Stevie Westwood of Bad Touch: Interview
As Norfolk rockers Bad Touch prepare for a jam packed 18-date UK tour in support of their third studio album, ‘Shake A Leg’, we catch up with singer Stevie Westwood to chat about the new record and what spooky surprises may be lurking at the band’s Manchester Halloween show…
Firstly, congratulations on signing with Marshall Records, how do you feel they’ve influenced the band’s development?
It’s early days yet, we’ve only just signed with them so we’re just finding our feet together. It’s always different when you make the team a bit bigger, but we’re looking forward to working together, getting to know each other and just seeing how far we can take this thing.
Your new album ‘Shake A Leg’ is certainly all killer no filler, but if I had to pick my three favourite songs, I’d probably choose Lift Your Head, which I can definitely imagine you opening up with, Show Me What It Means and the first single lifted from the new record, Skyman. Do you have any favourite tracks?
It’s hard really because they get treated a bit like our children, but one of my personal favourites is Dressed To Kill, it’s got a slightly different flavour, it’s sort of groovy, but I’m just really chuffed with how the album’s come out and how we put it together as a team, as Bad Touch, and we’re really looking forward to taking it out on the road and playing it in front of people.
So was it written by all of you as a group effort?
Yeah, we split the royalties 20% each way and that’s a pretty accurate representation of how the songs are written, we all chip into different parts. The guitar players might write drumbeats and the bass player might write lyrics and stuff like that!
You performed with Mollie Marriott on tour last Autumn, do you plan any further collaboration with her in the future?
Right now I think we’re both doing our own thing. Me and Mollie are still in contact and we talk to each other and that, there’s nothing on the cards as of yet but I never say never because she’s a lovely human being and it’s always nice to see her.
Is there anybody else you’d like to work with?
We always say anyone and everyone… anyone who’ll have us really! We just like making new friends and making new music and just seeing people’s reaction to it.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far and what’s been your favourite gig?
Oh, there’s so many! Last year, 2017, we did over 125 shows, which is like two a week, every week, but we got to play Nottingham Rock City quite recently and that’s obviously a big thing for us because we’ve all been there attending as gig-goers, so that was a nice one, to think we’ve been on that stage. We also played Download a couple of years ago, which was a huge thing for me because I’ve been there almost every year. We love every single show for different reasons, although some of them are harder to love than others! We just look forward to the future and keeping this going.
How do you spend your spare time when you’re not on stage or in the recording studio?
What spare time?! We had band rehearsal last night for the upcoming tour, we’re trying to get really polished, I then drove home, had a shower in the morning and drove straight to work. I like to spend time with my Mum and Dad and my sister and just have a quiet drink down the pub. When I’m not working I’m writing music, it’s all music based really, I don’t have very many other vocations!
You’re known for your exuberant live shows and you always look like you’re having a blast on stage – you obviously spend a lot of time together as a band, practising, touring and recording, but do you always get on well off-stage or are there ever disagreements and moments when you can’t stand the sight of one another?
Of course there are, I call each and every single one of them my brother because they are and families always fall out at some point you know, but whenever it happens it’s always for the right reasons, because each member is so passionate about this band and you need that passion to convince yourself to keep driving forward. You’ve got to work to earn a living and then do this as well, it is a hard thing to do, to keep everyone convinced that they’re making the right decision, but I thank the boys each and every day for just sticking with it and for enabling me to live my dream, because without any one of them I wouldn’t be able to do it and we’re all in that situation.
Did you all know each other growing up?
No, the two guitar players, Seeks and Rob, went to school together and then they found Bailey our bass player and George the drummer and then I completed the puzzle really, I joined in later in the game - I was the missing piece!
Do you have any pre-show rituals, anything you do before you go on stage? And what’s on your rider?
Well, what’s on our rider and what we get are two very different things! Pre-show rituals, not really, just the usual stuff, we’re all fairly dull to be honest. I’ll do some vocal warm-ups to get my throat in the right place. We might sing a bit of a song together to try and get our voices in tune with one another, but other than that not really, there’s no sort of ‘turn around three times and scratch your belly’ or anything like that! In terms of a rider, again we’re fairly bland, it’s just beers and waters really. We don’t usually ask for much… there’s no wheel of blue cheese or five thousand brown M&Ms just yet!
You’re on tour throughout October and November, what’s next for Bad Touch and what are your plans for next year?
This tour is pretty much the end of our 2018. We’ve been really, really practising, picking ourselves to pieces and rebuilding them to get ourselves ready for the Shake A Leg Tour with Aaron Buchanan and Daxx & Roxane. They’re two great bands and they’re really going to pile the pressure on us to deliver a good show. Next year we’re looking to go to Europe and America and we want to see how far we can push this gravy train!
Have you got any festivals in the pipeline for 2019?
We’ve got a couple lined up but we’re still booking as we go. We’re hoping to hit all the big festivals next year as and when we can.
Where would you like to be in five years time? Where would you be playing and who would be supporting you at your dream gig?
I’d like to have my own lad-pad and move out of my parents’ house, that’d be a nice thing! I love my parents dearly but I‘d like to have my own space. As regards my dream gig and who’d be supporting us, we don’t have anyone in particular in mind – we love bands such as Black Stone Cherry and Blackberry Smoke, but we just want to make friends with everyone and keep making good music. At our dream gig I’d like to think we’d get to play somewhere like The Albert Hall, that would be an amazing space to play in. Very few people are gifted enough to be able to go in there.
What are you listening to at the moment?
On my playlist at work I’ve got all sorts of stuff. I’m a big fan of The Temperance Movement at the minute and Rival Sons, they’re huge influences on Bad Touch, and obviously Black Stone Cherry.
What do you all listen to when you’re on the tour bus together on the way to shows?
We’ve got a lot of CDs by different British bands that we listen to, to critique and evaluate and see what we could do to be like them or what we don’t like about them, that we don’t want to do and we’ve got lots of demos from bands. One CD we’ve got in the van at the minute is ‘God & Guns’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd, which is a great album. There might be something we’ve heard on YouTube - we’ve got a little Bluetooth speaker in there and we’ll say “Guys, you’ve got to hear this!” and we’ll talk about it. Our passion is music and we just love listening to everything really.
Is your Manchester show on 31st October going to include any spooky Halloween surprises?
I’ll be honest, we haven’t really thought about it yet! I’m sure we’ll probably do something. We’ve got so many things going round our heads at the minute with trying to get this tour ready, that we haven’t really thought about Halloween just yet, but as I say, I’m sure we’ll do something special.
‘Shake A Leg’ will be unleashed on Friday 5th October 2018 via Marshall Records.
Bad Touch are:
Stevie Westwood - Vocals
Rob Glendinning - Guitar
Daniel 'Seeks' Seekings – Guitar
Michael Bailey (Bass)
George Drewry (Drums)
17th Oct Newcastle University Students Union, Newcastle Upon Tyne
18th Oct Cathouse Nightclub, Glasgow
19th Oct The Ironworks, Inverness
20th Oct Bannerman’s Bar (and The Underworld), Edinburgh
27th Oct Ragnar Rock EVI, Ebbw Vale
31st Oct Manchester Academy 3, Manchester
1st Nov The Flowerpot, Derby
2nd Nov The Welly 2, Hull
3rd Nov Corporation, Sheffield,
5th Nov The Wardrobe, Leeds
6th Nov ARC, Stockton-on-Tees
8th Nov Eleven, Stoke-on-Trent
9th Nov The Waterfront, Norwich
10th Nov ULU Live at Student Central, London
15th Nov 1865, Southampton
16th Nov The Cobblestones, Bridgwater
17th Nov Livewire Youth Music, Saltash
Special guests at all the shows will be Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics and Daxx & Roxane.
Visit www.badtouchrocks.co.uk for ticket details.