Band: The Badlees
Members: Pete Palladino, vocals; Bret Alexander, guitar; Paul Smith, bass; Ron Simasek, drums
Who we talked to: Alexander
What places in the region do you like to play? We're playing Gullifty's, and we played there back in the day. A lot of places are gone. There was a place in Harrisburg called The Metron we used to play all the time. (There were) outdoor festivals in the summer time. Harrisburg has kind of been a regular stop for us because we're from not far from there.
What groups have you toured with? We did a lot of touring. We toured with The Allman Brothers Band a lot (as well as) Bob Seger (and) Edwin McCain. We did some dates with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. When you get on the label and get out there and start touring, you get to play with a lot of your heroes growing up.
Have you been in the studio recently? That's where I'm at right now. (Laughs) We're doing a double album this time, which is ... probably our biggest project to date. That'll be out probably at the end of summer next year. (It's) mostly new material. There are one or two songs that were sitting on a shelf for a little while. As far as the theme goes, it's kind of developing as we speak.
Does the recording process ever get easier? It's a little bit different each time. Your skill set kind of grows. You go in with a certain amount of confidence. That's just experience. You have amazing days and average days. You're always getting better at it.
Who are your influences? Of course, The Beatles were a big influence. I love Tom Waits (and) Steve Earle. The Badlees were really into The Band. (We like) a lot of groups that were really songwriter based. Some bands ... do a lot of jamming. We were always more of a tight structured, stick-to-the-song kind of group.
Are you into any new bands? I love Death Cab for Cutie. I like Ray LaMontagne. I work as a producer a lot, so I have to listen to new stuff. I'm always working with younger bands and younger musicians. I try to keep up on things.
Promoters like to say that this area is big for music because it's situated between big cities. That was kind of how we did it with our group back in the day. Within three (or) four hours we could get to a pretty big (part) of the East Coast population. You can go to these cities and play gigs and still drive home that night. The touring costs of doing that are much better. You're kind of ... in the middle of the spokes of a wheel.
Are there any places in the country that have been great to play? We did really well in Texas. We actually did pretty well in California - like in Los Angeles (and) San Francisco. We had a lot of fun in Chicago, Detroit and places like that. There (are) pockets ... that have their own little scene ... and vibe to their town. Sometimes, you just end up with friends and radio friends in different areas who will help spread the word, and you'll keep going back to those places.
These days, social media seems to be the way to reach fans. We use all the same tools every other young band uses. We plan to keep doing more of that. The bread and butter for an independent band is playing live. You can get your music to anybody online ... but everyone else can do that, too. (Fans) have to hear about you from somewhere or fall in love with you for some reason, and the best way to do that is on stage.
Will your set on Saturday include holiday tunes? We have a couple of holiday songs that we've done over the years that we'll probably play. We did a cover of the Heat Miser song from "The Year Without a Santa Claus." We have one or two others that we'll probably break out. I can't remember how many years running this is for Gullifty's around the holiday season. We'll be playing old stuff (and) there are about half a dozen new songs we try to play. It's for us to get a reaction and to ... test drive (the songs).
What's coming up for you in 2013? There's a movie coming out that has a huge amount of our music in it. That will probably (come out) around the same time the record comes out. It's a feature film that ... is loosely inspired by our band. We're going to definitely be doing some more touring and more playing. The record itself is our biggest project to date. That's keeping me personally busy right now.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
The Badlees' 2012 Holiday Bash is Saturday at Gullifty's Underground, 1104 Carlisle Road, Camp Hill. Doors open at 8 p.m. Music starts at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The show will feature special guest Farley.
For details, call 717-761-6692 or visit www.gulliftys.net.
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