Bad Touch is a Hard Rock band from Norfolk UK, originally formed in 2010 when the band members were still in college. Growing up on a steady diet of Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes, Free and Lynyrd Skynyrd combined with the rolling Norfolk countryside and hard-working people helped inspire them to formulate their infectious blend of rock, country and blues.
2015 saw the release of their self-released debut album “Half Way Home’ followed by ‘Truth Be Told’ in 2016. After signing to Marshall Records in 2018, Bad Touch released third album ‘Shake A Leg’ which featured Planet Rock Radio favourites ‘Lift Your Head Up’ and ‘Too Many Times’ and received critical acclaim across the board, this helped build on the reputation the band had cemented with tracks like their duet with Mollie Marriott, a cover of Ike & Tina Turner’s classic ‘Baby Get It on’ and crowd pleaser ‘99%’ from 2016’s ‘Truth Be Told’.
In 2020 the band released their fourth studio album ‘Kiss the Sky’, recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios which has previously produced music by iconic bands such as Queen, Black Sabbath, Oasis and far too many more to list here. Check out the link here, to check out the history.
Bad Touch have extensively toured the UK and Europe. They’ve performed at festivals such as Download, Ramblin’ Man Fair and Planet Rockstock. They have toured with Skid Row, The Answer, Broken Witt Rebels, Those Damn Crows, The Quireboys, FM and more.
Frontman, Stevie Westwood, took time out to chat with me about the latest album, the Isolation sessions and live music photography.
Stevie Westwood – Vocals
Rob Glendinning – Guitar
Daniel Seekings – Guitar
Michael Bailey – Bass
George Drewry – Drums
You recorded your latest album ‘Kiss the sky’ at the legendary Rockfield Studios. So much history there, that must’ve been surreal experience?
It was completely jaw-dropping-ly awe-inspiring. We are so privileged as a group of friends to have recorded in a place with such musical gravitas. It really did kick us up a notch as musicians, and just felt so right. I got to sit at Freddie’s piano, the one he wrote ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Plus, every one of the Rockfield team was brilliant and special mention to our producer and 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.
The album has a much bigger sound than any previous releases, was this intentional when writing it, or did that bigger sound evolve during the production process?
We’ve always strived for greatness, we’ve wanted everything that we put out to be the biggest and best version of Bad Touch, but the magic doesn’t always happen. Through no fault of anyone, sometimes things just don’t click. You can do all the right things, with all the right people, spend all the right money AAANND … nothing. That’s why being in the arts is so hard. With this album though, with Brino and Rockfield, I feel like we’ve found our winning formula and there’s no stopping us!
Would you consider a photographer being present during your time in the studio?
We had a photographer there, our friend Joby Sessions. Unfortunately, we shot outside in Wales in the depths of winter so we looked a bit on the chilly/moody side. Haha! He still managed to make the shots come out killer, cheers dude!
Who or what inspired you to want to create music?
Every member has their own story, I can only speak for me. I grew up around a lot of music, the likes of Stevie Wonder and other soul greats, and their music always made me feel better than anything else in this world. I didn’t do great at school, and never wanted a “9to5”, so instead of following the herd to university to do a course I had no interest in, I found an awesome rock band full of great people, and here we are several years later.
You’re introducing somebody to your music for the first time, which one song do point them to?
I like people to finds their own favourites! Obviously, as an evolving musician, I tend to push people towards the more recent stuff. But equally we love it when someone says “Oh why don’t you play this track off Half Way Home anymore?” If you’re looking for the most out-there, balls-to-the-wall version of Bad Touch though, I definitely encourage checking out Kiss The Sky. *cough* Subtly places link here – Go listen
I’ve kicked off this series with two upcoming unsigned bands. Bad Touch signed with Marshall records in 2018, how does band life compare now to the days of being unsigned?
The days of being signed meaning a huge advance and non-stop flights and parties are definitely over. But saying that, Marshall Records have been great to us, and it’s definitely nice to have the support of such a huge name. However, the day-to-day of band life doesn’t really change that much, you still have to lug your own gear in the venue!
You’ve been putting out some great content in regards to the isolation sessions, did you enjoy performing online, or did you find it harder without an audience?
Truly, the Isolation Sessions were an exercise in panic and fear. I was faced with the band not being able to do anything for an unforeseen amount of time, and that really scared me. So to stave off insanity and boredom, I grabbed my iPhone and literally just recorded playing some songs, no mics and no fancy setup. The response was so overwhelming. It’s always harder without the audience, it’s what we live for as performers. We hope to get right back to it, as soon as is safe to do so.
You’ve played some amazing gigs. Rock City in Nottingham and Download, stand out, they’re different in their capacities, but both iconic. Compared to watching gigs there, how did it feel to be the ones performing?
It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Sitting here during the grips of a third national lockdown, it’s genuinely bringing a tear to my eye reminiscing about being on stage. We always promised as a band to rock whatever stage we were lucky enough to play. We can’t wait to be back up there.
What’s been your most memorable gig?
The aforementioned Download was a huge one. We remember being a bit deflated before we went on, as there were like three rows of people, if that. I don’t know what happened between us walking off and returning five minutes later, but the tent was rammed and the show was electric!
Do you feel photographs are an important part of your show?
Of course! What’s the main problem with gigs? The fact that they end. But photographers have the magic to capture that energy and expression within a picture that can be held and loved forever.
At a gig, what are your thoughts on ‘the first three and out’ rule for photographers?
I’m not familiar with this rule, I’m assuming it refers to photographers being in the pit for only the first three songs and then leaving? Quickly emails Simon to check I’m not making a fool of myself. Turns out I was right! What I didn’t know was that this rule is generally implicated by promoter or band. Personally it seems a bit silly, I understand the whole distraction argument, but at the end of the day I want the photographer to have the best chance to capture my best side and that might take him/her all night!
During a performance, are you conscious of the photographers in the pit?
Of course we know they’re there, but I try and perform as naturally as possible, to let you guys capture our energy. I’m not the “sticking your tongue out in the camera“ guy.
When publishing or sharing shots online, what do you look for in a photograph?
It’s a tough one, photos need to have captured an energy, but also need clarity, and being slightly narcissistic for a second, I want to look good too! Any side profiles capturing my lockdown belly will be omitted!
Would you rather see one ‘amazing’ shot of your show, or a few ‘good’ shots?
The trouble is that photography is an art form, the same as music. You can play a song to your best friend that has changed your life, and they can shrug and be like, “Meh, it’s alright I guess…” So the danger of putting all your money on one “amazing” shot is that amazing is subjective. I’d much rather see a few, because you can bet your bottom dollar your favourite isn’t going to be my favourite. It’s the nature of the beast and part of what makes art so beautiful (and frustrating.)
What’s your thoughts on the smartphone generation during a show?
It’s a double-sided coin, I’m torn, because it’s a compliment I guess? They want to record you because they obviously deem you worthy of being recorded. But also PUT YOUR DAMN PHONE DOWN, SO THE LADY YOU’RE STANDING IN FRONT OF CAN SEE AND JUST ENJOY THE SHOW, HERE AND NOW WITH YOUR OWN DAMNED EYES. Sorry, excuse me.
When on tour or on an AAA pass, do you like your photographers to get involved in the action or keep their distance whilst behind the scenes?
We have all been brought up as “manners are everything.” You are most welcome behind the scenes, but how about you ask nicely first? Don’t just ball into our dressing room and assume you’re gonna be met with open arms and a cold beer.
From a bands perspective, what can make or break a relationship with a photographer?
You got to work with us, as a band we know we’re not the easiest or interesting to shoot. We’re pretty chilled and down to Earth, we’re not all high kicks and spandex, that’s not what we’re about, so you got to be able to read people and not try to force us down a road that’s not us as a band. Whenever I hear “Stevie, just do something crazy!” I have officially checked out!
If you could open a show for any artist past or present, who would it be?
A band we’ve met and hung out with, that are both a huge influence and inspiration behind our sound, but have not yet had the good grace to share a stage with. The mighty Black Stone Cherry. I know that’s a shared dream for all members of Bad Touch.
Who’s on your playlist right now?
So much, when I put shuffle on it’s bonkers. There’s everything from drum n bass, to dubstep, to Motown, to hardcore. But within the context of this interview, I’m currently loving Sister Sparrow and our friends, Robert Jon & The Wreck.
What’s next for Bad Touch?
We’ve just had to re-re-re-reschedule our Kiss The Sky Tour for later in 2021, due to the pandemic. The newly named “Better Late Than Never Tour” will be hitting the UK Nov/Dec of this year, and we’re still bringing our bros in Piston along for the ride. We cannot wait to finally be able to play our new album for you guys, and between now and then we’re just going to concentrate on writing new material, whilst looking after our loved ones, and generally trying to get through this miserable time as quickly and safely as possible. Stay safe and be cool to each other.