BADFLOWER: ASKING FOR A FRIEND

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BADFLOWER: ASKING FOR A FRIEND

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  • Rocket 95.1 Presents

Rocket 95.1 Presents Badflower w/Des Rocs & Blood Red Shoes at Mars Music Hall on March 29th!

When and where

Date and time

Location

Mars Music Hall 700 Monroe St. Huntsville, AL 35801

Map and directions

How to get there

Performers

Headliners

  • Badflower

More Performers

  • Des Rocs
  • Blood Red Shoes

Refund Policy

No Refunds

About this event

BADFLOWER

Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | TikTok | Spotify | Amazon Music | Apple Music | Pandora

Badflower don’t care what you think about them. They don’t care whether you get what they’re doing, because their thoroughly modern rock is more ahead of the curve than anyone else you might try and pigeonhole them with. And they really don’t care whether you like the messages in their songs, because what they sing about is important, if uncomfortable.

That attitude might seem misguided for a band who have yet to release their debut album. In this age where music’s money comes largely from touring, fans are more important than ever - they’re the ones who buy the tickets to shows and ultimately give artists the opportunity to keep playing and progressing. But the LA four-piece aren’t complete beginners - since forming in 2013, frontman Josh Katz, guitarist Joey Morrow, drummer Anthony Sonetti, and bassist Alex Espiritu have toured relentlessly across the US and beyond, building up a reputation as a formidable live force as well as an ever-growing mass of loyal followers and praise from the likes of Billboard, Forbes, and Consequence Of Sound.

Though the band credit their years of gigging with giving them the life experience to write their debut album, ‘OK, I’M SICK’, it’s also had its downsides, especially for Katz. The singer and guitarist suffers from anxiety and panic disorder - something that he’s had to learn how to cope with on the road. “I once ran off stage mid-song and just had to take a beat and was very confused,” he says, offering an example of how the problem can affect him. “I wasn’t sure if I should be throwing up or sitting down. Typically, it’s just clenching every muscle in my body until it hopefully goes away. I can barely stand up, barely get notes out. It’s all of these feelings at once.”

It’s that problem that inspired ‘Ghost’, the band’s big breakthrough single. After coming home from tour, Katz was so fed up with what he had to go through to get on stage every night, he was in two minds whether to carry on with music. “If I’m miserable every night, why am I doing it?” he asked himself. It was that song, which reached the top of the US charts, that saved Badflower.

Despite its success, the group was initially sceptical about it being more than an album track. In its often graphic lyrics, Katz plays out a dark, suicidal fantasy - “This life is overwhelming and I’m ready for the next one,” he sighs resignedly at one point. They worried listeners would think they were glorifying suicide, cynically using a very real and serious problem for their own gain. “But people got it immediately and we realised how many people are affected by depression, panic disorder, and anxiety issues,” Katz explains. “You hear about it all the time, you see it on every commercial - there’s some anti-depressant being sold to you because everybody has these issues - but people don’t like to talk about it that much.”While ‘Ghost’ is a somewhat harrowing take on mental health issues, not all of ‘OK, I’M SICK’ is as serious. Opener ‘x ANA x’ (inspired in part by Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre documentary The Defiant Ones) tackles a similar topic but with a far more sardonic tone. An ode to the helpful qualities of Xanax, it’s eyebrow-raising, incredibly self-aware and rife with meta moments (in one breakdown Katz cheerily asks: “Hey, wanna see what happens when I mix Xanax, blow, and a MacBook Pro?”). Along with the constantly changing music - be it speeding up, stuttering almost to the brink of collapse, or weaving even more claustrophobic layers together - it adds up to something completely manic. “The whole song is meant to feel like a panic attack - unexplained chaos happening within you,” Katz says. “We wrote that song together and then I took what we had to our house in the desert and stayed awake all night and, like a mad scientist, destroyed everything and chopped it up. I didn’t feel like it was manic enough. It’s making fun of anxiety but it’s also making fun of itself.”

As a band with plenty to say, mental health isn’t the only message Badflower share on their debut. ‘Murder Games’ is the album’s most intense and urgent sounding cut, metallic, guillotine-esque swishes entwined with a punishing guitar line that sets you on edge. Its lyrics speak about veganism (Katz has been vegan for four years) in uncompromising terms. “That’s gonna alienate our band like crazy,” the frontman shrugs, unbothered. “We think it’s something important that needs to be talked about so we’re gonna talk about it. It’s about getting the conversation started. It’s about getting people to look at it in a different way and not be so passive about the idea that something in society that you grew up hearing was right might not be as right as you think.”

‘Die’ also has the potential to cause controversy. Partly a damning assessment of Trump’s position on the environment (Morrow is keen to point out the President is not the only target of the song), it features Katz screaming the title as if his own life depends on it. But his sentiment is not what you might immediately assume. “It doesn’t mean, ‘Hey, go get murdered’ or ‘I’m gonna kill you’,” he clarifies. “It’s more all of those people who are so stuck in their ways, who are afraid of change and afraid of evolution, need to get old and die off so the next generation can come up and make some change and do something good.” Despite first appearances, it’s intended as a statement of progression. “We’re meant to move forward, not stagnate,” Espiritu notes.Elsewhere, the album navigates subjects like abuse (‘Daddy’), depression in the face of success (’24’), and social media stalking (‘Girlfriend’). The latter merges old and new, layering lyrics about Instagram filters and the internet over a big blues-rock jam. “We’ve always wanted to write about that anyway,” says Katz, “and it was the perfect, wacky blues riff to write that over. I think we came up with something very special.”

Badflower’s focus might be on big conversations but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy to turn their attention to less weighty subjects too. ‘Promise Me’ is the only traditional love song on the record but not even it can escape the band’s entrenched darkness. “That’s my proudest moment on the album,” Espiritu says. “We talk about doing what we want and what the spirit of rock and roll is, and then we have ‘Promise Me’, which is this leftfield, beautiful, romantic love song, and we’re able to spin it and make it our own.” The making it their own, Katz explains, involves one of the song’s characters meeting their maker.

Produced with Noah Shain (Atreyu, Dead Sara), ‘OK, I’M SICK’ represents a band full of ideas and submerged in the most modern of sounds. The band’s intention was to make the most 2018 album they possibly could, unfazed by the idea it could sound dated a few years down the line. “Timeless music is amazing but everybody’s trying so hard to make timeless music that they’re making vague, cookie-cutter shit,” Katz says. “It sounds like everything else and I don’t think there’s really many rock bands who are trying to write anything current. We wanted to make something for this generation.”

You might have realised by now this band isn’t one to limit themselves. “We don’t even consider ourselves a rock band,” Katz says defiantly. “If we decide to put out a rap album next week, we’re gonna do it. Watch us. We don’t fucking care. We do what we want. Rock and roll used to be about that spirit and that got lost somewhere.” You can count on Badflower to put it right back in the heart of things, whether anyone else likes it or not.

Photo credit: Jordan Wolfbauer

BADFLOWER: ASKING FOR A FRIEND image

DES ROCS

Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok | Spotify | Amazon Music | Apple Music | Soundcloud | Pandora

DES ROCS

“I’m here to drag rock and roll into the 21st century kicking and screaming if I have to.” says Des Rocs. “It’s what I was put on this Earth to do.”

If that sounds ambitious for a skinny misfit from New York, consider the following: in the three years since Des Rocs first began releasing songs from his New York City bedroom, he’s racked up more than 150 million streams, cracked the Top 30 at Alternative Radio, and even opened for the Rolling Stones. Now, he’s ready to once again elevate and evolve with the release of his pulse-pounding, genre-bending, full-length debut, A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place, out September 24, 2021, via 300 Entertainment (Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug, Highly Suspect).

“This album is a journey in every sense of the word,” Des explains. “It’s a journey through the rabbit holes lining the roads of our escapist fantasies, a journey into the abyss between dreams and reality, a journey filled with resilience, madness, inner demons, and personal growth.”

Self-recorded, A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place demonstrates that Des Rocs is in a league of his own. The album is bold and intoxicating, drawing on rock and roll, punk, and electronic music to forge a “bedroom arena rock” sound that’s at once deeply intimate and profoundly expansive.

“It’s a kind of uniquely American prayer.'' says Des. “It’s the ultimate expression of who I am as an artist.”

While the songs here are steeped in struggle and uncertainty, Des’ performances are anything but, exuding a kind of raw confidence and defiant magnetism that hints at everything from Freddie Mercury to Elvis Presley. The result is a record as addictive as it is unpredictable, a wild, cathartic work of liberation and escapism that thrives on breaking the rules and subverting expectations at every turn.

“Rock and roll is about individuality, about uncompromising authenticity,” Des reflects. “It’s about following your instincts and making something that’s uniquely and unapologetically you.”

Born Danny Rocco in New York, Des fell in love with music at an early age, but it was the violin, not the guitar, that first captured his imagination. That all changed in middle school, though, when a friend brought him to see his first punk rock show.

“I lost my fucking mind,” Des laughs. “It opened my eyes to this whole world that I never knew existed, and the very next day, I started my first band.”

Thus began a lifetime of hustling and dreaming and grinding it out one sweaty, ecstatic show at a time. While he was still in high school, Des would take the train into the city to play whatever dive bars and dingy clubs would have him (since they were underage, he and his bandmates would often have to leave immediately after playing). On nights that he wasn’t performing, Des would go downtown to catch punk and hardcore bands at clubs like Irving Plaza and the Mercury Lounge and lose himself in the riotous energy.

“I’m a fourth generation New Yorker on both sides of my family,” says Des, who prides himself on his encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s best pizza and vintage shops. “My grandfather was a milkman in Queens. This city’s in my blood, and growing up, I just wanted to live and breathe it every day.”

With stints in various groups as a guitarist and songwriter, he shared bills with the likes of Weezer, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At The Disco before creating Des Rocs in 2018. Starting over from scratch, Des threw himself into his music 24/7 as a solo artist, writing every day on the subway and recording every night out of a small New York City apartment. The setup was spartan—jerry-rigged power, an old digital audio interface bought off Craigslist for $60, guitars plugged directly in without amps—and that’s just the way he liked it.

“A lot of the recording techniques I used would make a real engineer want to vomit,” Des explains, “but I just follow what sounds good. I don’t care what year a guitar is from or how expensive the mixing board is. Me & my homie from high school, Gerry, are doing it ourselves. We just go with ears and guts.”

In 2018, Des released his first EP, Let The Vultures In, to an immediate and rapturous response, with opening track “Let Me Live / Let Me Die” amassing more than 50 million streams on Spotify alone. A year later, Des was onstage at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia opening for the Rolling Stones in front of an audience of 80,000.

“Getting to play with the Stones was one of the most validating experiences of my entire life,” says Des. “But at the same time, the minute I got offstage I was already working out in my head what it was going to take to be the one headlining the stadium next time.”

That same inexorable ambition fueled Des’s two subsequent EPs—2019’s Martyr Parade and 2020’s This Is Our Life, which helped land him dates with Muse, Grandson, The Struts, and The Glorious Sons, among others. His previous EPs serve as the lifeblood of A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place, which consistently swings for the fences with larger than life arrangements and blistering, theatrical performances. Lead single “MMC” swerves from ferocious to playful and back again as it rails against all things fake and manufactured; the mesmerizing “Devil Inside” grapples with deep internal conflict atop a relentless digital beat and feverish guitar; and the driving “Hanging By A Thread” reaches out for connection and understanding in a moment of need. The industrial-leaning “Imaginary Friends,” meanwhile, wrestles with warring personality traits, and the high-octane “Liberation” cuts loose with complete and total abandon.

“When I’m onstage, I want it to feel big and glorious, but I also want to take people on a ride through the full spectrum of emotion,” says Des, who’s set to headline iconic rooms like the Troubadour and the Bowery Ballroom on his debut US headline tour this fall. “I want you to laugh. I want you to cry. I want you to fucking mosh. I want you to leave the show feeling like you’ve had a spiritual experience.”

Scratch beneath the surface on the album and you’ll find a level of introspection and maturity belied by the raucous nature of the music. The mesmerizing “Rabbit Hole,” for instance, showcases a more delicate, sensitive side of Des’ songwriting, while the moody “Manic Memories” explores depression and melancholia with great empathy, and the gutsy “Born To Lose” takes on doubt and insecurity through gritted teeth.

“At the end of the day, I just wanna push and push and push,” says Des. “I feel like the world is asleep right now, and I wanna wake it up.”

A Real Good Person In A Real Bad Place ultimately demonstrates that Des Rocs is driven, focused, inventive, and just getting started.

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