Bad Flowers: gig revew and interview
With an on-stage time of ridiculous o’clock, Satans Hollow is equally ridiculously empty, so much so Beelzebub himself would struggle to create mischief amongst the punters. There are some dedicated fans of The Bad Flowers to catch this early set and the band do not disappoint, creating a solid and loud blues rock sound that would wake the dead. It is also obvious that the band are hell bent on having as much fun as possible whilst rocking out.
To my ears, guitarist Tom Leighton has crafted a sound that is at times reminiscent of early Iron Maiden especially during their performance of the single Thunder Child. Successfully covering any Hendrix track is one hell of a challenge and they easily manage to pull it off – Voodoo Chile is heavy enough and unique enough to cast it’s own spell over the growing crowd. Set closer City Lights is a prime example of what this band is all about – gnarly, riff-driven classic heavy rock.
After their set I manage to pin them down at their merch stand and start off talking to Tom and drummer Karl Selickis (Dale Tonk, the bass player ran off to get his beer, well, that was his excuse) about how the tour is going…
“This is the second night with The Picturebooks and we have another eight shows to go. We played at Flapper in Birmingham last night, it was a hometown show for us“ says Tom. “Busy, sweaty, loud. Everything went well that could go well and everything went wrong that could go wrong” responds Karl, well that’s rock’n’roll for you.
Talking of their hometown, is Cannock the centre of the rock’n’roll universe? “There is a lot going on” laughs Tom. To be honest it seems an unlikely place but it has produced some serious pedigree musicians “Glenn Hughes and Mel Galley are from Cannock so there is a lot of history there. We grew up playing with covers and tribute bands so there is plenty going on” concludes Tom.
Moving on to the single, Thunder Child, I tell them that in the guitar runs there is to my ears some early Iron Maiden going on “that’s cool” says Tom, “we have had a few people say things like that, we sound like Rush, Golden Earing and allsorts of bands, and The Cult as well and I am like ‘okay’, we don’t aim to sound like anybody really. They are all legends so it is a massive compliment to us.”
The Bad Flowers have an album coming out in January. “It’s fully recorded” continues Tom, “so we are are now just sorting out getting it printed and pressed and hopefully by the end of October we will have a link to pre-order on our website. There are also going to be some limited edition T-shirts, coloured vinyl and other stuff.” It is going to be an essential purchase for fans of this style of classic rock.
There is going to be a tour to support the album, February and March time but they are not able to say anything about it at the moment.
Turning to Karl I suggest that he was having boatloads of fun behind the drum kit “Whether there is 15 or 500 people in the venue I always try to put on a bit of a show because although I would love to be able to sing and play guitar I am tone deaf.” Unlike some drummers who just sit behind the drums Karl is jumping up and down, a bit like Mike Portnoy, “my absolute hero” he says “an amazing drummer and an absolute showman too”.
Moving onto the deep bass groove coming from Dale, I suggest they are pretty brutal. Even being sat on a seat at the back I could feel the full force of them coming through “it’s because I’ve got big hands, that’s what it is, I just thunder along and keep it going, thunder fingers! It’s the filling in between what Tom and Karl do, creating a big sound.”
And it is a big sound that the band have “we keep working on that sound to get it to where it is. Six years of just keep working and working at it, and working at it every single day. ” Their dedication is impressive and the results speak for themselves. We cannot wait to hear their album in the New Year.
Have a listen to the single, Thunder Child:
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin