It was Foz at BBC Radio Suffolk who introduced me to the music of Norfolk rockers Bad Touch about three years ago. In all that time I have not yet managed to see the band play live – their upcoming UK tour will soon afford me a chance to right that particular wrong. I recently had a chat with front man Stevie Westwood and I started by asking about the band’s lineup.
TB: Bad Touch comprises of yourself, Rob, Seeks, Michael and George – is that the original lineup?
SW: That is indeed, yes.
TB: That is no small feat for a band that has been going for ten years.
SW: That is true, yes. Rob and Seeks they went to school together, played ina couple of school bands. They found George whilst at school and then Bailey as well. Then they found me which is when we became Bad Touch and here we are ten years later, still havin’ fun.
TB: You are a hard-working band even managing to squees in an early festival into the upcoming tour.
SW: Yes, the 28th March is Roadrage at the Corp, in Sheffield. Technically that is not part of the tour, but we are very thankful to be on the lineup. Then we start the tour proper with our mates Piston starting in our hometown Norwich at The Waterfront on 30th March going up and down the country over a couple of weeks. We’ve had a couple of months off since Christmas, so we’ve got itchy feet now. We don’t like not being on the road – if we had our own way, we’d just be on the road all the time!
TB: Because you are very much a live band… not there is anything wrong with your recordings!
SW: I know exactly what you are saying, and I would agree with you – we live to play live.
TB: You are currently in the studio working on album number four, aren’t you?
SW: We are indeed. We have just got back the masters, just to listen to – its sounds absolutely amazing. I’m sure the boys won’t mind me saying but we are very proud. I know it’s a cliché, and most bands say this, it is definitely our best work to date. And we cannot wait to get out on the road and play some of the new songs in front of people and see what they think.
TB: When you say it’s your best work, is that because it has matured or changed direction since the first album?
SW: Its hard to say when you are part of it. A lot of those question need to be answered by people on the outside. But for us I know we have never worked harder as a band. And for us, well we’ve been together for ten years, we can’t be messin’ about anymore, we are not getting any younger! We want to be making our stamp. We have worked really, really hard on this album. The song writing process was a lot more in-depth, there were a lot more heated discussions and passion about what we were doing. We got Nick Brine in as our producer and he has really helped. Right now, it’s like having a present that you want to give someone, but it’s not time yet – you know that feeling?
TB: You started out gigging around Norwich, have you a favourite venue in the city?
SW: We used to, but a lot of these places have shut down now. I did read recently that there is talk about reducing business rates for small music venues which I think is a brilliant idea. There were places where we cut our teeth so to speak, they were complete dives but they still paid us. We were arguably more shocking than we are now, and these places paid us which meant that we could move forward and learn our craft. As I said, sadly a lot of these places have closed now. But The Waterfront, where the tour starts is one of our favourites, it is very close to our hearts. We all went there as angry teenagers to go see bands and to think that we are on a stage like that is always really cool.
TB: What is the worst thing that ever happened to you at a gig?
SW: This will be a different answer for each member of Bad Touch but the one that comes immediately into my head is, I think it was Bristol, I managed to throw a mic stand at the audience. I went to flick my mic stand in a trendy, groovy way and completely threw it a member of the audience. Luckily the chap was really on the ball and managed to catch it! I’ve also done the classic “Good Evening…” and got the name of the town wrong.
TB: Most bands with have a super organised member and a clown. Which one are you?
SW: (laughs) I’d probably…. well, lets put it this way, I’m definitely not the organised one! Does that answer your question?
TB: Yes, that’s fine a perfectly valid answer! Do you have a pet-hate when you are touring?
SW: Not really… there are obviously time on tour when you are sitting in this grotty little back room and there are three chairs but there are five of you, and you wonder what you are doing. But touring is what we live for and the good far outweighs the bad.
TB: You started out doing covers, I presume to get the gigs, but was it always part of the plan to write your own?
SW: From the get-go we were writing our own stuff. Gigs would be a mix of our own intertwined with various covers, but we have always played original material – much to the audience’s dismay at times. As we gained self-worth we gradually weeded out the covers and just did more of our originla stuff. We still homage to our influences, we still do a cover every now and again, just because we love the songs. Whenever people come to one of our shows, we want it to be a bit of a party, a bit of a celebration of music.
TB: What is the new album called by the way?
SW: Emmmm…. If I told you we didn’t know would you believe me? I think we have settled on a name but I’m not at liberty to tell you just yet.
(Since Stevie and I had that chat the new album has been announced as “Kiss The Sky” with a launch date of 19th June 2020)
TB: One final question, if you had to pay money to see a gig, who would it be?
SW: I’m going to see a few bands this month, Gorilla Riot at their album launch in Manchester. I value music. I will always pay to go see a band because I like to think that people would pay to see our band. I am a music lover as much as a music performer, it’s what feeds my soul.
UK Tour dates:
- Norwich, The Waterfront Studio Monday 30 March 2020
- Nottingham, The Bodega, Wednesday 1 April 2020
- Wolverhampton, KK’s Steel Mill, Thursday 2 April 2020
- Manchester, The Bread Shed, Friday 3 April 2020
- Leeds, The Key Club, Sunday 5 April 2020
- London, O2 Academy Islington 2, Monday 6 April 2020
- Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach, Tuesday 7 April 2020
- Southampton, The Joiners, Thursday 9 April 2020
- Saltash, Livewire Youth Project, Friday 10 April 2020
- Buckley, The Tivoli, Saturday 11 April 2020
- Newcastle, The Cluny, Wednesday 15 April 2020
- Glasgow, King Tut’s, Thursday 16 April 2020