Punks Bad Girlfriend Introduce New Drummer And Chat City Culture

Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Connor Pope

“It was a £20 round,” says Connor as he returns from the bar at Cherry Reds. Ouch I think, before remembering that he owes me (and probably everyone else round the table) a drink. There’s four of us sitting in front of a sunny window on the second floor: Connor, Richie, Bad Girlfriend’s most recent addition Alex, and myself.

“Do you reckon I could smoke a cheeky fag out of the window?” jokes frontman and guitarist Connor Hemming.

If there’s one thing this punk band definitely isn’t lacking, it’s personality.

Bad Girlfriend have been a well-loved local band for several years now. Having recently lost drummer Billy, I’m interested to see what sounds his replacement, Alex Moulton, 27, will bring to the funked up punk that Bad Girlfriend usually play.

“Metal,” says Alex without blinking. Then, a waiter comes to ask if any of us have ordered a ‘hearty English’. None of us have, but we all offer to take it off his hands if he continues to struggle to find the correct recipient.

The waiter says it been 10 minutes, so Connor thinks he’s in with a shot.

“When I was a kid, I liked Metallica and Iron Maiden,” continues Alex, “but I don’t really bring that into Bad Girlfriend. I think there’s, maybe, a bit more aggression in my drumming than Billy.

“I like to hit the drums harder; the new sounds got a bit more oomph I would say.”

“Hearty English, no beans,” says an entirely different waiter. Connor’s ears prick.

“Another geezer has just come out,” says Connor “and I’ll tell you what i told him, we’re here my G.”

We all laugh, before Richie, 35, Bad Girlfriend’s bassist, refocuses us explaining the band’s main influences.

“60’s and 70’s garage rock, the early punk scene with Iggy and The Dolls, The Clash, basically lots of guitar music.

“Where me and Connor found common ground was in the punk scene – Cramps, Little Richard Hollar, heavy stuff.”

Connor jumps in: “It is mainly punk and that, but over the last year there’s been an emphasis on jazz and funk which has brought a real groove to the band and that’s cool.

“Sick and tired of violence at gigs you know? I want to see people boogie. I want to see some ass shaking, some love making, some heartbreaking… but I am a punk at heart.”

Bad Girlfriend are keen to let me know that they’ve got a whole new set, with eight new songs now Alex has joined the band – and the EP with their old song with Billy will be coming out next year.

Before we round up (and I inevitably get roped into more beers and musical chats) I want to know if Bad Girlfriend stands for anything in particular.

“We’re doing it for pure enjoyment. It’s not about making it,” says Connor, matter of fact, “just representing our city – it’s the greatest city on earth and some people don’t seem to care about it, especially the people in charge of the city.

“Birmingham’s such a mixed city. You could grow up in Solihull, but, like, you’re only 10 minutes away from Chelmsley Wood.”

“We don’t write to tick boxes, we write about our experiences of the city, of growing up in Birmingham,” adds Richie, “we’re very proud of our city.”

Bad Girlfriend will be playing together with Alex as their drummer for the first time on Thursday 1 September, at Kaleidoscope (which is free) at The Night Owl in Digbeth.

I’ll be there. And, even if punk music isn’t your thing, I’d still go because Connor’s known to chat some spectacular shit.

Bad Girlfriend – ‘Here it Comes’

Bad Girlfriend will be playing at Kaleidoscope, at The Night Owl, on Thursday 1 September – alongside Fitzroy Holt and Grave Palms. For more on the gig visit www.birmingham.thenightowl.club/event/kaleidoscope-bad-girlfriend-fitzroy-holt-grave-palms 

For more on Bad Girlfriend visit www.facebook.com/badgirlfriendbrum