Back in May 2016, I interviewed Tom Leighton (singer/guitar) of The Bad Flowers. At that time the band were at a relatively early stage of their career, preparing to release a new EP. A lot has happened in the space of just over a year. The band have been wowing audiences across the UK with their fantastic live shows (The Bad Flowers were featured in our Best Live Bands lists for 2016 and 2017– a must-see live band!). They are gaining new fans every day as more and more people find out about their music. Their track “Thunder Child” was recently added to the Planet Rock playlist, and they’ve been featured in numerous articles in the rock music press. This is a band on their way to the top. Their excellent debut album, “Starting Gun” will be released in February.
I caught up with Tom again last month and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the band and their upcoming plans.
INTERVIEW WITH TOM LEIGHTON OF THE BAD FLOWERS
Hi Tom, welcome back to Real Rock and Roll! There have been so many exciting things happening for The Bad Flowers since I last interviewed you. I think you were just about to release your “Bad Flowers” EP at the time. After that, things seem to have exploded for you as a band and you’ve been touring with some amazing bands. Of course, your awesome music, and the fantastic live performances are a big part of what has created the buzz around The Bad Flowers, but is there anything that you consider a turning point, when people started to take notice of your band?
I think the biggest turning point has been how much airplay our single “Thunder Child” got. The response to it has been incredible and really helped us get to be heard by new people who have become new fans and it’s got The Bad Flowers name out nationwide.
When I interviewed you on the blog last year, you recommended Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown as a superb band. Less than a year later you were supporting them on tour! That must have been an amazing experience for you. How did that come about?
It was really just being in the right place at the right time, we had seen the guys were playing in Chester, and the booking agent we work with had asked for a support band; so we got on the case straight away and got to support them in Chester. It was a little surreal, to be honest; we had followed these guys for years and now we were sharing the stage with them. We got on so well with them, and I will always remember Tyler coming to us after sound check and saying ‘Damn! You guys are heavy, this is going to be a good show.’ A week later we were just about to board the Eurostar to play a few shows in Europe and we got a call asking us to play the Camden show with them, and how could we refuse? It was a sellout, and possibly the hottest sweatiest gig we have done.
That was a great show! One of my faves from last year.
There have been so many highlights for you and the band over the past year, I’m sure, but are there any that stand out as major highlights?
It’s been a great year and we have done so much but it has to be the sold out London shows we have been on with The Picture Books, Blues Pills for Planet Rock’s Christmas Party. But the Tyler Bryant gig—it was the height of our short summer and 30c outside, inside was so much hotter with the packed crowd, and the atmosphere was just electric. The response was something I will never forget. That was one of the most memorable nights to date!
Your debut album, “Starting Gun”, is due to be released next February. I have my review copy and was over the moon when it turned up in the post. I’m hoping to find time to feature a review on the blog soon. I’ve listened to the album a few times now and it just gets better with every listen. It’s a brilliant album. There are some songs on there that fans will be familiar with from seeing you live, and from your earlier EPs, but also quite a few new ones. Do you have any personal favourites from the songs on the album?
One of my favourites has to be “Let’s Misbehave”, just because it’s so different to anything we have written before, and the way the song flows and builds makes it so enjoyable to play—not just for me but for the whole band.
That’s a good one. I especially love the guitar solo on that one 🙂
When I was reviewing your last gig, I was looking for links to your older EPs online so that I could recommend them but it appears that they’re no longer available to buy. I breathed a sigh of relief when I checked and saw that I had already downloaded copies of them! Are there any plans to re-release them in future? There are some great tracks on them.
There may be a time when we re-release them and possibly re-work them a little, just to give them a bit of a fresh feel and bring them up to speed with the way we feel the band and writing has grown and matured into what it is now.
As you recommended Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown to me last year and they are now one of my favourite bands, do you have any other recommendations of new bands that you’ve heard recently?
They are all new to me! I’ll have to check them out 🙂
There are lots of exciting things lined up for The Bad Flowers next year, are there any in particular you’re looking forward to?
We’re really looking forward to being back on the road and touring, and can’t wait to kick the year off with Stone Broken and Jared James Nichols as well as playing Planet Rock’s Winter’s End Festival. Also we have Steelhouse a little later in the year and that is going to be insane. We’re just raring to get back on the road!
As you have had lots of success this year, do you have any tips for young bands that might be starting out as to how best to promote themselves?
The best way is to play and get out there in front of people; word of mouth is such a good way but also thanking the people who help you, like the sound guys/girls and the people who help put the shows on. It goes a long way, and you couldn’t do it without them.
What’s the best venue you’ve played in this year, and are there any venues that you haven’t played yet that you’d like to?
The Camden Assembly and the Lexington have been some of my favourites from this year, and we’re really looking forward to playing the venues on tour that we haven’t been to before. Winter’s End looks like it’s going to be awesome, too.
That’s a great line-up!
Are there any plans for The Bad Flowers to tour outside of the UK?
We would love to get out and play more shows in Europe; we have done a few already but we’re hoping to line up a longer tour in the future and possibly some of the European festivals.
If you could pick one song that sums up 2017 for you and the band, what would that be?
I’m going to have to go with Bachman Turner Overdrive “Takin’ Care of Business”. For one, it’s a great song and always on in the van at some point when we’re on the road, and it’s what we hope we have done this year and will be doing more of in 2018.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Tom! Wishing you and the band continued success in 2018! 🙂
The Bad Flowers’ debut album “Starting Gun” is released on Friday 16th February.
They tour the UK with Stone Broken and Jared James Nichols from Thursday 22nd February.
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