Interview: Bad Mary
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Amanda: We all come from different walks of life. If we weren’t a band, I would most likely be an actress with her background and degree in theater. Or something with animals. Mike? Mike would probably try his hand at being some kind of live stream gamer or be more involved in the video game industry. Bill would be doing voice over work and working in radio. David lives his dream job as a professor of theater production! So, he’d continue to teach but also design amazing sets and costumes for theater performances.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Amanda: I like to act and perform on stage,
Mike: which has made her an incredibly versatile and creative performer. She pulls from her theater background constantly and it makes our live show what it is!
Amanda: Bill (My dad) loves to play music; it’s what he’s always doing even when he’s not playing music. It’s what makes him such an imaginative and creative drummer.
David loves to design and read. David has done all of our logos and branding which feed into the attitude and creativity of the band. As for his taste in literature, it’s definitely influenced some of the subject matter of our songs.
Mike is a nerd for all seasons. He plays a ton of video games, reads comics, and watches Anime (and studies Japanese too!) Mike’s hobbies have made him sort of a perennial teenager, which is why so many of his songs are about robots and stuff.
How long has your band been around?
Amanda: We started this band as a cover band called Madame X in 2010. When we started writing originals, we changed our name to Bad Mary in 2012 and put out our first record, Better Days, in 2013.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Amanda: We’re based in NY. Me, Mike, and Bill all grew up in NY and David grew up in England. Both places are responsible for the beginnings of punk, so we think it totally fits with our brand of punk rock.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Amanda: When we decided to write original music, we wanted to change our name from Madame X, which was already used by a bunch of bands, a club, and a few movies. After a long process of trying to find a name, we wanted to have something that was fun, fit our style, and was easy to spell. David came up with Bad Mary and we all loved it.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Amanda: It’s hard to not jump right to our 2019 tour in Japan, so that’s where we’re going to start. We put together a mini tour of Japan in 2019 and it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. Our first night we played at a club called 20000 Den-Atsu in Koenji, Tokyo and were completely amazed by the audience, the bands, and the club. It was beautiful to see how our music could connect with people on the other side of the world. The rest of the tour was exactly the same. Each night we connected with the crowds and bands and had such great comradery. The energy and memories from those shows will stay with us forever. Amazing.
Mike: We performed at the Vans Warped Tour in 2015 and that was like a childhood dream come true. Being able to play a tour that meant so much to us in our teenage years was one of the coolest things ever. Especially with our brand of old-school punk, we felt right at home.
Amanda: We were also asked to play at Hofstra University’s fall fest in 2017, which was surreal. We were able to perform for a crowd of current students at a place that means so much to us as a band and as people. It was pure magic, really.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Amanda: We play a lot of shows at an amazing local club called Mr. Beery’s. It’s a small place, but an amazing venue to see new, original music. They’re one of the few places in our area where you can hear original music and we will always love Beery’s for that.
We love playing Arlene’s Grocery in NYC or the Bowery Electric too, amazing venues.
There are thousands of venues we’d love to play! Locally we’d love to play places in NYC like Hammerstein Ballroom or Irving Plaza or The Paramount. We’d love to get to the UK someday!!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Mike: Can we play with Queen? Yeah, Queen would be pretty rad. We’d love to play with bands like Green Day, Foo Fighters, Blondie, The Misfits, Rancid, Bikini Kill, The Offspring, Bad Religion, The Dollyrots, The Interrupters, the list goes on!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Amanda: Just. Keep. Writing. Never stop doing it, you love this, keep it up. Write new stuff, workshop old stuff. Also, NEVER forget that this is supposed to be fun.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Amanda: We can’t upset the space-time continuum, so we’re going to let our younger selves learn from the mistakes they made. We’re a product of every moment and decision that we’ve made in the past, and we’d hate to change that.
But some real advice here, be sure to drink a lot of water before performing. Give everyone a second chance and be sure to dive at any opportunity you can.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Amanda: We don’t really have a song that means the most to us. We spend a lot of time with any new song or idea we come up with. There are some songs on Better Days that have been with us for so long that they have a feeling of legacy, but other than that, we don’t really think about our songs that way.
Which songs are your favorite to play, and which get requested the most?
Amanda: We love playing mostly all of our music, as long as we’ve rehearsed it recently! The songs that get requested the most are: Forget About It, Ninja, Addicted, Sucks to be You, Space Girl, the Itch, and mostly all of our covers.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Amanda: Most frequently David or Mike will write the skeleton of a new song and bring it to the band to flesh out together. Amanda helps to craft and edit lyrics to give the songs their emphatic meaning, and Bill brings massive creativity to the drums. While the songs may start with Mike or David, typically, the process of making them a Bad Mary song is ultimately very collaborative.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Amanda: Our songs are kind of all over the place. We have songs about Ninjas, Robots, Outer Space, and Zombies, but we’re also not afraid to attack the toxicity of internet culture and the abuse of social media. We write what we want to write about, and many times the messages of our songs can change based on how we feel that day or how a listener can interpret it.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Amanda: We’re a family…most literally… so yeah, all the time. We get past it by realizing that we’re all passionate about what we do, understanding that we’re in this together, and finding humor in the arguments. We move on, make more music, and get back to it.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Mike: We have a cover EP releasing on March 8 called “Rock and Roll Classics: Vol. 6” followed by two new original songs hitting in May. After that we intend to release a second cover EP in the summer and a full, new original EP in the fall. Until then, you can find us on social media @BadMaryBand and catch our weekly livestream on Twitch! Every Tuesday night at 8PM Eastern.