Big Bad Rooster
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Big Bad Rooster

Long Beach, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Long Beach, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Country Bluegrass




"Big Bad Rooster"

by Simon Weedn | June 1, 2017
Big Bad Rooster

Big Bad Rooster


Bluegrass has its roots in some of the oldest musical traditions of the United States and has long been a source of authentic story telling about rural life and working people. Though the genre has enjoyed a surge in reinterest as Americana music has regained some popularity, it can be difficult to find acts moving beyond old traditionals and pushing the genre into new territory. Thankfully, Big Bad Rooster is on the rise and available to please those ears looking for new flavor in a classic form. The band’s debut full-length blends vibrant stories of modern life and contemporary struggles, with an exciting style that will appeal to both purists and new-comers alike. - CULTURE Magazine

"Big Bad Rooster"

Big Bad Rooster

Big Bad Rooster (from the album Big Bad Rooster)

As gentle waves lap against the shore and big ships end their ocean voyages in the harbor, the music of Big Bad Rooster takes Bluegrass music from its mountain home for a vacation by the sea. The Long Beach, California-based buskers make SoCal Bluegrass on their recently released self-titled album. Big Bad Rooster offers a love song, promising to give up crack and loosen the noose in “Take Me Back” as the album sets a place at the table for fine dining with “Good ‘N Greasy” and offers a full heart and empty pockets for “Poor Boy” while temptation has to double its speed to keep up with the quick stride of “God Fearing Man”.

Big Bad Rooster keep the mosh pit pace of rapid-fire rhythm in place for their string band songs, transforming Bluegrass into Blurgrass. The quartet make space for traditional tunes of the genre with covers of “In the Pines” and “Midnight Special” as Big Bad Rooster open the album with dreams of Appalachia in “Whiskey Bottom Blues” and harmonize with front porch, Country-flavored Doo Wop on “What Am I Supposed to Do” as they give a shout out to hard times with “Almighty Dollar”, blending their original tune with Isley Brothers “Shout” as they close out the track with the pleas for love with the hopes of ‘say you will’. - The Alternate Root

"A Taste of Americana"

A Taste of Americana

Big Bad Rooster revives traditional American folk music genres through a modern lens

by Simon Weedn | August 3, 2017

While Los Angeles County may be more well-known for its rock and roll and hip-hop exports, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the area also has healthy country music and bluegrass communities as well. Lately, Long Beach’s own Big Bad Rooster has been garnering praise and recognition all across California for its own distinct style of bluegrass, which blends the classic musical qualities of the genre with more modern lyrical topics and ideas. In June, the band released its self-titled debut full-length album, along with a music video for the record’s first single, “Whiskey Bottom Blues.”

Recently, CULTURE was able to talk with lead singer and guitar player Michael Solan and fiddle player Camilo Barahona all about how the band came together, the making of their new album and their feelings about cannabis.

“I think we all agree it should be legalized. We’re not children, and I think when the government tells us what we can and can’t consume, it’s ridiculous.”

First and foremost, can you tell me a bit about how Big Bad Rooster came together?

Michael Solan: Yeah! Let’s see, Camilo and I met each other at Cal State Long Beach and we started just by jamming on some songs I wrote. One day, we were playing out somewhere on the campus, and we looked up from what we were doing, and we had accumulated a crowd; we finished a song and realized we had maybe 10 or 15 people around us clapping, and I think they may have thrown us a dollar. So, we thought that was a good sign and kind of just went from there.

Your sound blends classic bluegrass sound with more modern topical elements in your lyrics really well. Can you tell me a bit about where your lyrics come from and how they fit into your music?

Camilo Barahona: I think all the things that lots of older Americana and bluegrass artists talk about, like the coal mines or the railroads, are circumstantial details. These people are talking about their lives. We strive for our music to come from an honest place, so it would be dishonest of us to be singing about hopping trains or doing things we didn’t entirely do.

Solan: I’ve always got a journal around so I’m writing down my thoughts, feelings, or one or two lines of a song that I’m working on. So, that’s where my songs are coming from. Just a sort-of stream of consciousness about my thoughts and feelings. So, all my songs are pretty personal to me and are about personal relationships, experiences, or people that I know.

The new record sounds incredible, can you tell me a bit about how you all made it?

Solan: We were working with our buddies Paul Rhoda and Jesse Pridmore on our demos which we were recording at The Bomb Shelter in Garden Grove, and it was just a little too boxed in. At the time, I was living in this crazy party house in Long Beach and the acoustics in there were great. So, we decided we’d just record the whole album at my house and Jesse and Paul brought their mobile recording rig to do it. The hope was that we would capture the vibe and the acoustics of the old house. The whole thing was essentially self-produced over there in that house.

Barahona: We wanted the whole thing to be soaked in the feel of Long Beach as much as we could. We recorded with the windows wide open, and if you listen closely you can hear all types of sounds like kids playing and stuff.

Does the band have any feelings about the current struggle to legalize cannabis in this country?

Barahona: I think we all agree it should be legalized. We’re not children, and I think when the government tells us what we can and can’t consume, it’s ridiculous.

Solan: I’ve actually been 100 percent sober from all drugs and alcohol for seven months now. However, I used to be a huge pot head. My dad was a musician who was on the forefront of playing fundraisers for NORML, and we have plenty of friends who make their livings in the cannabis industry, so I think legalization is a great thing. I’ve even picked up my grandma some CBD when she was feeling sick. I know we’re all proponents and advocates for cannabis, even though I don’t use it anymore.

Besides the release of your new record, what plans does Big Bad Rooster have for 2017?

Barahona: We’ve got a few things in the works. We’ve got a string of shows lined up over the summer locally and we’re making a couple of runs up to the Northern California area as well. All in all, a lot of good stuff. - CULTURE Magazine



These boys have been kicking around great tunes in Long Beach for quite a few years now, and while the cast of pickers has changed over time, the addition of Tristan Cole-Falek on the low end has really solidified the music of Big Bad Rooster as can be heard on their debut self-titled album released yesterday. Fans will hear some great old songs like Poor Boy and Take Me Back along with new tracks and a even few goodtime covers where lead vocalist Michael Solan turns over the duties to his mates. Solan’s mixture of modern lyrical content combined with arrangements that are rich and deep with the history of American Bluegrass style really lend to the authenticity in their sound. Combine these elements with the amazingly talented Barahona brothers, Camilo Barahona on fiddle & Gaspar Barahona on Banjo, and you have a four piece monster of Bluegrass, Americana, and Folk that is super approachable by today’s generation and also reminiscent of a bygone era. Do yourself a favor and check out a live show around town where the boys of Big Bad Rooster will reconnect you with the roots of American music all with a whiskey in one hand and a beer in the other! - Long Beach Independent

"Long Beach band Big Bad Rooster releases new album, lands local gig"

By RICHARD GUZMAN | | Press Telegram
PUBLISHED: January 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm | UPDATED: September 1, 2017 at 2:18 am

There’s a new trio of roosters in town and they want to make some noise in Long Beach’s vibrant roots music scene. There won’t be a loud crow at dawn but a hoedown howl of a screaming fiddle and the boot-stomping strums of a guitar and banjo.

Big Bad Rooster, a Long Beach-based three-piece band that plays a mix of bluegrass, Irish folk and Americana music, self-released its debut record, “I Do Not Give a Damn,” on Jan. 1.

The band will perform some of its new music, along with a few covers, Jan. 8 at the Blind Donkey in Long Beach when they open for the Get Down Boys.

The show is part of the ongoing local music and art series called Live After Five.

“It’s danceable, foot-stomping kind of music that we create with mostly our three-piece string band. We don’t have a drum kit so we create an energy with our strings,” said 25-year-old Gaspar Barahona, the banjo player for the band, which also includes his brother Camilo Barahona, 27, on the fiddle and lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Michael Solan, 25.

The record is a mix of high-energy original songs, ballads and harmonies connected by impressive musicianship and Solan’s deeply personal lyrics.

“It definitely owes respect to that tradition of old-time music, but at the same time it’s lyrically and musically a little bit more current, a little bit more musically ambitious,” Solan said.

The band officially formed about a year ago, although Camilo and Solan met years earlier at Cal State Long Beach, where they played together casually and bonded over their shared appreciation of bluegrass and Americana music.

While they formed in a city with a lively roots music scene that boasts a yearly folk festival and regular folk and bluegrass jam sessions, like at the Red Leprechaun and soon at Alex’s Bar, where the monthly Roots Music Night starts this month, Big Bad Rooster has taken a different approach when it comes to live shows.

“We actually play a lot of wedding receptions. It seems kind of random but we do,” Camilo said. “They’re pretty cool. They help pay the bills and people really enjoy it, they’re there dancing and everyone is in a good mood.”

The band scored a gig at the inaugural Folk Revival Festival in Long Beach last year where they impressed the crowd with a lively set.

“We hadn’t played anything like that before,” Gaspar said. “That was actually a really cool gig.”

The new record aims to capture that live energy with four songs written by Solan.

“They’re really kind of a contemporary take on classic folk and bluegrass music,” said Paul Rhoda, who produced the record, which was partially recorded at Bomb Shelter studios in Westminster. “They really craft each song individually that tells its own story.”

The first tune on the release was penned by Solan when he was about 15. It’s called “Poor Boy,” and starts with a fast-paced fiddle that sets the tone for the rest of the tune.

“It’s about the exuberance of life and opportunity knocking on your door and the excitement of getting out into the world and being carefree,” Solan said.

The album title, “I Do Not Give a Damn,” was taken from a line in that song.

It’s followed by a ballad called “Mollye Lou,” which Solan wrote years ago about his then 7-year-old sister and the hardships she had growing up.

Rounding off the record is “Sobriety,” an upbeat tune about the cycle of addiction, and “All I Know,” a philosophical look at “what I’ve come to understand or I think I understand about life,” Solan said.

“It’s very autobiographical,” he said of the record. “At the same time I hope that other people can relate to my experiences.”

The band is hoping the record helps them land more gigs and maybe more festivals as well, although Camilo insists that they’re not quite ready to give up the wedding circuit just yet. - Long Beach Press Telegram


"Big Bad Rooster," Released June 10, 2017

1. Whiskey Bottom Blues
2. Good n' Greasy
3. Waiting Game
4. God Fearing Man
5. Poor Boy
6. Midnight Special
7. In the Pines
8. Almighty Dollar
9. Take Me Back
10. What am I supposed to do?

"I Do Not Give a Damn," Released January 1st, 2015

1. Poor Boy
2. Mollye Lou
3. Sobriety
4. All I Know



Big Bad Rooster is a high energy bluegrass band from Long Beach, CA. The band blends vibrant stories of modern life and contemporary struggles with the foot-stomping charm of American roots music. Their sound features a lively mix of banjo, fiddle, guitar, upright bass, and robust three-part harmonies. 

Originally from Maryland, singer/songwriter Michael Solan moved to Long Beach to study creative writing at CSULB, where he met fiddler player Camilo Barahona, who was a music major at the time. The two bonded over their appreciation for American roots music and began playing local gigs around Long Beach. Having played music with his brother his entire life, it was only a matter of time before Gaspar Barahona added his banjo stylings to the group. In 2015, the band released their demo, “I Do Not Give A Damn,” which received critical acclaim by the Long Beach Press Telegram and landed them a string of local shows. After a long search, BBR solidified their lineup with the final addition of Tristan Cole-Falek on upright bass. On June 10, 2017, BBR released their first full-length self-titled album, which has been featured in Culture Magazine, Long Beach Independent, Ditty TV, and on The Alternate Root.

Big Bad Rooster thrives on spontaneity and connecting with an audience, so it’s no surprise that the band has always enjoyed busking. They continue to play on street corners whenever they get a chance but have gone on to play much larger venues as well. BBR has performed twice at the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival, twice at the Downey International Food Festival, Anaheim Convention Center, San Diego County Fair, Staples Center, and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. They have been billed alongside such notable acts as Willie Watson, Frank Fairfield, Chuck Ragan, The White Buffalo, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Following their latest release, the band has also been featured on 107.5 KPIG in Watsonville and 95.5 KLOS in Los Angeles.

Staking their claim in the canon of American roots music, Big Bad Rooster continues to deliver unforgettable songs of unrequited love, murder, and reckless debauchery with a lively pace and a deep heart.    

Band Members