Bad Cop/Bad Cop‘s 2017 release, Warriors, was one of our favourites from last year – (you can check out our review here). It’s an album that absolutely rocks from start to finish, but also finds the time to be culturally relevant and catchy as fuck. Download Festival marks the first time the band has come to Australia, but for those unable to make it, they’ve announced sideshows shows with NOFX, Hot Water Music and Dad Religion. We were lucky enough to get the chance to chat with vocalist/guitarist Stacey Dee about the record, the tour and her recent visit to the hospital!
At the start of the year, you were quite sick, and I was glad to hear that you’re better now. It was really wonderful to see this giant outpouring of support from the punk community. What led to your getting sick and how has your recovery gone?
Thanks my friend! I think I’ll probably always be completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I received. The punk community REALLY showed up for me. It’s rad to know the thing you’ve lived your life for, lives for you too. Ryan Young is a great friend and his idea to make the shirts was so kind and generous. I was able to come home from the hospital and buy good nutritional food and the things I needed to have to give me a fighting chance at being strong and healthy. I’m going to be spending the rest of my life giving back as much as I possibly can!
I don’t know what led to me getting sick, but I was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life and in more pain than I can explain. I had been super sick for ten days and finally the night before I began my acoustic/solo tour had to go to the ER. It turns out I had an abscess in my abdomen as big as my fist, and it was causing sepsis. I could have died. After four days in the hospital, they ruled it being a ruptured appendix. I am on the mend now after a round of heavy antibiotics but will still need to have surgery to get the appendix out in the coming weeks. I’m essentially living with a ruptured appendix, and it’s super scary. Haha.
This will be your first time coming to Australia (I believe), and you’re going to be playing some pretty unreal shows, including Download, is there anything, in particular, you’re looking forward to?
Koalas!!! We want to hold all of them!!! We’re looking forward to it all. We get to travel the world playing our music…. we want to see and do all we can. Getting to see new cultures is where it’s at!
Big festival shows, or even being on lineups with widely popular bands like NOFX can often be a way of introducing people to new music. For those who might be unfamiliar with Bad Cop/Bad Cop, what can they expect from your shows?
I think people can expect a super fun, high-energy show with lots of great singing, songs, drumming, and positivity!
Warriors was one of my favourite releases of last year. The record touches on issues both personal and political. Can you tell me a little bit about the place you were coming from when putting the songs together?
We were out on tour for seven weeks across the USA at the time of the presidential election. We thought, being from progressive California, that Hilary had it in the bag. But as we drove through the country, we didn’t see Hilary signs anywhere. We saw a lot of Trump signs. And when the election results came in, we were in Atlanta, a red state. It seemed like people were coming out of the woodworks saying things that threatened our safety and security as women and we knew we had a duty to say something about it. So that’s where the political came into play. But all of this also brought up a lot in us individually. Like who are we really? What makes us do what we do? What makes us happy? What do we want to fight for? What has made us miserable? How can we share our experiences in a way that other people can identify?
In ‘Womanarchist’ there’s a line about wanting ‘to make the whole world feminist.’ Could you elaborate on that?
“Feminist,” is such a hot topic word. It riles people up. But there are a lot of words in that song that people will identify with and be mad at me for. Feminism just means equality. Plain and simple. It isn’t a male hating word. People that want equality in the world for everyone are feminists. This song is ultimately about standing up and fighting for the right to live the lives we all wanna live. Good, happy, fulfilling and satisfying lives. The only way to get there is by accepting people of all kinds and making everything equal and as possible for us all.
Furthermore, how would you like fans to respond to that message?
I hope it makes people think. And if anyone is irritated with anything I say, to ask themselves why. Why are you so rigid in one way of thinking? Can you try to see the other side of the coin? Can you try to understand that a “word”, does not sum up any one person? Who are you at your core? What’s important to you? What makes you stoked to be alive?
Along with the band, you had Davey Warsop and Fat Mike producing the record. How did this affect the writing process? Did it ever become overwhelming or overly busy?
Yeah! Totally! Haha. This record was hard to make as everyone involved had an opinion on how things should be. We did things a bunch of different ways to satisfy everyone’s need to be heard. We spent hours on harmonies tying all the different kinds. We worked hard on this record on everything from the lyrics to the music to the singing! It was difficult but super worth it.
The world is in a weird place right now. While there are powerful people with disturbing attitudes still being celebrated there is also a long-overdue push back. The music industry, in particular, the festival scene seems to be finally rounding the corner. With a new found focus protecting attendees and artists from abuse, as well as becoming a little more diverse in general. You have a lot of experience as a touring artist. What do you think they are doing right? What are they doing wrong? What still needs work? (*I understand this is a little general and no one promoter operates the same)
The first time I experienced anything like a safe space for festival attendees was when we were on the Vans Warped Tour this past year. The band War on Women brought an organization called “Safer Scenes” with them on the tour and it was eye opening to see how many people frequented their booth. They organized for artists as well, holding meetings for artists to learn more about it all. It really is about looking out for your fellow human being. If you see something happening to someone, fucking do something about it. Don’t be quiet anymore. Don’t let people be awful and harmful to each other.
I’m glad to see that festival organizers have seen that there is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed and are creating these safe spaces. What do I think they could do better? Maybe post signs up that says “aggressors will be prosecuted” or something. It could be a good introduction to it all, letting people know up front that terrible behaviour will not be tolerated. As well as ensuring sure there is always a place to go for anyone that feels violated. A place where they could find resources like pamphlets, support groups, help line phone numbers and someone to talk to, including authorities.
You’ve spoken before about trying to focus on strength and positivity – how do you maintain that state of mind? What helps you put that out into the world every night when you’re on tour?
Life is hard, but it’s even harder with a negative outlook. I lived most of my life with a NMA, and it just made me a sad and sick drug addict. I blamed everyone else for my shitty life. I was truly living a dirty back alley life. When I got the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, I vowed never to go back. Anything is possible when you’re positive. When you’re able to stop yourself from descending into the abyss and see maybe why things are happening the way they are, you’re able to see it all may be for the better.
Being accountable and owning our side in everything we do, frees us up so much! It’s my mission to spread it as much as possible. We have to start changing the world one person at a time, and I believe that begins with perspective. Don’t get me wrong; we will all still struggle. I have bad days where I don’t believe in myself or what’s happening in my life, but instead of beating myself up about it, I go for a walk and force myself to see something beautiful. It always helps me feel better.
Apart from touring Australia, which we’re all very excited about, what else does 2018 hold in store for you and Bad Cop/Bad Cop?
We are going to Europe twice! Lots of rad festivals! Fat Mike’s Punk In Drublic festival both in Europe and the states! We are even shooting for a headline run in the US this fall! Super exciting!!!
Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Is there anything else you’d like to add before you hit our shores in March?
Thanks for wanting to know more about our band! We are really stoked to come play for you all!!!!
Q&A by Dave Mullins
Bad Cop/Bad Cop – 2018 Australian Shows
Thurs March 22 @ Riverstage Brisbane
Fri March 23 @ Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Sat March 24th @ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne