Profile: Psych-Surf, Proto-Punk Rockers The Bad Larry’s

The Bad Larry's
The Bad Larry’s

Psych-surf / proto-punk band The Bad Larry’s just released their latest album Hodads last week and if a surf inspired Reverend Horton Heat appeals to you then this is the album you need to quench that thirst. It’s a roaring good time and if you’re in the mindset of taking a beach vacation these nine tracks will help in a big way. The silky smooth surf vibes interspersed with post-punk attitude and killer grooves are a winner in my book. Just behind the album’s release we had the opportunity to ask the band our set of Profile questions so head inside to see what they had to say and hit that embed link to grab your own copy of Hodads.

The Bad Larry's - Hodad

How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?

Davis Shubs: I first got into playing music through my friend, Trevor.  He lived right by Burger King and his friend’s parents smoked weed that we would steal.  After eating about 80 chicken fries and almost getting jumped on the way home, he showed me his bass and started teaching me AC/DC.  I spent the whole night learning tabs and by morning my fingers were bleeding and I could play.  I had always wanted to play bass though, something about those fat strings always appealed to me.

Sean Flynn: Music is a big tradition in my family, but I felt more compelled towards visual art and writing when I was younger.  When I was in high school I stumbled almost accidentally into Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” initially because of the art of Gerald Scarfe.  I immediately entertained delusions of making my own rock operas, album art and all.  I helped roof a house in barter for my first electric guitar and never stopped.  As long as my own art gets closer to producing the feeling of magic that I had listening to music in my teens, I’ll be happy with my success.

Jaret Salvat-Rivera: I was born in Puerto Rico to a family who got together and played often so it was some pretty early exposure. I first seriously picked up my dad’s acoustic at the age of 15, and regretted not having done it sooner. A good friend taught me how to read tabs and I took off with it from there. I stopped doing just about everything else for a while and it took over. At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta were mostly to blame. Thanks, Omar =)

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)

SF: A couple of Halloween’s back, The Bad Larry’s were asked to play a set of costume parties.  The bands had to masquerade as famous groups and play covers, so we chose Iggy Pop and the Stooges.  I got really, really into it.  I shaved my chest, bought a dog collar and wedding gloves off Amazon.  I was rolling in stale beer, breaking glass and knocking stuff over, jumping on people’s backs — literally getting carried away caught up in that character. I twisted my ankle jumping offstage, got cut up from various things lying around, and got back mice from violently arching backward during one of the songs.  Still have the back mice.  I was having so much fun I didn’t notice all of the physical trauma until the following week.

DS: I don’t know about debasing myself to get onto a show with a promoter or something, but I’ve had to literally beg members of the band and bribe them out of their previous commitments with gifts or favors to take shows they originally couldn’t play.  At this point everybody wants to play as much as possible and leaves their schedules super open for the band, but I’d rather play a show or record more than any other activity at this point.

JSR: Recently, a stomach bug was causing mayhem with all of the staff at my job.  It was my turn to get in a few hours before a show.  I’ve never been so fucking terrified about shitting myself in the middle of a set. Like, that’s a real thing!  What do you do?!  Do you just stand there and act like nothing happened or run off and try to explain later?  Shitty shituation to be in, man.  I ended up just eating a bunch of horrible pizza and hoped it would somehow congeal and keep me together.  Totally worked.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

DS: I don’t know if I’d classify us as a metal band necessarily, although we have some heavier songs and play with a few metal bands.  I think the worst thing I see in any scene for me in general is this sense of bands holding back their raw power and playing it safe just to be the cool chill kids.  The elitism of bands who sound pretty good, but only give it 75 percent of their energy, and stare at their fretboard the whole time so they don’t miss a note.  I’d rather see a band like Guitar Wolf or Shannon And The Clams rip a set, dance my ass off, and entertain me than stare at my shoes.  That’s the punk in me I guess.

SF: I love the west coast psych/stoner and sludge metal that’s surging recently, and saw some bands at Desert Daze that permanently altered me.  All wonderful people too.  There’s a lot of blending going on between genres that speak to the old and the new. Somewhere we never were, and somewhere we haven’t reached yet.  Most of my criticisms revolve around substance.  I don’t like it when bands err too much on the kitchy side.  I’m not saying everyone should make ponderous thought pieces, I certainly don’t.  I do think that taking minimal chances with substance and originality for the sake of accessibility is a little boring.  To each their own, though.

JSR: I am so out of touch with the metal scene, man.  Best thing?  Metal Zone pedals.  Tone for day$$$.  Worst thing?  Maybe all the subgenres.  When is something not metal anymore?  Over my head.  I like colossal, fuzzed out, kidney rattling guitars though.  Point me in the direction of more of that shit, please.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

SF: I put a lot of thought into symbolism.  All of us are having a conversation with a great continuum that speaks in different ways and casts us as characters in each other’s journey.  Spilling from the narrow windows of our eyes, beneath the layers of conflict and self, there is a great united being.  That being is known to most as The Big Bad Larry.  The only way to entertain a hero with a thousand faces is with its own favorite story.  So here we are.

JSR: I think I try to conjure up the feeling of being able to escape.  That’s probably where the psych influence comes from.  That desire to transform any mundane part of your existence into something deeper.  Wanting to get away from all of the negative bullshit that floods your mind from the second you wake up.  It’s something for people to listen to, wrap themselves up in for a few moments, and realize that they were ripped out of thee toxic mind abyss.

DS: John Waters once said that Punk Rock is about the Female dick and the Male Vagina.  For me, I really enjoy that energy and the spirit of reversing roles and pushing boundaries of what people find socially/ethically acceptable.  I think now more than ever it’s crucial we back our brothers and sisters in endorsing their freedom of expression and personal freedoms.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

JSR: My uncles got me into Metallica when I was a kid.  I actually used to sing “Enter Sandman” through a toy microphone to my sister when she was still in the womb.  My parents totally have footage of that. My first gig was at some house party and I had a…”grindcore” band of sorts who learned a bunch of Lamb of God and Burn the Priest songs.  Really ridiculous looking back on it but I was really into strange music at the time.  The Locust, The Blood Brothers, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, Daughters, etc.  My parents came to the show and they’ve been coming to every show since.  They support this music thing, and anything I do fully.  Thee best parents ever!

DS: What really got me “into” Metal was actually King Crimson’s ‘Red.’  Holy shit it got me out of my hippie phase pretty quickly.  My parents are much different than I am, and can be pretty conservative but they’ve always supported me 100 percent.  I don’t know where I’d be without them.  That said, my dad/mom love punk and metal, just maybe a little less of the obscure stuff.

SF: I used to draw a lot of demons, gods, and aliens when I was younger, so I found metal pretty fast on my own hunting around on the computer. It went with what I was already into.  I’d download stuff off my parent’s computer when I heard kids talking about it or heard something cool on Y100.  I had absolutely no taste back then though.  I think that was the main point of contention with the family.  All hits and misses.

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

DS: I think the thing I’d recommend to music critics/outlets, is the same thing I’d recommend to anybody in the music business, which is to keep digging.  Keep finding new things and also catalogue all the music you learn about. It’s really easy to forget what you were listening to a year ago or whatever, and that pocket you studied might help you with a review.  I guess what I’m saying is the ability to recall your musical universe that’s ever expanding is huge.

SF: Musicians giving opinions on how critics form their opinions seems corrupt and autocratic.  Be free, critical ones.

JSR: Just talk to us more.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

DS: I think our goal is to just be able to make a living doing nothing but music, to quit our day jobs and just do this, and to inspire people as we do it.  I think keeping the culture alive is right up there on my list of goals.

SF: My goal is to entertain those who wish to be entertained, and speak to those who wish to be spoken to.  A puzzle for the thinkers, an illusion for the magicians.

JSR: The cult has already begun taking over the world, peacefully, one continent at a time!  I do make some magickal beer at this magickal brewery that may be known as “THBC.”  My ultimate dream is to be able to make music and make beer with the same passion and energy and not have one or the other battling it out.  That life balance is tough, man.  And for fucks sake, I want King Gizzard to invite me to play guitar through all of Nonagon Infinity at a show.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

DS: I personally have been loving compilation albums, like I found a whole entire album of early Joe Meek recordings and there’s SUPER early recordings of Tom Jones that are quite remarkable.  Also really been sifting through the Stax Catalog that really kind of never ends.  I’ve also fallen quite in love with 70s glam rock/proto punk again, from T. Rex, Johnny Thunders, Bowie, to like Richard Hell, The Stranglers, Dead Boys, The Vibrators, and this dope band from Atlanta called CARBONAS.

SF: I’ve been listening to a band called Babe Rainbow a lot.  There are a lot of mischievously fun little couplets in there that make me grin.  A maniacally uplifting attitude.  Those guys get it.

JSR: I have an unhealthy obsession with King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard.  It’s bad. But goddamn, find me one band that’s that good. I’ve been equally stoked on Thee Oh Sees for about the same amount of time.  Been playing a lot of Motorhead, Misfits, Nails, CFM, Fuzz, Power Trip, Pissed Jeans…a whole slew of schtuff.

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

DS: I think over the next 12 months we’re gonna learn how to tour properly and just record and release as much material as we possibly can.  We have our first record coming out February 2nd that we’re extremely proud of.  The 14th of February we have a show at Ortlieb’s in Philly, then we’re shooting up to the West Village of Manhattan to play Secret Loft.  More to come.

SF: We’ve got a show at the The Secret Loft in Greenwich Village February 17th.  We’re also writing and recording three different albums right now.  Everything feels exciting right now.

JSR: What those dudes said! We’re trying to map it all out. Regional tours, west coast? Four albums including this upcoming February 2nd release. Trying to go nuts this year, y’all.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)

DS: Hungry

SF: Maloptioamoromnificant: Sean’s made up word meaning “Appearing bad but full of infinite light and love for everything.”

JSR: Ravenous.

Many thanks to Davis, Sean and Jaret for their time!

Hodads is available now on Bandcamp. For more information on The Bad Larry’s visit their Facebook page.

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