In Conversation with Fierce Bad Rabbit, Part I

Cool, Upbeat, and Not So Fierce as All That

Fierce Bad Rabbit is an indie folk-rock quartet comprised of Chris Anderson (lead vocals, guitar), Alana Rolfe (viola, vocals), Max Barcelow (drums/percussion/vocals), and Dayton Hicks (bass guitar), who’ve been playing together since 2009. Their latest album, Living Asleep (out September 23), is a spirited call-to-arms, the soundtrack for an examined young life ripe with initiative? It’s like the kind of friend who picks you up and reminds you that you can make it if you try. Recently lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Anderson took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about musical beginnings as well as onstage events that can lead to unaccountable hysteria.

“You’ve got to fall down, you’ve got to get hurt,
But you’ve just got to get up and kick off all of that dirt.”
– From “Everything’s Alright” by Fierce Bad Rabbit

A Musical Childhood
“I was a pretty happy kid. I grew up in a very loving and nurturing family, and music was very much a part of our lives. All of us kids were required to take piano lessons from our grandma, who every two weeks would teach the three of us kids as well as my four other cousins. Music didn’t really ever seem very important? I guess cause it was always around, but over time I grew to realize that I was gravitating to it more than the other kids were.

“My best friend had a guitar and knew how to play ?Santa Monica? by Everclear. I went home and learned to play the guitar that day. A couple of months later I had my first band.

“Later I was in a band with a much older and very experienced bass player who kind of taught us all the ropes of booking gigs, playing live, and touring. I would say that touring, as a whole, has taught me, for better or worse, the bittersweet side of the musical life. I started touring in my early twenties and after that music became a balancing act?a way of holding yourself up on a daily basis while remaining triumphant in your purpose to share the music. It can either wear you down or lift you up each day.”

Creating Fierce Bad Rabbit
“We all knew each other from other bands and eventually all ended up making music together. I had some songwriting project I wanted to get some musicians behind and it all just clicked and kept clicking, and then we became like the family we are now.

“Coming up with the name was last minute. We needed a name and Dayton saw a friend’s figurine or book called ?Fierce Bad Rabbit.???

A Typical Rehearsal
“I’ll wake up at 6:00 a.m., leave Boston, and get on a southwest flight to Colorado. Once picked up from the airport I usually head to rehearsal for a couple of hours, we work out the set list for the next day’s show, and That’s about it. We trade stories about whatever is happening in our lives since we don’t talk too much between rehearsals and shows?not cause we don’t like each other, but because we all have a lot going on in our personal lives. We just pick up where things left off.”

Inside Jokes and Hilarious Low Points
“A whole lot of weird stuff goes on; I don’t know where to start because most of our ?inside jokes? are probably too inappropriate or crude to share. But there was a time I farted in Brooklyn while playing a really slow, quiet song. I’m pretty sure the five people at the show heard it, because I think it was picked up by the microphone. I couldn’t stop laughing and I had to sing this really heartfelt song.

“That was a pretty low point in our lives. Very Low. Straight-up hysteria. But funny stuff happens all the time. Nobody respects a guy for telling fart jokes?except us, I guess.”