Artist Spotlight: Badflower Puts New Vigor Into Riff-Driven Guitar Rock
For serious music fans, the near-absence of guitar-based rock music on contemporary radio has long been a source of frustration. Up-and-coming band Badflower probably can’t change that, but for anyone searching for a young group cast in a classic rock-radio mold, the L.A.-based quartet is a godsend. Comprised of Josh Katz (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joe Morrow (lead guitar), Alex Espiritu (bass), and Anthony Sonetti (drums), Badflower evokes a time when memorable guitar riffs were paramount, when music was honestly rendered and not artificially crafted through studio chicanery.
In an interview last year with a website called rottenamerica.com, Katz talked about the band’s modus operandi. “We simply write rock songs,” he said. “We write a lot of heavy riffs and we never settle and we never play it safe. We always think, ‘Is this going to work on a mainstream scale?’ No? Then good, let’s write it.”
Prior to the “birth” of Badflower, three of the band’s members honed their skills in a group called The Cartunes, performing regularly at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood. Adopting their new moniker in January of 2013, the quartet solidified their growing fan base with a series of showcase performances at that year’s SXSW festival. A subsequent EP, About a Girl, garnered rave reviews, with critics citing Katz’s arena-ready voice (think shades of Rush’s Geddy Lee, shorn of the histrionics), the no-nonsense guitar-centric sound, and the darkly sublime themes evident in the lyrics.
“I think the darker elements of human behavior are so much more interesting to write about than the basic boring type,” observes Katz. “I think everybody knows about love and has had that experience, but everybody has also had the dark experiences and I don’t think they are often done justice in songs. I have fun trying to tap into the deep, dark psyche of human nature in a way that people can feel it.”
Badflower’s hard work and talent are beginning to pay off in a big way. A recent single, “Heroine,” reached the Number One spot on L.A.’s KROQ “Locals Only” list, and a strong social media presence continues to attract legions of fans. Best of all, legendary fashion designer John Varvatos recently signed the group to his record company, which operates under the umbrella of major label Republic Records. A new EP, titled Temper, is slated for release on 11/14/16.
“These guys are the real deal,” says Varvatos. “They write killer songs with amazing hooks. Badflower are everything that’s missing from rock music today.” To hear what the excitement and buzz is all about, check out the YouTube videos below.