The Bad Influence Band
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The Bad Influence Band

Germantown, Maryland, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1988 | INDIE

Germantown, Maryland, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1988
Band Blues Americana




"The Washington Post"

Like a lot of blues bands around the country sustained by a regional following, Bad Influence can get along merely by saluting its precursors. But the local band's latest release offers something more ambitious -- a solid collection of original material spiced with humor and soul.

Of course, "Tastes Like Chicken" is familiar in many respects. The quintet's affection for horn-powered jump tunes, harp-laced blues and lazy grooves is evident from the opening tracks. There's nothing fussy about the band's sound or the way it puts a lyric across. Though their music draws on both vintage and contemporary hues, sticking to the blues basics seems a way of life for these guys. They're also supported by some like-minded musicians, including Nighthawks guitarist Pete Kanaras and singers Mary Shaver, Janine Wilson and Cindy Cain.

This time around, though, Bad Influence has put a lot of work into the songwriting. Four members of the band contribute tunes to the mix, including harmonica player Roger Edsall and drummer David Thaler, who penned a couple of amusing songs informed by a distinctly Washingtonian perspective -- "Don't Forget Your Nightclothes" and "D.C. Driver." Edsall is also responsible for "Cat Fight," a swinging, cross-harp romp, while guitarist Michael "Jr." Tash and bassist Bob Mallardi add songs that are boisterous, mournful and romantic by turns. More than anything else, these new tunes are what make "Tastes Like Chicken" such appetizing stuff.
- Mike Joyce

"Blues Revue Magazine"

Strong contemporary blues make up Tastes Like Chicken (Badblues 8021), from the Washington, DC outfit Bad Influence. The writing is good - harpist Roger Edsall manages to find new wrinkles in the overdone "Love Dot Com" blues theme, and guitarist Jr. Tash's snapshot of a sour relationship in "Talking to the Wall" is unusually in-depth and affecting. The band's finesse and flair are highlighted in backscratchin' grooves ("Don't Forget Your Nightclothes," boosted by guest guitarist Pete Kanaras' courtesy-of-Earl-Hooker wah slide guitar solo), too-cool shuffles ("Road House"), and chromatic harp workouts ("Cat Fight"). - RC


Michael "Jr." Tash and his band of merry men, Bad Influence, are talking up their new CD, "Tastes Like Chicken." It's a contemporary blues album Tash says reflects the humor and personalities of five "guys from the suburbs."

It's the band's second CD, and the first to contain original material. "We spent two years getting it just right," says Tash, who, along with the others members, wrote 11 out of the 12 cuts. The songs draw on geographical roots as well as musical ones.

"D.C. Driver," written by drummer David Thaler, is a smart-alecky road rage rant that according to Tash gripes "about the real life frustrations of driving the Beltway." The irritation is expressed in Thaler's lyrics: "On 495 you'll feel deprived/ I hog the left lane at 55/ Won't let you pass box you in tight/ And never notice you flashing your lights/ 'Cause I'm a D.C. Driver licensed to give you the blues."

Harp player Roger Edsall talks about a different part of modern life in his "Love Dot Com." Celebrating what Tash calls "the married man's best friend in the new millennium," Edsall sings "AOL now I.O.U" for the steamy chat rooms that take away his blues.

"It's obvious we're all having fun," says Tash. "We don't take ourselves too seriously. The CD is getting airplay on blues shows in Australia, Denmark and other places. It's such a cool feeling. "

And what about the album name, where did that come from?

"Whenever people try something new they always say, 'it tastes like chicken.' People just can't say 'I like it' for whatever [reason]. If I say we play the blues, that's something different to everybody. This album is different, so, it's like 'tastes like chicken."

- Maria Villafana


Under The Influence (2012) - Sirius/XM Pick-to-Click, Finalist in the International Blues Challenge Best Self Produced Recording, Nominated for the Washington Area Music Association award for best blues recording of 2012
Tastes Like Chicken (2001) - Winner of the Washington Area Music Association award for best blues recoirding of 2001.
Where We Been (1996) - A collection of our favorite cover songs.



Staying at the apex of the mid-Atlantic region’s competitive blues and roots music scene for a career that spans three decades isn’t easy. But that’s what the Bad Influence Band has done — even while extending their reputation across the country thanks to wildly entertaining, high-energy performances, extensive airplay and three well-received albums.

Whether performing at a festival, on a stage at Kennedy Center, a showcase at the NAMM Show or on Memphis’ hallowed Beale Street, the four-piece group featuring guitarist Michael Tash, harmonica ace and singer Roger Edsall, bassist-vocalist Bob Mallardi and drummer David Thaler are unabashed crowd pleasers thanks to their expert ensemble playing, strong melodies, addictive grooves, sly original songwriting and sheer intensity.

Even audiences unfamiliar with blues and the other styles of roots music that inform the group’s wide repertoire are smitten with the Bad Influence Band’s joyful performances.

“The most important thing is that everybody has fun — the audience and us,” explains bandleader Tash.

Their 2011 album Under the Influence introduced the group to a host of new listeners when it made the top five on the “Picks To Click” chart on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s two-million listener channel “B.B. King’s Bluesville.” And the same disc — stacked with originals and a few wisely chosen chestnuts that displayed the group’s uncanny ability to make vintage tunes sound new — was a finalist in the Blues Foundation’s 2012 International Blues Challenge competition for Best Self-Produced CD. Under the Influence was also nominated in the Best Blues Recording category for a 2012 WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Association) award.

The Bad Influence Band’s ignition came in the late 1980s, when Tash was taken under wing by legendary DC-area blues guitarist Steve Jacobs, who began schooling him in the genre’s roots. In 1988, after some years in the rock ‘n’ roll trenches, Tash founded the Bad Influence Band and over the next decade their popularity around the Nation’s Capital area steamrolled. By the time Where We Been was recorded, the group was a six-piece with a reputation for great live shows and a vast repertoire of classic and modern blues.

Various personnel changes and refinements in direction and sound led to the current four-piece line-up of Tash, Edsall, Mallardi and Thaler, which cemented in 1993. All four together refine the sketches for tunes that individual members create. The results include rollicking rollercoaster rides like “Don’t Forget Your Night Clothes,” which pins its midnight romance charm to Edsall’s backbone harmonica riff. “Man Child” kicks off Under the Influence with a lightning strike of pure chug ‘n’ roar blues, powered by Mallardi’s whiskey and dust voice. The latter album’s also home to Tash’s tour-de-force guitar performance on the Albert King classic “As the Years Go Passing By.” His playing is an incendiary blend of stinging vibrato, fat-toned single note melodies, dramatic power-strummed chords and graceful fills and asides that punctuate the song’s soul-deep lyrics.

Of course, each band member has a distinguished reputation in his own right. Tash is one of the East Coast’s most respected blues guitarists and songwriters, and has been inducted into the Northern Virginia Blues Hall of Fame. He endorses Epiphone guitars, GHS strings, Quilter Amps, Peavey Electronics, Levy’s Leathers, Spectraflex cables and PedalSnake cable systems, and has been nominated for a WAMMIE for Best Blues Instrumentalist.

Edsall shares a similar reputation as a harmonica player and has performed with Jimmy Thackery, Kenny Neal, Kim Wilson and other greats. He endorses Hohner Harmonicas and Peavey Electronics and has been nominated for a WAMMIE for Best Blues Vocalist.

Mallardi began his career as a bass prodigy under the spell of Stax Records, bringing his own original fusion of blues and R&B styles to the band. He endorses GHS strings and Hartke Amplifiers.

The classically trained Thaler played timpani with various Orchestras before picking up the kit and becoming a die-hard blues fan and switching styles, racking up more than 45 years of performing experience. He endorses Sonor Drums, Beato Bags and Roc-n-Soc thrones.

The Bad Influence Band has appeared on hundreds of club and festival stages, including the House of Blues in Las Vegas and the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival. Their winning songs, musical dynamism and strong presence has led to opening slots on bills with a coterie of stars: Heart, Shemekia Copeland, Candye Kane, Roomful of Blues, Albert Cummings and Albert Castiglia, among others.

“We’re looking forward to expanding our touring range and having even more fun playing and recording our music,” says Tash.