Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Bad Examples celebrating 25th anniversary of landmark album "Bad Is Beautiful"


With its strong songwriting and indelible melodies that sink deep into your brain, it's no wonder that after 25 years, The Bad Examples' landmark album, "Bad Is Beautiful," sounds as fresh as ever today.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of "Bad Is Beautiful," The Bad Examples recently performed the album in its entirety at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora. As part of a FaceBook live streaming concert, the band will present a live acoustic performance of "Bad Is Beautiful" in sequence from Waterdog Records at 8 p.m. April 21 to help celebrate the launch of the PledgeMusic campaign to re-release "Bad Is Beautiful" on vinyl.

I had the chance to talk to The Bad Examples frontman Ralph Covert about the band's activities.

Q - Great talking to you again. Of course, this year is the 25th anniversary of the album "Bad Is Beautiful" in 1991. How do you think the album has held up over the years?

I’m thrilled that "Bad Is Beautiful" will finally be available on vinyl, as I think the album has held up well – at its heart it was all about having great songs. "Bad Is Beautiful" was very much a document of the band we were at the time.

We were reacting against some of the cheesy sounds of the '80s, and tried to make a record that hearkened back to our heroes while remaining fresh and contemporary. The album has a rich, polished sound to it, but remains at its heart organic and soulful.

We didn’t anticipate the whole grunge sound and scene, and that was not our vibe at all, so when Nirvana hit and noisy, angry music became all the rage our music became by contrast less commercially viable. The Europeans were still hungry for the kind of music we made, and we were well appreciated over there. 

Q - In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

Our philosophy when we made the album was: “There are no good albums, only great albums and forgettable albums; every good album is forgettable.” I listen to "Bad Is Beautiful" now and I feel we succeeded in our mission and made a great album.

"Goldmine Magazine" picked it as one of the 100 best rock albums, and almost ever other album on the list was a major label blockbuster.

Q - What were the delays in the album's release?

The initial plan was to release the album in 1990, and so in late ’89 we quit our jobs and hit the road to begin touring in support of the album. We were self-releasing in the U.S,. but were planning our release in tandem with our Dutch label’s European release.

The Dutch had various changes they wanted made, and as one thing led to another, the album wasn’t released until 1991. By that time, we were a fine-tuned live band, and well-prepared for the surge of attention we received here and abroad. 

Q - The album's "Not Dead Yet" became a big hit for you, and "One Perfect Moment" also received a lot of airplay. Did you expect both songs to get as much attention as they did?

Why do you think the songs connected so well with people?

"Not Dead Yet" ended up being the big single, but was only re-recorded to be put on "Bad Is Beautiful" because Styx had released a cover version on their "Edge Of The Century" album.

"Not Dead Yet" had originally appeared on our "MEAT: The Bad Examples album," available only on cassette.

We included it so people would realize it was one of our songs, not one of theirs. Lucky we did!

"One Perfect Moment" was the first song to get heavy airplay in Chicago, and was played on WXRT and WLUP. In Europe, "Promises In The Dark" and "Ashes Of My Heart" were the first two singles. 

"Ashes" blew up as a single in a number of isolated regional markets in the U.S., including Springfield, Illinois.

I think people connected well with the songs because the lyrics expressed ideas they could relate to, the melodies were strong and catchy, and the band had a high energy, but melodic sound with a lot of soul and authenticity to it.

That sounds very appealing when I write it, but as I mentioned before the “flavor of the day” of popular music went in a different direction when grunge/alternative broke big.

Q - The music industry has changed drastically since the band first formed. How have you tried to keep up with the changes?

I don’t feel we’ve ever really tried to keep up with the changes of fashion in the music biz – our goal has always been to make great recordings of great songs, and perform them with energy and passion. Maybe someday that will be the new craze - if so, we’ll be sitting on top of the heap!

Q - How do you go about balancing The Bad Examples with your Ralph's World project? Do you need both in your life?

Some years Ralph’s World demands more of my time and attention, and some years I can afford to spend a little more energy on The Bad Examples and on my Ralph Covert projects.

I’m always writing for all facets of my music, and always in the studio working on new material. I probably have 60 to 100 songs either completed or in the works, between all the different projects.

We try to release them in ways that will appeal to the fans while moving things forward for my career.

Q - The Bad Examples released "Smash Record" in 2011. Are you guys working on new music? What does the rest of the year hold for The Bad Examples?

On April 21, we’re launching a PledgeMusic campaign. In a first ever FaceBook live streaming concert, we will be presenting a live acoustic performance of "Bad Is Beautiful" in sequence from Waterdog Records at 8 p.m. April 21 to help celebrate the launch of the PledgeMusic campaign to re-release "Bad Is Beautiful" on vinyl.

The campaign will feature lots great bonus items, including vintage posters, and European CD singles form the album. In addition, I will be sharing short videos in which I will tell the stories behind different songs and have acoustic performances of those songs.

Other upcoming releases include the July release of a Ralph’s World album and a new Ralph Covert solo record to be released early next year. The Ralph’s World album is called "Time Machine Guitar," and features songs from the "Ralph’s World: Time Machine Guitar" TV series.

We’ve shot the pilot for the show, and are hoping to produce a full season in the next year or so. I will be performing a lot of solo house concert shows, and hope to fit in several more shows with The Bad Examples to highlight the PledgeMusic campaign.

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