Like the soundtrack to a cult film that doesn’t exist, The Bad Signs are three acclaimed artists’ ode to all that is cool.
Brainchild of guitarist Nat Rufus, The Bad Signs are a seedy tribute to the fringe culture of 1960’s America – the beatniks, the beehives, the bikers, the whole scene. After ten years touring with twin brother and songwriting partner Rob Rufus in the punk rock band Blacklist Royals, inspiration struck as Rob took time off the road to edit his memoir, Die Young With Me (Simon & Schuster).
“I got the idea from this old black and white photograph,” says Nat. “It was from ’67, just two teenagers on a motorcycle, but I wanted to start a band that sounded the way that photo looked, you know? Like vintage rebel youth.” The twins enlisted alt-country mainstay Samantha Harlow on lead vocals, roundly praised by Rolling Stone, CMT, and America Songwriter – her haunting performances brought something unique and critical to the group. “She has a fragility to her voice that creates a sense of captivated unease… it’s like the sound of another time.”
So put on your shades, zip up your leather, and let your love light shine – because square is nowhere, and this is it.
The Bad Signs’ new EP, Black Magic Moments, was named an “official release” of Record Store Day 2017 – these exclusive 12” vinyl are backmasked with subliminal messages that conjure spirits when the album is spun backward. Rob’s book, now a bestseller, recently won a 2017 National ALA Award and will out in paperback this spring.
The 50THIRDAND3RD Interview with Bad Signs
For those unfamiliar with your music, can you can you give us a little of your back history?
We play black magic doo-wop and all we see are bad signs.
Who would you list as your musical influence?
Glenn Danzig, Lux and Ivy, Ronnie Spector, Leslie Gore, Duane Peters, the list goes on forever.
What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you since you started up?
At Sun Studio in Memphis they have an “x” taped on the floor where the main vocal mic used to be – the spot where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and all these heroes of ours stood. We recorded there last year and I cleared a path to make sure I could stand on that “x” during a solo, now every time I listen to it I can relive that moment, a very cool and surreal experience for sure.
What are your hopes and dreams as a musician for the next few years?
Survival of the human race has been on my mind a lot since January…
What are some of your favorite albums from the past few years?
Just go the new Jesus & Mary Chain today, which is great – last year’s #1 was Kirstin Kontrol’s debut.
Do you see any real use for social media, or is it all just a pain in the ass to keep with?
I understand what people think they get from social media, but real life is a much better trip.
Do you pay attention to reviews or comments from people about your music or do you just turn that noise off?
We pay attention to the good ones.
If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?
Can music save the mortal soul or is just a good backbeat to your life?
I’m not sure about my soul, but music has definitely saved my life.
Any last thoughts for your fans?
Much love to all those true blue rockers out there who dig The Bad Signs, can’t wait to see all your beautiful faces on the road this April!
Black Magic Moments is out 4/21. Check out their tour dates below:
04/26 — Kansas City, MO @ Prohibition Hall
04/29 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
05/02 — Portland, OR @ Dante’s Inferno
05/04 — Sacramento, CA @ The Press Club
05/05 — San Fransico, CA @ Hotel Utah
05/07 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Mint
05/09 — Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
05/10 — San Antonio, TX @ The Amp Room
05/11 — Austin, TX @ Hole In The Wall
05/12 –Dallas, TX @ Prophet Bar
The Bad Signs: