Bad Touch

After the release of their fourth studio album, Grande Rock took the chance and had a very honest chat with singer Stevie Westwood about the new album, the band, their influences and other interesting music stories in general. Read more below…
Bad Touch band pic
Hi Stevie, I’m glad to have you on Grande Rock. “Kiss the Sky” is a wonderful album on the whole! Kudos!
S: Thank you very much, it’s been a lot of work but as a team we’re super proud of what we’ve achieved.
What did you change in the way you approach the songwriting this time?
S: We have taken a lot more time, effort, sweat and tears when it came to this album from the get-go. Our attitude to songwriting was a lot more critical. If a song wasn’t cutting the mustard, we either changed it until it did, or we binned it and moved on. No compromises. As a unit we are so proud of what we’ve created. It’s 110% Bad Touch, and it has taken everything, that each member had to give, to create. It’s been a hard fought album, we’ve come the closest we ever have to killing each other, but the end product is beyond what we could have hoped for.
Can you say that you are deeply influenced by the 70s and 80s rock music in general?
S: Oh hell yeah! We draw a lot from that era, but we hope to remain contemporary. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd are huge influences, but we also love bands like Blackberry Smoke, Black Stone Cherry, The Temperance Movement and Rival Sons, who are very much here-and-now, and that’s where we want to be.
What does the album title “Kiss the Sky” declare?
S: It’s our battle cry. This is album number four and we’re not messing around. Our never ending mission to give you the night you’ll never forget; a break away from the monotony and tyranny of life, and to leave anybody who is awesome enough to come to a gig smiling from ear to ear. That’s our mantra. This album is 110% just that, this is a dancing round your bedroom, annoying your neighbours album; that we hope people will love any bit as much as we do.
You stated that this is your most exciting recording to date… why’s that?
S: This album has been the hardest one to write so far, for all the right reasons. We’ve put so much into this as individuals and collectively as a unit, and we’re super proud with the end result. It’s fun, it’s loud, it’s in-your-face, it’s everything that Bad Touch have always been, plus so much more.
Do give us a hint about each track…
S: “Come a Little Closer”: It’s an instant guitar riff. That’s how you start a Bad Touch song. It’s possibly one of the more energetic, slightly frantic songs on the new album. It’s a homage to our bluesy roots. It’s non-stop fun from start to finish.
“I Get High”: Mum – it’s not what you think! Gratuitous love song incoming! It’s about that feeling we’ve all had at some point, being completely smitten by a lover and wanting to spend the rest of your life with that special person. And with a couple of Bad Touch members with rings on their fingers, it seems quite fitting to have a song like this on the new album.
“Let Go”: This song’s all about the groove. It’s chilled-out but still in your face. It was one of the first songs we wrote and sets out the overall vibe and feel for the album. We wanted this album to be full of huge choruses that you can shout along to. It’s also one of the only songs that we’ve played live before we recorded the album. Audiences were singing along by the end, so that makes it a winner in our book.
“Strut”: This is the first single taken from the new album. It sums up what we want from you at our live shows. “We wanna see you strut. Wanna see you get down!”. It’s got a huge harmony in the chorus as a nod to our Southern gospel influences. Again, I know I keep saying it’s one of my favourite songs, but that’s because they all are! This album is the best that Bad Touch have recorded, and never have we been more fired-up about performing the new songs live for our fans.
“I Got the Music in Me”: That’s right we’ve got a cover on our album. What? It’s a banger! We took what Kiki Dee was going for, and we amped it up, threw it in the dirt and gave it a whole lot more sex. I challenge anyone to listen to our version of this great song and not be smiling from ear to ear. They’ll be screaming the chorus to the heavens by the end!
“Can You Save Me?”: This is one of those songs that hits hard in more ways than just relying on a big guitar sound. it’s about feeling unfulfilled, underwhelmed and genuinely disappointed in yourself. What could I have done different? Why am I like this? Listen to the lyrics and you’ll understand. It does feature a killer harmony by our voice-from-the-back, from our drummer, George.
“Kiss the Sky”: This song is big. It’s in your face It’s got groove It’s everything we wanted this album to be. That’s why we named her after it! “Kiss the Sky” is a party song (and a party album for that matter!) There’s no messing around. “You want it, you got it! I wanna see you move ‘til you can’t no more!”…
“See You Again”: This is one of the more poignant songs on the new album. It’s a from-the-heart ballad, about the loss of a friend to all the band, but a father to one member of the band. It was one of the harder songs to write as it was so personal, and it sucks to see your mate struggle. It very nearly never made it on the album. It was our producer, Nick Brine, that said, “Boys, it’s gotta be on the album” and I, for one, am glad we pushed on. This one’s for you Joe.
“Before I Die”: The initial idea for this song came about whilst messing around with a loop pedal. It’s got a different vibe to the usual Bad Touch thing and is one of my personal favourites on the new album. It was inspired by tracks like the Temperance Movement’s “Oh Lorraine” and Whitesnake’s “Ready An’ Willing”. We went for a funkier, gnarlier sound with biting lyrics and heavy groove.
“Read all About It”: The song features an awesome bit of guitar-work by our resident face-melter, Rob Glendinning. This track has a lot of groove and emotion. It’s about breaking free from something toxic that’s controlled your life, whether that be substances or a bad relationship. The message is, “If you have enough support and enough love, you’ll come out the other side”. We all make mistakes people, but you’ll always find a friend in us.
“Too Much of a Good Thing”: I hope you’re ready to sing the chorus... ‘coz you will! This is another upbeat Bad Touch song. It’s not going to redefine rock and roll, but I think the overall sentiment is there. It’s 2 minutes and 47 seconds of non-stop feel-good music.
“Sun and the Moon”: As a band, this one’s probably our favourite song to play. Influenced by our brothers in Magpie Salute and The Black Crowes, it touches on what it’s like being a young(ish) person today. It’s calling everyone to look upon our world and pull together. Bad Touch don’t do political stances, but we do believe that as people, if we stand together, we can achieve anything we want to.
“Something About Your Kiss” (bonus track): This is a real step outside of Bad Touch’s comfort zone. With the help of the man with the magic fingers, our producer, Nick “Brino” Brine, I think we’ve created something special. Influenced by songs like “Seagull” by Bad Company, this song has a real spooky, folk, Fleetwood Mac vibe. We love it. Get ready for a big guitar solo… that’s all I’m saying!
The album was recorded, produced and mixed by Nick Brine at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales, and it was mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London. How did you come up with the decision to do so? Were you looking for a more organic sound at large?
S: We’ve always wanted to record at Rockfield, its musical gravitas is so prolific, and we were super chuffed to finally be a part of its musical history. It really did kick us up a notch as musicians, and just felt so right. Plus we got to sit at Freddie’s piano, the one he wrote “Bohemian Rhapsody” on, and it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Every member of the Rockfield team were brilliant, and special mention to our producer, (who later became our friend), Nick “Brino” Brine... He deserves a serious pat on the back. Through many tireless hours, he’s managed to capture and refine that raw energy that we’ve always had, but always struggled to get down on recordings up until “Kiss the Sky,” so to him we owe tremendous thanks.
Which are the bands/artists that have influenced you the most so far?
S: We’re such a mixed bag, and we each individually bring something different to the Bad Touch table. But bands that influence the band as a whole include, Rival Sons, Blackberry Smoke, Led Zeppelin, Black Stone Cherry, The Temperance Movement, Black Crowes to name just a few.
Since there was a tour cancelation due to covid-19, you managed to reschedule the tour for Spring 2021, right? You also have some dates in November & December 2020. Do you feel that things will be totally fine till then? I see that all the bands really wanna go on tour. Do you feel the same way too?
S: That’s right! How are we to say? No one can see into the future, we’re just hoping to get back on the road as soon as is safe to do so. Anyone who knows Bad Touch, knows that we live to be on the road and we’re all feeling it by now. But we know that it’s necessary to keep everyone safe. We’re just biding our time, honing our craft and making sure that we can bounce back, badder and more electric than ever!
What are your expectations from “Kiss the Sky” and what do you wish to achieve with Bad Touch over the next years?
S: We expected nothing and hope for everything. This album is the world to us, and we just want to keep going from strength to strength as a team, playing bigger and better shows
Now with the “lockdown” around the world which is the best way for the fans to support their beloved bands?
S: There’s lots of ways to keep involved, as a band we’ve been doing a lot more social media; things like live-streams and online gigs have become super popular. So we’re not that hard to find if you need us. Until we meet again we just hope that you enjoy “Kiss the Sky”.
What do you think about this corona-virus thing? How will it affect the music business and people’s lives in general?
S: Oh wow, how do I answer that?! Of course it’s going to have a negative effect for some time to come, it’s decimated the live-music scene, as well as many parts of our lives. But we believe in the strength and resilience of people, especially music-lovers, and whilst it may suck for a while, we have no doubt that someday, hopefully not too far away, we’ll be back to full strength.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Bad Touch initially?
S: That’s an enigma even to us! If I said we can’t remember where the name originated, would you believe me? Or perhaps we change the story every time... who knows?!
Which is the first album that you ever bought and do you still own it to date?
S: I can’t speak for all the boys, so I can only speak personally... and neither can I lie. If you’re expecting something cool like “Led Zep One” or “Appetite for Destruction”, you will be gravely disappointed. The first album I personally bought, was when I must have been seven or eight, and it was none other than the awesome “Big Willie Style” by Will Smith..
Top TV series for someone to watch during the “lockdown” and not only?
S: To be honest I don’t have Netflix and watch very little television so I’m afraid I can’t give a helpful answer... I like to play my guitar instead.
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
S: As a band we try not and get caught up in what we dislike. Fact is, if we want to move forward as a unit, we have to be a part of the music industry, warts and all. We just make a point of trying to be “nice guys” and treat everybody we meet as we would wish to be treated.
What do you think about the “downloading & streaming issue” of our time? Do you prefer the streaming services better or not?
S: Streaming is necessary. It’s not the 1980’s anymore, and we have to move with the times. Yes, we like to get paid more than £0.0035 per stream (that’s the actual amount,) but more than the money (or lack thereof) we want people to hear our music and dig our sound. We just hope that if the crazy world of ‘suggested artists’ brings you to our door, that you’ll treat yourself to a copy of our album and help keep this wheel spinning.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
S: Rockstar: That a Nickelback song...
AOR: Adult Oriented Rock... To this day I don’t understand this genre... no kids allowed?? Just googled it and also accepted is “Album Oriented Rock” which is just as confusing...
Eurovision: Rubbish...
Music Realities: Genuinely no idea...
Fill in the phrase… “Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
S: Kids growing up and wanting to play on a stage and make their mark on the world...
Which are the best 3 Rock albums of all time according to you?
S: Wow tough question! Again I’m trying speak for the whole band, which is difficult, so I’ll go for my personal choice. In no particular order, three of my favourite albums include: “Led Zeppelin II”, “By Your Side” by The Black Crowes, and The Temperance Movement’s self-titled album. All of which have had a huge influence on Bad Touch as a band.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
S: I’m part of a band where I can write the music I want to write with four of the best friends I could ask for. I genuinely wouldn’t have it any other way. Bad Touch or bust.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
S: As a singer it’s so difficult, as I pull so much inspiration from so many singers, male and female, from across the whole board. If we’re sticking to the rock genre, Paul Rogers (Free & Bad Co.) has always been up there as a top influence. And from the other side, she’s definitely more soul, but there’s a rock chick in their too for sure, the legend, Tina Turner.
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock music the most?
S: Rock music is such a wide and colourful spectrum, that it’s constantly being swirled and influenced by so many factors almost day to day. Not to mention it also stretches back a long way through time. To find one point of ignition is impossible. The Rolling Stones were a huge thing, but can they be credited for being the biggest influence on rock music? It really is impossible to answer.
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
S: Again, we as a band draw so much from so many genres and artists, living and dead, that this is really tough. For me I’d love to work with one of the amazingly talented vintage soul singers, someone like Nina Simone, Etta James or Gladys Knight.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
S: I’m a sucker for a good riff, so something like “Out on the Tiles” by Led Zeppelin always gets me.
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
S: I like to think that as a band we are a group of modern forward-thinking musicians. The idea of ‘sexiness’ is something we try to avoid in our professional lives. We’re all just here to make some loud feel-good music, whatever your gender.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
S: Crikey. I’d probably throw them something really curveball like Zappa or something and see what they did with it!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
S: I’d love to see what happens to music 100 years from now. So much as changed for music in such a short space of time, I want to see how far the rabbit hole goes.
That’s all for now Stevie. Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock. Wish you the best for the future to come. Take care dude!
S: Thanks for your support, we hope you dig our new album “Kiss the Sky”! See on the road someday. Peace…
PS: Bad Touch’s new album “Kiss the Sky” is out now via Marshall Records and is available here.