Bad Citizen is an up-and-coming band from New York, known for lively classic rock and R & B. On July 15 they put out their debut EP, Citizens Rise. You can see the video of one the songs, “Watch It Fall,” here. Recently bandmembers Matt, Frankie, Steve, and Patrick were good enough to talk to Wanda Waterman about NYC, social conscience, and the new EP. (See Part I of this interview here.)
Do you feel that New York is a creatively stimulating city? Why or why not?
MATT: Yes … I do a lot of writing while I’m on the subway. I see, hear, and smell (hehe!) so much just sitting on the train. You can’t help but be inspired, pissed, or depressed and wanting to express what you’ve experienced in NYC. I was born in Brooklyn so I feel like I’ll always be connected and reap inspiration from NYC.
Why did you call this EP Citizens Rise?
FRANKIE: I think the EP title is a recognition of sorts. The power of normal everyday people has declined. Our government is run by lobbyists and their corporate bosses. We need to band together to make this world a better place. The songs are essentially whatever the fuck we feel like writing about.
There’s a social conscience in your songs, a sense of defiance toward injustice. How did that develop?or was it already a given?
MATT: With all of the brutalising of blacks and other minorities by crooked cops, and the gay and lesbian community fighting for rights they shouldn’t even have to be fighting for, I wanted our video for “Watch It Fall” to empower people. The mission is definitely a given; I’ve always felt like I should stand up for the oppressed.
Are there any books, films, or albums that have deeply influenced your development as an artist?
PATRICK: I get influenced by everything; it all works its way into my psyche and how I approach music.
I grew up in North Carolina and there was a local band I knew called Alli With An I, who were in that early stage of the punk rock and pop punk sound. Their album, I Learned It By Watching You, was seminal to me?it showed me what’s possible with a guitar, bass, drums, and some killer tunes, even if You’re a kid from a small town in NC.
If you had an artistic mission statement, what would it be?
STEVE: I have piles of mission statements, but my favorite might be “Chim chim-in-ey chim chim-in-ey chim chim cheroo, I does what I likes and I likes what I do.” Best when sung, naturally. From Mary Poppins. Piles more.
What’s next for you?
MATT: we’re writing new songs that are a bit more dynamic and expansive in sound. Our sound is maturing, and not in a “suit and tie” kind of way … more like a seasoned fighter working up to the championship fight. It’s the next chapter of Bad Citizen, and It’s gonna? get a lot badder!
Wanda also writes the blog The Mindful Bard:The Care and Feeding of the Creative Self.