; probably because it is a bit different – a bit angrier, if you like than some of the other songs we play.”
So who takes on the duty of writing for the band? “We all contribute. Someone might come in with a riff, someone might come in with an idea with a few lyrics jotted down or something. Someone might just come in with an idea. Then we all put our sort of marks on it as it were. There’s no one member of Bad Touch who have written a song entirely on their own. We’ve all had some sort of input into everything we’ve recorded. It’s why I love being in this band. You can come in with something and the four others will improve it 4,000% just by playing it.”
Another song on the album that shows the band in a more contemplative light is Take Your Time, which is just beautifully crafted. “Oh, thank you very much, that’s one of my favourites. What we are trying to say here is that whenever you are feeling desperate, stressed and don’t know where to turn or what to do next, take a deep breath and a step back to give yourself time for reflection. It’s a bit more stripped back and so sounds a bit more vulnerable in a way. We’ve not really done anything like it before and I’m really pleased with the way it has turned out.”
For those who don’t know, Bad Touch are Stevie on Lead Vocals, Rob Glendinning on Lead and Acoustic Guitar, George Drewry on Drums, Keyboards, and Backing Vocals, Michael Bailey on Bass and Daniel “Seeks” Seekings on Rhythm Guitars and Backing Vocals. They hail from just outside of Norwich, where they cut their performance teeth – as do so many others – on the local pub and club circuit, mixing their mainly covers sets up with their own original material too. Despite the burgeoning success Bad Touch have had of late though, it’s an environment that Stevie knows well.
“In between living this gloriously outlandish Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle I’ve helped to create, I work as a barman at my local pub to really keep the wolf from the door,” Stevie laughed. “The pub is The Angel of Wangford near Southwold in Suffolk, so if anybody wants to come down for a decent pint and a chat, that’s where they’ll find me. We’re actually playing a gig there on December 23rd. Oh and mine’s a beer, by the way!”.
It’s a wonder Stevie has time for drinking beer at the moment, let alone pulling pints. There’s an album launch to prepare for and, also, a sixteen date, dual-headline tour with Massive as well: a tour which once again sees them visit The Chester Live Rooms, along with a Planet Rockstock date in Trecco Bay, Porthcawl, on December 3rd and a New Years Eve bash in their home town of Norwich: all this immediately following two successful outings supporting Jared James Nicholls and The Kentucky Headhunters.
“We’ve been really lucky in who we’ve been able to tour with,” Stevie reflects. “These guys really treated us like equals and were all really, really pleasant to be around. Jared’s tour found us as a part of this really big party family and we managed to rock out some really good shows together. That was a lot of fun to be part of, which is really important when you’re doing this kind of thing”.
“Again, with The Kentucky Headhunters, who have got so much experience you could not fail but to learn from them. The guys were really generous with their time and they were just these fonts of knowledge offering their knowhow of the business and touring. It was such a fabulous experience to be a part of”.
“You just have to soak up every part of something like that and, I must admit, that when I first saw them I had reservations about what we’d let ourselves in for. Then I saw them perform for the first time and they just totally blew my mind. They were awesome. Over such a short period of time, we grew so close that we’re still in touch. Their new album is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to maybe do something with them again in the future.”
“As for this upcoming tour, I cannot wait to get out there and play these new songs for people. I’m actually sitting here quivering with the thought of it. All the guys in the band have got itchy feet about it because we’ve tried to hold back playing them live. Now though we can just crack on and get them out there. Playing with Massive is a big thing for us as well so, yeah, we’re all set and can’t wait to get out there with them. It’ll be a lot of fun I’m sure!”
Bad Touch “Truth Be Told” is released on Friday December 2nd. To Pre-order: www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-Be-Told-Bad-Touch/dp/B01M0VL9QG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1474905555&sr=1-1&keywords=bad+touch
UK TOUR DATES: CO-HEADLINE TOUR WITH “MASSIVE”
Venue Box Office: 01495 70 8022
Venue email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ebbw Vale Institute, Church Street, Ebbw Vale, NP23 6BE
The Station, Cannock
Sunday 20 November
Upper Floor Cannock Shopping Centre
Market Hall Street, Cannock, WS11 1LS
Venue Box Office: 0117 930 4538
Venue email: email@example.com
72-73 Old Market St, Bristol, BS2 0EJ
1 Station Road, Chester, CH1 3DR
Venue Box Office: 0161 27 27 251
Venue email: firstname.lastname@example.org
118 Princess St, Manchester, M1 7EN
Venue Box Office: 01484 522 800
Venue email: email@example.com
28 Kirkgate, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 1QQ
The Musician, Leicester
Friday 25 November
Tickets: We Got Tickets
42 Crafton St W, Leicester, LE1 2DE
Saturday 26 November
Tickets: Local Outlets
Venue Box Office: 0114 276 0262
Venue email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Milton Street, Sheffield, S1 4JU
Venue Box Office: 01278 452 628
71 Eastover, Bridgwater, TA6 5AP
Sanctuary Live, Basingstoke
Wednesday 30 November
18 London Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7NT
The Dome, London *
Thursday 1 December
Supporting Whiskey Myers
Box Office: 0207 272 8153
2 Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park, London, NW5 1HL
Planet Rockstock, Trecco Bay
Saturday 3 December
St. John’s Drive, Porthcawl, Wales, CF36 5NG
The Angel, Beccles
Friday 23 December
Box Office: 01502 578 636
39 High Street, Wangford, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8RL
Friday 30 December
BOX OFFICE: 01603 441 118
The Cherry Tree, Dereham
Saturday 31 December
Box Office: 01603 749 469
Dereham Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR5 8TD