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Big In Japan

Rumors surround Japan tour for Los Angeles band Bad Rabbit.

The initial groundwork of Los Angeles-based Bad Rabbit was constructed in the unlikeliest of locations and situations — at least for this unpretentious, friendship-based Southern California rock outfit. The place: a limousine. The event: a bachelor party with strippers dancing inside of the limo. Yet, what would’ve made for the ideal setting for the creation of a Sunset Strip glam-metal band in the ‘80s seemed like an absurdity to Bad Rabbit.

“Doug [Forsdick, vocals, guitar] and I were talking about starting this band when we were at a friend’s bachelor party, in the limo, sitting between a bunch of strippers,” says bassist Jon Spence. “The strippers were really lame, so he and I started talking about music. They were just so idiotic that we ignored the whole thing.”

While the rest of the party were entertained by the scantily clad females in the limo, Spence and Forsdick were quickly hatching plans and forming a musical friendship that’s now lasted the better part of four years.

In fact, with the release of Bad Rabbit’s self-titled debut disc, the casual chat amongst friendly musicians has turned into an outstandingly fresh musical amalgamation of rock, dub, fusion, jazz and pop, metaphorically filed somewhere between albums by The Police, Queens of the Stone Age, John Frusciante, Elvis Costello and Miles Davis.

Initially created by Berklee music school graduate Forsdick in 2002, Bad Rabbit began performing locally in the Santa Monica area, opting to cut its teeth at any local bar up and down Lincoln Blvd., rather than to wedge its way into the often fickle and crowded Los Angeles club scene.

“When the band first started, Doug and I were just sick of being in bands. We just wanted to have some fun with it. We got really sick of the whole club scene and wanted to play music just to play music,” says Spence.

Foregoing the big city grind felt good to Bad Rabbit, which shared bills with acts like legendary bassist Mike Watt. Yet, although the band knew what it wanted musically, it admittedly took some serious time to truly refine its sound.

“We started off more like a reggae band,” says Spence of the band’s infancy. “But all of us worship The Police. Doug and Paul [Morris, drums] are into King Crimson and fusion, so certain times you’ll hear a weird jazz chord or something like that.”

On stage, Bad Rabbit simply aim to please, but generally offer a unique twist to their standard fare. Though the quartet is schooled and inspired by improvisational-based genres, Spence quickly notes that improvisation isn’t a part of the band’s repertoire.

“I don’t like bands that will play the same song live as it is on the record,” he says. “So we’ll do the bridge differently, or we have a saxophone player that comes up to play with us every once in a while. We just try to stay away from the jam band format, where they’ll stretch out a part for 20 minutes. We like to do our parts differently.”

With a few years of stage experience and virtuoso musician Chris Thom added on guitar, Bad Rabbit decided to commit their unique tracks to disc. Armed with a borrowed drum set for Morris (who still doesn’t have own his own kit) and Forsdick’s background as a studio technician, the band didn’t have to look any further than its own studio location to get things in gear for tracking its most solid material.

“He’s got a knack for getting the most out of the little of what we have,” says Spence of Forsdick. “The disc was basically recorded in a 200 square-foot room.”

The results are rather astonishing — an incredibly varied mix of the aforementioned styles encapsulates Bad Rabbit’s musical vision within a tidy, tight seven-song offering.

Launching with the twisting accented riffs of “Back 2 One,” Bad Rabbit’s debut quickly winds its way through the act’s trademark groove-oriented material. “Pulling Strings,” one of Bad Rabbit’s older songs, features thick, intricate guitar riffing, inspired by the guitar stylings of The Police’s Andy Sommers. “Blue Sky” is a combustible cocktail of melancholy vocals and a towering, spiraling melody. The dark, brooding “Easy To Tell” sports a steady eighth-note backing, breaking into gorgeous arpeggiated guitar chords in the choruses.

With a recording wrapped and ready, Bad Rabbit is looking forward to building the act into an established entity, breaking into larger markets with a new confidence in tow. “We’ve kept it pretty mellow but now we’ve reignited the fire under our asses,” says Spence, who reiterates that he’s still trying to keep the project fun at the same time. “I don’t think any of us in the band have delusions of being huge rock stars, but we could definitely tour steadily and make this our living.”

Of course, the initial friendship that created Bad Rabbit in the first is of the utmost importance — even if the act aims to pursue higher ventures.

“Everybody in the band truly are friends,” says Spence. “Being in bands for a while, that’s a first for me. We actually look forward to going to practice. Now that the band has established solid friendships, sitting around talking in between beers, we’re just like, ‘Hey, let’s just play the game a little bit and see what happens.’”

by-Waleed Rashidi


Doug Forsdick – vocals, guitar

Paul Morris – drums

Jon Spence - bass

Chris Thom - guitar

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