Maybe there’s some axiom about bands that cohabitat together stay together, and most times it’s of a feathery weight in worth, but for The Lovely Bad Things a comradery is at play that bleeds into their records. It’s not supposed to work out with that band you played in in high school. Ultimately, someone grows up, gets obsessed with prog and breaks up the pop-punk band. But this Orange County band kept it together, two of the members got a pad, and reserved plenty of crash space for their band mates.The LBTs call their home The Lovely Bad Pad. It’s where they practice, write, invite traveling bands to play and crash, and where the majority of their technically official debut was written.
After cutting their teeth with Burger Records, the LBTs got swooped by your little grom-bro’s favorite clothing brand turned label, Volcom Entertainment. Maybe it had something to do with the LA Weekly calling their cassette New Ghost/ Old Waves one of the best punk records in the city in 2011? Maybe it was some of the same tactics they employed when they limped into a slot on the Primavera Sound festival. Much like The Orwells, The Lovely Bad Things give off the vibe that the kids are alright and not ruined by the shameful path of pop-punk since the mid-90s. You wanna root for the LBTs because Black Francis really shoulda let Kim Deal take the reigns more and maybe this time a band can get it right.
The band took a democratic approach to recording The Late Great Whatever, which meant Star Wars references were encouraged – fugg it why not two? – songs based on impressions of pro wrestlers were a go, and influences are worn on ones sleeve, along with tattoos of TIE fighters.
So despite several tapes, EPs and a supposed debut in Shark Week, you guys are calling The Late Great Whatever your official debut. How does that work?
Lauren: We didn’t call it our official debut, we just kind of had to go along with it when everyone else was calling it that.
Camron: Some press articles just decided that’s what it was and it wasn’t really something we thought about to be honest.
Brayden: I suppose it makes sense since we haven’t really had too many releases. We had one 9-song tape that we self-released and our EP which was released on tape and vinyl. So it is technically our first full length that has been officially released.
Tim: It’s our first official full length with label-backing.
Do you see any negative consequences in all the Pixies talk surrounding your band? If ultimately, it’s about what new logic you bring to the conversation of rock n roll, what dividing lines do you see in Lovely Bad Things and the Pixies?
L: The most negative consequence of course would be that of our hearts breaking if the Pixies heard about us somehow and they thought we totally blew. We never made it a goal to sound like the Pixies. “Fried Eyes” has a noted Pixies influence that wasn’t intentional but it just happens when a band is such a huge part of your life. We all grew up listening to them. When it comes down to the “new logic” we bring, I would say that the biggest difference between us is the lack of creative control one person has in writing the music. We don’t really restrict the writing process in the way that it was controlled in the Pixies.
C: Yeah, we all write together and there is no one sound we want to make sure we conform to. Anyone can write a song in this band and as long as we all like it, it becomes a Lovely Bad Things song. Another negative consequence is the possibility of being pigeonholed. We don’t necessarily want people to expect the Pixies when they hear us because it’s one influence, it isn’t everything that we are.
T: Pixies are a great influence on us and it probably seeps through in the songwriting process. I do like to think we stand alone, but it’s great to get the comparison because we love that band so much.
The album has not one, but two references to Star Wars. Who’s the fanboy/girl and why wasn’t one reference enough?
B: All of us are.
L: It’s not that one reference wasn’t enough, it was more so the fact that a lot of the time we name songs after things that we were talking a lot about at the time or jokes we were making a lot. I guess we never really thought of it in terms of how many references we were making. The songs kind of just named themselves. “Darth Lauren” is called that because I had this long black sweater that apparently looks like a Sith robe and whenever I wore it they would all call me Darth Lauren.
C: We just really love Star Wars… you should see the inside of our van. There’s stickers and posters and drawings all over the place. Brayden just got a TIE fighter tattoo on his arm.
B: Anything that’s a big part of our life kind of makes it’s way into lyrics, song titles, album artwork, t-shirt designs… it kind of just happens. We don’t really try to control that stuff.
So why was Kessel Run a title and are there any good stories behind “Randall the Savage”?
B: We called that song “Kessel Run” because it is really fast and I had just put a sticker in the van that says “MY OTHER RIDE CAN DO THE KESSEL RUN IN LESS THAN 12 PARSECS.” (see photos) so I begged them to let me name it “Kessel Run”.
L: Brayden has a really good impersonation of Macho Man Randy Savage that we make him do all the time. It’s hilarious so we always beg him to do it when we’re bored in the van on tour. We watched this one 10 minute long YouTube video of him obviously high on coke saying all this weird shit. I don’t really know how to explain it but we think its funny to call him Randell the Savage instead of Randy Savage.
The Chewbacca sticker is directly above the passenger seat because that’s the Chewy seat!
Brayden made a Kessel Run sticker with a label maker. It sits inconspicuously above a Lovely Bad Things sticker that he deconstucted so he could spell “butt love 4 life.” Brayden drew a really crooked-faced George Lucas here after our weird poster of him got torn. Jar Jar is crying and saying “I just want you to love me George…” Yes we are still mad about Jar Jar.
You can see what the ewok is saying and the Death Star 2 is all “I’m saving myself for marriage” and junk.
Are you guys still calling The Lovely Bad Pad home? How much of the record was worked out in the garage and at backyard shows among friends and strangers?
B: All of the record was worked out in the garage of the Lovely Bad Pad. Camron and I live there. Lauren doesn’t really ever go home and Tim comes over almost every day to practice.
Where did you record The Late Great… and with whom? How did that shape the sound direction? Was there a learning curve?
C: It was recorded at Jonny Bell’s (from Crystal Antlers) studio and it was engineered and produced by Jon Gilbert. Jon Gilbert also did our EP.
T: There wasn’t really a learning curve because we didn’t have to do anything new. It was pretty straightforward.
B: We recorded with our friends and they just happened to be good at what they do. They are on the same wavelength and know what we like and what we want things to sound like. They really facilitated the process in that way.
L: We are just really comfortable with them and it made a process that is notoriously stressful into something fun.
The Lovely Bad Things’ The Late Great Whatever is out February 26 on Volcom.