Photo by Kat JetsonIt's no easy task getting all the members of a band in one room to sit down for an interview—especially if the band has six people in it. But we did manage to get three Bad Dudes inside our abode: timely synthmeister and ex-Friends in the Mountains bassist Marty Sataman; the agile, he-hopped-a-way-tall-gate-to-get-into-our-complex guitarist Daniel Gerchik; and drummer Ben No-Last-Name, who entered the easy way by simply letting Gerchik open the door for him.
Only problem with this evening being we effed-up, and our recorder barely picked up their amusing quotables (damn you, Radio Shack!). So, in a desperate measure to make it their story and not ours, we asked Bad Dudes if they wouldn't mind answering some Qs for us (again) via e-mail.
Seeing as they're at the beginning stages of their badness, we thought we should give you a bit of history. Four-sixths of Bad Dudes phoenixed from the ashes of the much-revered, much-compared-to-Devo Miracle Chosuke, although originally it was Gerchik, Daniel Haworth and lefty guitarist Brady Miller who convinced ex-Chosuke's Sataman and drummer-turned-singer Andrew Taylor to join the fray. Ben, answering the band's ad on craigslist.com, filled the newly-vacated seat behind the set of traps.
The sound of Bad Dudes is similar to Chosuke in that the music is danceable and catchy—spazz-tastic math rock with a million cosmic sounds darting to and from every direction, with nary a hint of verse/chorus/verse in sight. We still think Yes (they don't see it) sans the epic-ness. That's not to imply they don't have grandness up their sleeve.
"I just want to be in the greatest band in the history of the universe!," says Gerchick matter-of-factly. "I want to be playing stadiums, but we can't fill them until we have a record to back it up."
Speaking of stadiums, for the past two months, Bad Dudes' website has been touting a show at Wembley Stadium that mysteriously keeps getting pushed back. "I think maybe they're building a new wing to accommodate the fervor overseas," says Gerchik with a smile. Haworth adds, "It's kind of like that twenty million-dollar check Jim Carrey wrote himself, only not as shallow and materially based."
Thinking big is good, but even if Wembley doesn't pan out, Bad Dudes would be happy if their music was used as a soundtrack for a nature film on PBS or Nova, a skateboarding video, or one of those ESPN Classic shows about basketball. "Maybe Bad Dudes would work well with sports bloopers," jokes Sataman.
But getting back to Taylor for a moment, singer-by-way-of-drummer is no easy task. Then again, Taylor is no ordinary man. "I remember the first time I laid eyes on Andrew," begins Haworth. "I said, 'That dude is like Gary Cooper or maybe Alice Cooper. . . . He should be a singer.' He knows a lot about music, so it's easy for us to say things like, 'Do this one Clay Aiken-style' and have him nail it the first try."
Gerchik adds some sincerity: "I always thought Andrew had a really unique charisma about him, where it wasn't cloying or anything, and I was interested in having someone like that sing for our band."
Seemingly, the transition from Chosuke to Dude appears to be effortless. "I understood that bands broke up," says Gerchik, "and that's kind of the nature of the beast, but it was/is very important to me that every project we do is unquestionably better than the last one. A part of me missed playing those old songs, and I was afraid that maybe I'd never be in the position to make records, tour and have people be enthusiastic about my band like they were for Chosuke. It took some time to look past that, but I realize that those misgivings were mostly motivated by fear, and any decision that comes from fear is usually a bad one in my experience."
Wise beyond their young years, Bad Dudes have heart to boot, whether it's the feeling of accomplishment Sataman gets when he discovers a harmony that sounds just right or Gerchik's goal for greatness. "For someone like me, who lives at the intersection of grandiose ambition and marginal talent, music is a pretty frustrating endeavor. I always say that for every transcendent moment there's a hundred hours of tedium and all kinds of other ugliness. Honestly, I'm totally desperate to write and play great songs, but I'm usually mystified how to do it."
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One last thing . . . We gotta ask: Why Bad Dudes and not The Bad Dudes?
"It would be outrageously simple-minded and arrogant to assume we are the only Bad Dudes on the planet," says newly recruited bassist Haworth. "Hence, Bad Dudes."
Gerchik elaborates: "The Bad Dudes just sounds dorky. Bad Dudes sounds . . . bad!"
Bad Dudes perform with An Albatross and Big Muscles at Koo's, 540 E Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 491-7584. Tues., 7 p.m. $7. All ages.