Every once in a while a new band comes along that kinda knocks you on your feet….for me one recent example is the Chicago based rockers ‘Bad City’ who have delivered a killer debut album titled ‘Welcome To The Wasteland’. Chock full of anthemic supercharged rock songs, the band have put in a blender the likes of Queen, Cheap Trick, The Smashing Pumpkins, 80’s hard rock and a healthy dose of power pop and the result is one of the years best releases!
Taking their band name from their experiences writing and recording the album in a danger filled area of Chicago, ‘Bad City’ have drawn upon this to further develop the concept that underlies their debut album. Having already toured with the likes of The SMashing Pumpkins, Hinder and Slash, they also have KISS frontman Paul Stanley endorsing the band after hearing the bands track ‘Call Paul Stanley’ prompted him to say ‘an absolute knockout and the best album I’ve heard in ages’.
Tracking down lead singer Josh Caddy in California during a few weeks break, we now introduce to you one of the best things you’ve never heard…..
Hey Josh, thanks for taking the time to chat with May The Rock Be With You! Your new album “Welcome To The Wasteland” has been out for a few months now, are you guys out on tour right now?
We’ve had the past couple of weeks off. We’ve had the last four months of solid touring and we are now wrapping up a publishing deal we have going on and working out our touring plans for next year. So for me personally right now it’s been a quiet time hanging out with the family back in California.
Are you originally from California?
Yeah I am originally from Temecula, California. The band is based in Chicago, but when I go “home” that’s back here to California.
You guys have had some big tours supporting The Smashing Pumpkins and Hinder recently, how were those experiences?
We first toured with the Pumpkins and that was our first tour as a band and a huge learning experience, every show taught us something different. Before, during and after the show we were all learning how to be ‘Bad City’ on tour everyday. It was a really, really beneficial experience for us. Then when went on tour with Hinder we were a little bit more prepared, but we were not prepared for how crazy Hinder is as a band. Those guys are insane, they still live the whole rockstar lifestyle you know. The classic Motley Crue on the road kind of lifestyle. We learned a lot from them too, mainly in the sense of what not to do and knowing the limits of how much fun you can have haha!
So tell us how the response has been so far to your killer album “Welcome To The Wasteland”?
Well from everybody that has reviewed it, we have had great reviews. Everybody really seems to be enjoying it. I have no idea how much it’s selling, other than what we sell at shows out in the road. The label hasn’t really yet marketed it that much and its not even out really widely available yet in stores. Even in Chicago where we are from, half the Best Buys don’t even have it. We were kinda bummed out that its not widely available instores, but it’s understandable given we are a brand, brand new band with very little following before we started touring and before we announced ourselves as ‘Bad City’. We can’t really complain though too much, we are getting decent exposure from the tours, which has been the best part so far… landing these tours with such amazing bands.
‘Welcome to the Wasteland’ what is the concept behind the album title?
Actually the whole concept from the band name Bad City through to the album title ‘Welcome To The Wasteland’ and all the songs are a complete concept. Honestly, how the band got it’s name was when we were in Chicago and where we were living whilst we wrote the record and recorded and band practice etc. We were living in the worst part of the city. There were several gangs, we sure didn’t want to go out at night and we would all drive together in the one car. We were chased one night by this van full of gang members. It was for no reason, they just obviously thought, here is a car full of guys we dont recognise, maybe it’s a rival gang and then they chased us for about 15 minutes! We were going like 60miles per hour through residential neighbourhoods trying to escape these guys. It was terrible…. Anyways, Bad City, that’s where that came from. ‘Welcome To The Wasteland’, that’s just kinda like welcome to bad city… We visualise bad city to be not just like a regular city such as Chicago, but more a city like Gotham is for Batman. It’s a made up city, but our city for bad city is post apocalyptic, where everybody is living on the streets, nuclear warfare has gone off and the place is all blown to bits. That’s what welcome to the wasteland is… Then ‘Showdown In Central Park’, that’s what the intro is, a guy waking through the sewers with sirens going off.
You guys also have a pretty strong visual concept that seems to fit that ‘concept’….
We’ve been trying to accomplish as much as we can with as little as we can. The video we did for ‘Wildlife’, we just did that on our own dime, with our buddies. That was even before the record came out. The photos and everything, eventually we will have the resources to fully conceptualise the way we want to. Right now we are doing it with what we got.
Can you share with us the songwriting process for the album, who are the main writers?
For this record it was a strange deal actually because the bass player Jake and drummer Kevin have always played with the other two guys Tom and Max, but Jake had an internship at a bass factory and Kevin lived about 6 hours away from Chicago so all the songs were pretty much written by Tom and Max, the two guitar players. Both of those guys are incredible musicians and that’s why we have such a fantastic record! Once they had everything together, they all went into the studio and Kevin and Jake had the opportunity to do their own parts, but the songs were still written by Tom and Max. Tom and Max also had written about 85% of the lyrics and THEN I joined the band. I didn’t even have a chance to write at all. I came into the studio, learnt all the songs and started tracking vocals. There were a few songs that we had to rewrite lyrically which I contributed to after Johnny K our producer came down and said hey we need to rewrite these lyrics. So I got to be a part of that.
It sounds like you will be eagerly awaiting to be involved in the songwriting process for the next batch of songs?
Yes absolutely, I cannot way to start that. Actually Max, Tom and I have started writing already for record number 2 and it’s awesome as we all now get to work with each other. It’s very cool and exciting!
Tell us a bit about the song “Call Paul Stanley?” afterall that’s the reason we are here chatting being the song that introduced me to Bad City!
That song musically and lyrically was pretty solid when I came into the band. It’s not a song about Paul Stanley specifically, it’s about an aspiring musician/rockstar who while he is making his journey to the top stumbles upon Paul Stanley’s telephone number and calls him in the middle of the night after a shitty show to ask advice. When the guys first come up with that lyric, it was just a joke. Max truly, truly worships Kiss. Like one day we just sat in the van and quizzed him about Kiss. We had the ITunes up and Kiss discography and we were like Max give us all the albums in chronological order, he knows every album and every song, it’s kind of ridiculous! But back to the song, we were worried at first because people thought we specifically set out to write a song about Paul Stanley, so hopefully he likes our band haha! Right before the record was done we were trying to find another song title, but we were like we just have to keep it ‘Call Paul Stanley’.
And Paul Stanley has heard the song I believe?
Yes he has. I am not sure whether he came across it or whether it was the Kiss army and posted it somewhere. But eventually it got to him and he personally emailed us and we were all like whoooo… We talked to him back and forth for a little while and eventually he invited us to one of their shows. He got us backstage, had front row seats and after the show the guys came to talk to us for like an hour or so. Paul was giving us advice and telling us what he liked about our band…we were just freaking out the whole time haha!
Who influences you as a singer Josh?
You know, when I first joined this band I had no idea how I was going to sound the way this band needed me to sound. I kinda went into the studio and was making it all up and letting all the lyrics come out and put in the best performances possible without really taking many influences from anyone. But as I was going through the recording and now after the record I have been working in my voice, especially given we have been doing lots of touring, I have really been drawing influences from Freddie mercury, Sebastian Bach and Steve Tyler. Those three are my definite tops, where backstage or even in the van I will be singing Queen and Aerosmith songs and try to nail some of their ‘shining moments’. Not so that I can copy them, but to learn more about my voice. I can honestly say that for the next record, I have learnt a whole lot more about what my voice can do and things I want to achieve on the next CD…..
For those unfamiliar with the sound of Bad City, what song do you think represents the band best?
Well it’s a toss up between ‘Showdown In Central Park’ and ‘Straight To The Grave’. I feel those two songs showcase all the different elements of Bad City from the heavy hits to the big chorus and the massive gang vocals too. Then on the other side, ‘Call Paul Stanley’ shows our softer sound, which leads you into songs like ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Fire In The Pouring Rain’.
Thanks for chatting Josh, hope we see you out here in Australia one day!
That would be awesome if one day that happened, thanks Scott!
Band Members: Josh Caddy – Vocals, Max Perenchio – Guitars, Jake Serek – Bass, Tom Schleiter – Guitars, Kevin Kane – Drums
Latest Release: Welcome To The Wasteland