The Bad Dudes
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The Bad Dudes

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
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"The Bad Dudes channel classic rock power, punk attitude for a fist-pumping good time"

If the members of ’80s glam band Poison had dressed like the T-Birds of “Grease” and ditched the lighter-flicking power ballads for Ramones-style speed bursts, they might have turned out something like Knoxville rockers The Bad Dudes.

Replete with stage names, snarls and songs about fighting and drinking, the boys in the band are taking what started as a joke and turning it into an amped-up rock project that struts and smokes. This weekend, The Bad Dudes will get a chance to strut their stuff before an all-ages crowd at The Valarium, and given the pop-punk nature and positive messages of the other bands on the bill, The Bad Dudes couldn’t be more thrilled, drummer Mikki Magnum told The Daily Times this week.
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“We actually think it’s great that we do stand out, that we don’t just blend in with these bands,” he said. “That’s no discredit to them — we’re excited about the show and looking forward to being on the bill. But that’s why modern music gets so stagnant — nobody’s trying to do anything different. We’re not exactly doing anything new — we’re just taking what we love and enjoy listening to and putting our own twist on it.”

And what a twist that is. There’s a very contemporary snarl to what The Bad Dudes do, but there’s a sense of loyalty to the early roots of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion that often gets lost amid emotive bands who sacrifice swagger for earnestness. Name-checking everyone from Chuck Berry to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Magnum assures potential fans of one thing — they’re going to get a show when The Bad Dudes perform.

“We were all big fans of the old 45 records, as far as cramming everything into a 3-minute song goes and getting down to the nitty gritty and getting the song done,” he said. “I think a couple of songs on our record (“Mammas, Hide Your Daughters,” released last fall) might be 4 or 5 minutes, but we want to get down to brass tacks and get a song out there.

“Let’s be honest; a concert audience is going to get bored if a song is too long. We don’t want them to get bored, and we don’t want to get bored, either. We want to keep moving and rip from one song into another. We feed off the crowd, and they feed off of us. We’ve tried to work out a nice stage show where everything flows, and we’re trying to set ourselves apart from some of the other stuff that’s happening.

“Old punk rock, old classic rock — we’re taking the best parts out of all of those things and balling them up,” he added. “This is our interpretation of what those guys did.”

The Bad Dudes first got together in 2006 as a side project for members of the local music scene, all of whom had other bands on which they concentrated their energies. The Bad Dudes was a fun distraction, and in those early days, spectacle was as much a part of a Bad Dudes show as solid songwriting. After roughly a year, the band “fizzled out,” Magnum said, before the team reassembled roughly a year ago with renewed determination to tone down the antics and focus first and foremost on solid songs.

“I remember seeing them at the time, and a lot of people took them as a joke,” said Magnum, who joined the band last year. “What the band does is a lot of fun — we’re more serious now without taking ourselves too seriously. Now, the band is a lot of fun, but it’s certainly no joke.

“We want people to be entertained by what we do. We’re not trying to change the world here; we’re not U2 or Coldplay. We want people to cut loose and enjoy their time here while we all have it. And while there’s gotta be an element of entertainment as far as a look goes, if the songs are garbage, you can forget about it.”

Locally, The Bad Dudes have found a small but loyal audience; out of town, the band has enjoyed greater success. Magnum doesn’t knock his hometown; in fact, he and his bandmates hope this weekend’s Valarium show will be a springboard toward a bigger fanbase. Regardless of how big the band gets in East Tennessee, however, fans who have been around since the beginning can count on one thing — songs that hit the system like a case of Red Bull and enough attitude to inspire a week-long brawl between rival street gangs.

“It’s the closest thing I’ve been a part of to primal scream therapy,” Magnum said. “Just getting up there and cutting loose — that’s what it’s about. People pay $7 to $10 to see us, and we’re going to give them every bit of their money’s worth. We’re going to put on a good show, and when people buy you shots in the middle of your set, you know you’re doing something right.
- The Daily Times


"Lock Up Your Daughters! Here Come Some Bad Dudes"

So what to make of ostentatious Knoxville rockers the Bad Dudes, who dress up like a B-movie street gang and adopt stage names like Precious Robinson and Hollywood Tate? When Robinson yowls lines like “We looove getting loaded/I drank so much my eyes exploded,” as he does within the first 30 seconds of the band’s new record, Mammas Hide Your Daughters, is it a joke? Or is it possible that even bothering to process it as a “joke” is overthinking it a bit?

Bad Dudes guitarist Vivian Knight attributes it to rock’ n’ roll bacchanalia having fallen out of fashion over the past 20 years.

“Think about Quiet Riot or AC/DC,” Knight says. “Listen to these songs. Listen to David Lee Roth! These guys are pretty f--king goofy, but at the same time, the music’s real, and you can tell they’re having a good time, and it translates. No one’s questioning their material, their subject matter.”

That rationale, let alone the comparisons bundled into it, would be harder to swallow if the Bad Dudes weren’t so sincere about the project and what it means to them. When the group first formed in 2006 (splitting one memorable bill with Royal Bangs hair-metal side project Powersnake, the very model of an honest-to-god joke band), most involved had spent years paying dues in local punk bands, and a gag between friends became the means to an end.

“Some kid got a Bad Dudes tattoo, a really terrible tattoo,” Knight says. “It looked absolutely godawful. So we kinda had no choice but to pull it together then, right? We had, like, seven songs in a week. And it came easier than the more serious stuff we were involved in, just to make simple, fun music with your friends. And we had, like, nine members we’d swap out.”

After a year or so the group went dormant. Then last summer Robinson, Knight, and Tate decided they couldn’t do without Bad Dudes in their lives, rounded out the lineup with drummer Mikki Magnum and lead guitarist Billy Bunny, and began putting together material for their debut, recorded with producer John Puckett this spring and available following their CD release show at the Cider House on Oct. 6.

The record’s songs are deliberately straightforward, heavy with power chords, pinch harmonics, and revelry. Precious Robinson is as convincing a rock-star figure as anyone else currently playing at it, and leads the band through hooky shout-alongs about all the requisite topics: drinking, fighting, sex. (Mostly sex.) It’s not hard to hear the band members’ background in hardcore and second-wave emo, but it’s never pastiche; if nothing else, Bunny’s leads typically tether the Bad Dudes’ sound to something suggesting a redneck Judas Priest.

That’s not a bad place to land for a group that draws on the pure id of rock ’n’ roll as inspiration, but they still find themselves pigeonholed, for better or worse.

“You look at venue websites, they’ll list us as, like, ’80s rock,” Knight says grudgingly. “Or the sound guy at one of our first shows back was, like, ‘Yeah dude, cock rock, all right.’ And that’s fine, but that’s not how we’re thinking of it. Every song’s different enough on its own terms, and the thing in common is that it’s loud-ass rock ’n’ roll.”

Still, it’s understandable. There’s a pageantry to the Bad Dudes’ live show—though Knight argues they toned down the “really goofy stuff” pretty early on—that can be misread as ironic distance or cover-band play-acting. But Robinson insists that audiences invariably come around to the simplicity of the Bad Dudes’ onstage agenda. Even, in fact, people outside the building.

“After our last show at Patrick Sullivan’s, this guy comes up, his eyes are wobbling all around, and he’s like ‘Who the f--k are you guys?’,” he says. “He was walking down the street and heard us and I guess he went into several different bars looking before he ended up on the third floor of Sullivan’s, and caught one song. He waited for us to get off stage just to tell us he hadn’t heard shit like that in 20 years.”

“And there’s not a lot of other bands around like us, so we end up on bills with all sorts of metal bands, or indie bands, or any type of stuff,” Knight adds. “And it’s fun to be able to win over all those different audiences, even to spot some dude back by the concession stand just going nuts. And that’s what we want—we’re having fun playing, the audience is feeling it and letting go. Our main point is that everybody’s got a little bad dude in them.” - Metro Pulse


"The Bad Dudes are back in action"

KNOXVILLE — Knoxville rockers The Bad Dudes have re-emerged after a three-year break, and are preparing for the release of their debut album "Mammas, Hide Your Daughters." While the lineup has changed from its initial run, the band's music and philosophy remains the same. Upon re-entry into the Knoxville music scene, the group acknowledges a difference in the landscape.

The Bad Dudes, who first performed in 2006, created a buzz for a year or so before disbanding as the original members were diverted to their normal lives. The band points out that was a period when the scene was thriving with perhaps more bands than the city could adequately support. Since that time, the number of bands and venues has thinned out to the point it was a challenge to assemble the present Dudes crew.

"It was tough starting over," says guitarist Vivian Knight. "Before it was just like a side project for our friends to mess around and try other stuff and play rock 'n' roll. We're just a few years removed from playing music, and even with our other bands, not a lot of people are playing anymore. Back then everybody had a band and there were all these high school kids playing and coming up. They're in their early 20s now I guess, and they don't play anymore."

"That was the hard thing about finding Billy (Bunny)," adds vocalist Precious Robinson of the search for its latest addition. "Billy plays lead guitar. Nobody even has any aspiration to learn how to play lead anymore."

Likely as a result of the band's original side project status, stage names and lyrical content, The Bad Dudes have occasionally been misconstrued as a novelty or joke band. In reality, the group is something of a throwback, more in its mentality than its music, opting to sideline personal emotions to write songs about girls, booze and partying — themes rock 'n' roll was founded on. The Bad Dudes' motives center on sharing new good times with its audience rather than self-indulgently projecting its own past feelings or hardships to portray some false depth.

"I think the issue is that we're not a band that's trying to be poetic or pour our feelings out," says Robinson. "Just because we're a straight-up rock 'n' roll band singing about the silly, crazy things we sing about doesn't mean we're not serious about it. We're very serious about the music; we just don't take ourselves too seriously.

"I think it's a culture thing from the '90s that's somehow held over where people still want to be selfish and sing about themselves and their feelings. It's not so much about the band as a unit. It's some guy with something to get out and make everyone else miserable, too. There's no glory in singing about how depressed you are. Life sucks enough without hearing everyone else's problems."

Next week will mark the release of "Mammas, Hide Your Daughters," The Bad Dudes' first full-length album. Recorded in Knoxville at Funk Basement Productions from February through August, the album spans the group's entire catalog up to the point of recording. Containing old favorites and newly written material, the release will be available in CD and digital format (through iTunes and Amazon.com).

"We redid some old songs," Knight says. "It was funny; we had (former Bad Dude) Biff Webster come in and sing on one of the songs, and it's changed since he used to sing it. He was messing up, but we left it in during a breakdown, because it just sounded natural. We're not choir boys, we're The Bad Dudes. It's just simple, take-it-or-leave-it rock 'n' roll. It's raw; it's natural. I wouldn't say it's humorous, but I think you can tell we had fun recording it.

"The new songs have got more boogie. Anytime someone brings a song to practice, it has to have a hook; don't bore us, get to the chorus. If it doesn't have a hook, I don't want to play it. The thing I like about Bad Dudes is, when we have a show — take our last two, for example, we had some friends from work come out, and you could tell from their faces that they enjoyed it ... huge grins from people that I know don't usually listen to this kind of music. It's because they can't get these songs out of their heads; it's all about the hook." - Knoxville News Sentinel


Discography

Mammas Hide Your Daughters (2011) iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody

http://soundcloud.com/the-bad-dudes

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Bio

The Bad Dudes bring Rock and Roll back to this generation with their over the top and energetic performance. The Bad Dudes' motto is "Don't bore us, get to the chorus". The Bad Dudes are THE AMERICAN ROCK AND ROLL MACHINE!