Badflower Breaks Through
Badflower is a Los Angeles based collective clearly on the verge of a breakthrough. Their brand new album Okay, I’m Sick showed up on the Billboard charts in its first week of unveiling – and the band would find themselves selling out the venerable El Rey Theater at their record release party. Now on a cross country tour supporting Shinedown, the word on Badflower is out in nothing short of an epic way. Highwire Daze recently chatted with Badflower front man Josh Katz to find out more about this amazing up and coming band and their compelling artistry. Read on…
First of all, your record release show at the El Rey Theater. How surprised were you by this and the audience response?
Every step leading up to that show was terrifying, because, one, the El Rey was kind of a big venue for us at the time. We had never done anything quite that big, so we were nervous that it was going to be a thin looking crowd – that it wasn’t going to sell out. And then when it did sell out, we were just nervous that there would be a bunch of people we would play for – we were playing all these new songs we hadn’t played before – and all of the industry was out there and everybody would be watching with scrutiny. But it ended up being a really fun night and nobody was like judgy or weird – it was just an amazing energy.
What are your impressions of the local Los Angeles music scene and how does Badflower fit into the scheme of things?
We don’t fit in at all. And we never have. That was sort of an issue when we were coming up – before we had radio and we were touring, we were just an LA band that was playing at random LA clubs. We didn’t feel like there was any scene that really existed – the few things that did exist were really small and they really didn’t support the kind of music we were making – and so we just sort of skipped that part. A lot of bands start in some scene in their local cities and branch out from there. We just never did that.
What are you looking forward to about your upcoming tour with Shinedown?
We’re on it now and I’m looking forward to the rest of it. It’s honestly the most fun we’ve had on tour. It’s the first time we’re on a full sized bus with a crew, and playing big shows with big crowds. It feels like that a lot of our hard work in the last few years of touring in a van and driving ourselves and lack of sleep and nowhere to shower – it sort of feels like it’s all come to fruition. It’s all worth it because now we’re touring in a way that we feel like it makes sense. It validates everything that we’ve done.
Let’s talk about the record. First of all, is there any story behind the title Okay, I’m Sick?
It’s a lyric from the first song on the album – and it’s a song that’s very clearly about anxiety and my personal struggles with performing and having to take Xanax to perform. I really like that lyric because it’s sort of like admitting that there’s an issue, which is the first step to recovery. And also the first step to falling into a black hole and becoming a lot worse. But I just thought it linked up to everything that we’re trying to say on this album.
I just watched the Promise Me video and it’s pretty powerful. Tell me the story behind the lyrics for Promise Me.
It’s a song that’s truly about being afraid of growing up. And I mean that in every facet – not just psychicality of becoming an old person and not looking young anymore, but I have this fear in so many experiences that I’ve had in my life that I’ll never feel quite the same again like the first time I fell in love and the first time I was heartbroken – all of these things that were so exciting and so powerful as a kid, as a teenager – or even as a young adult – will never be quite as powerful as they were. And that’s a really scary thought. And so the song is about that fear and the video is like a positive spin on it – and the video is what I aspire to be like. No, I don’t aspire to have a partner who goes into a coma for 50 years – but I aspire to have that youthful sense to feel like I’m young – to feel that everything is still just as important and as powerful as when I am old as it did when I was young. And that’s sort of what the characters in the video experienced. At the end when they’re old people when they’re finally reunited when she wakes up, and they venture out into the world again together, they see each other as their youthful selves, which I think is such a beautiful thing.
In the Promise Me video as well as the epic Heroin video, you clearly had emotional roles and had to act. Is that something you’d like to do more of, or have you done acting in the past?
I was sort of like a musical theater kid in high school and I’ve always been into that. In fact, it’s something that our team has been sort of talking about lately – whether or not I would be interested in diving into that world. And it’s really fun. I don’t know that I’m good at it – I think that I’m good at it in the context of our band and our music videos because they’re concepts that I came up with and characters that I created. I’m so intimate with these characters and I know exactly how they should act and should be. I think if I was given a script that I wasn’t involved with, I don’t know if I could handle that as well as like an actual professional actor. So I don’t know. If the opportunity presented itself to do something beyond music and it was something that I was passionate about and that I thought was really cool, I would definitely explore it.
For you, what has been the best and worst part about touring and being on the road?
Well, touring used to be my worst enemy for a long time – for the first couple years of this. It’s a blessing and a curse, because if I didn’t have the experiences that I’ve had with panic disorder and hating performing and hating going out onstage, I would not have written the record that we ended up having. It’s a double-edged sword for sure. I love touring now, which is weird. I actually think that might be the first time I’ve said that out loud. I’ve said so many times how much I hate touring and how much I want to stay home and make albums and just write and create and not have to perform the songs – and not have to leave my dog and my home and all of those things. And now that the songs are out and our fan base has grown quite rapidly, I think that types of people who come to the shows suffer from the same issue that I suffer from – because they connect to our music so I know they are the same type of person. So when I go out there onstage, I don’t feel like I have to pretend to be some grand rock star figure that’s confident all the time. I can truly be myself. If I’m panicking onstage, I can tell the audience and they’re not going to judge me. In fact, it will probably be a positive thing and will probably inspire and empower them. It’s been great now that all of that stuff is out and I feel comfortable being myself on a bigger platform. It’s been really, really great.
It’s like breakthroughs all around for you and the fans. And it’s awesome…
It really, really is…
(Interview by Ken Morton – Live Photo by Jack Lue)