Antagonistic, cathartic and batshit insane – punk three piece Bad Girlfriend are one of Birmingham’s most confrontational and exciting new bands. Their debut EP, appropriately titled Fried Chicken And Bondage, launches at The Flapper on October 11. Guy Hirst talks with Connor Hemming (Guitar + Vox), Richie James (Bass) and Benjamin Kane (Drums) to find out more.
“I’ve had enough of bands that are good looking uni kids that are like ‘aww man, I’m at university, I wanna have sex, I’ve done too much ecstasy’,” says Connor hitting the table “I wanna go on stage, cut myself open and get punched in the face. I’m on a fucking warpath man, I just wanna wind as many people up as possible. I’m not trying to please anyone, really, apart from myself.”
Astoundingly his solo acoustic shows were of the same vein, getting him banned from playing the One Trick Pony is Moseley for profane lyrics and good amount of lunacy. Ben recollects “I remember watching Connor’s show, I assumed it was gonna be singer-songwriter stuff but then he named dropped John Coltrane and it was just half an hour of noise. I’ve seen loads of crazy solo shows because of my background in jazz, but i’d never seen the energy Connor has on stage before.” Richie continues “Miles Cocker (Youth Man) said to me ‘You gotta see this kid support Elephantine’ so I went along but saw that people weren’t getting it because it was all acoustic, I remember thinking that with a band behind him it would sound fucking mental.”
Four out of five tracks on the EP are Connor’s acoustic tracks transposed to a crazed Bad Girlfriend format, and as Richie predicted, they’re completely awesome. They’ve captured that ridiculous, hysterical and violent live energy to-a-tee, and all recorded in one night. “Miles Cocker really brought that out of us,” says Connor, “he didn’t produce the EP, he just kinda turned up with a bottle of whisky, which was good because we were getting into a pattern of things. We were recording a track called Where The Bird Fly and he said ‘You can do better than that!’ so I stripped off, played it naked, and we smashed all the gear. You can hear us all tearing the place apart at the end of that recording.” Richie continues “I love how grungy and raw the EP is, it’s got a Bleach (Nirvana) esque-ness to it.” “I love music when it feels like it could go anywhere and Bad Girlfriend definitely feels like that,” explains Ben.
Hemming, a known face to many bands of brum, is literally a walking-talking advertisement for groups like Midnight Bonfires, Youth Man, God Damn, Table Scraps, Superfood, False Grails and Elephantine to name a few. “We owe a lot to Elephantine, they pretty much put us on the map,” says Connor. However to put it lightly, he doesn’t dig the B-Town scene but admits “the first time I released we have a scene was at a sold out Jaws show at the Hare & Hounds, the crowd going fucking ape shit, i’d never seen that at a local gig before. But they did spark “a load of shit,” introducing themselves as Peace on stage supporting God Damn, wearing dresses and calling themselves Swim Deep at Die Das Der, but it’s all just part of their tremendous “fuck you” nature. It is completely inevitable that Bad Girlfriend will get themselves into a world of trouble, pain and sustain a throng of gig-related injuries, because that’s exactly what they are – an awesome, awesome amount of trouble.
Bad Girlfriend release Fried Chicken And Bondage at The Flapper, 11 October with The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, I Cried Wolf and Brass Tongue.