HAMONT feminist punk four-piece Bad Crush released their self-titled debut in 2020.
Hamilton four-piece Bad Crush debuted their self-titled EP back in 2020, the six tracks attached exploring themes of feminism, revenge, and youth culture through a surf punk-y Riot grrrl lens. Bad Crush is made up of vocalist Paige Thompson, guitarist Mack Langton, bassist Luther Griggs and drummer Mandy Benoualid.
The band's feminist messages stem from Thompson's Riot grrrl roots.
"My inspirations vocally are Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon, and Allison Wolfe," said Thompson. "They inspire me to speak up as a woman, not shy away, and scream my truth."
Griggs' hardcore background introduces a heavy edge to the group's sound.
"I was listening to a lot of Tiger Trap and The Halo Benders around the inception of the Bad Crush, and wanted to play songs that people could potentially dance to, and would also make me happy rather than just angry or sad- something I could confidently share with my parents," said Griggs. "The Men, TV Freaks, and Jay Reatard were also big influences for me when we started. The unfortunately defunct Connecticut band Chalk Talk is also a big influence that Mack, Mandy and I have all repeatedly turned to for influence as well."
Bad Crush started putting together Bad Crush in January of 2019, but wasn't completed until April of 2020.
"The EP is basically a collection of all the first songs we wrote," said Griggs. "We had been playing every song on there live, except "Dump Your Cheater Boyfriend", for at least a year before we recorded it. I think it’s safe to say we procrastinate a lot, so it did take a bit of time to finally get the songs recorded, but I’m happy we did. By the time we recorded, the songs had changed a lot and I think the versions we recorded are far better than when they were initially written. I think we’re in a lot more of a confident and concise headspace since putting out the EP. Hopefully it will take less than two years to get it done next time!"
The recording and production processes were both group efforts.
"We were all involved with the recording of our EP, and it was fun to see everyone’s separate parts come together," said Thompson. "Luther and Vince spearheaded the production process."
"I think we were initially very in our heads about the process and way over-complicated things in the beginning, until we were able to step back and realize that we’re a punk band and should just bang it out," said Griggs. "Our good friend Vince Soliveri recorded the instrumentals here in Hamilton in his parent’s basement, which I like to call "Turmoil Court". Then we recorded vocals in the living room of his apartment, which was super fun. He also mixed it, and then Mandy handed it off to her friend Matt Cartman to master it."
The first, and title track, "Bad Crush", is pretty self-explanatory.
"This track is about those bad crushes we get," said Thompson. "The ones that we know are wrong, but we still go for it anyways, even though it usually results in disaster."
"Once we had landed on the name Bad Crush for our band, we thought it would be cool to use the song as the band’s anthem," said Griggs. "I also don’t think we’d be fairly considered a punk band if our band, the EP, and at least one song weren’t all titled the same thing."
"Dead Man's Pool" is about a girl that seeks revenge on a harassing, objectifying man.
"We jokingly came up with this story together during practice and it turned into one of our favorite tracks," said Thompson. "It centers around a girl pissed off that she has to deal with unsolicited comments from a man while at the pool. And so she stabs him in the pool, but everyone just thinks it’s period blood."
"Average Joe" was the first track Bad Crush created as a band.
"Prior to me joining on vocals, Mandy, Luther and Mack had created an instrumental they had named "Average Joe"," said Thompson. "When writing the lyrics for this track, I thought about what an average joe meant to me. Average Joe is about men who love to manipulate women, and make them feel crazy. It’s about men who are mentally and physically abusive, about those who push boundaries with women, and think they are “cool” enough to get away with it. I wrote this to call out to the average joes who have manipulated me."
The fourth track on the EP pays homage to the jobless, broke years of your early 20s.
""RRSP" has those starving artist vibes," said Thompson. "The “I don’t want to work anymore ever again in my life”, vibes. I’m counting on those RRSPs to help me out one day."
Thompson tells listeners to "Dump Your Cheater Boyfriend" on Bad Crush's fifth song.
"This track revolves around a story many of us may find familiar," said Thompson. "A friend has a cheating, lying boyfriend but they won't leave his side, defends him, and doesn’t hold him accountable, all the while taking the pain out on friends trying to help. This track encompasses all the things I have wanted to say, or scream, while in this situation- my anger and frustration that women make so many excuses for the men who just don’t give a shit!"
The finale, "Toy Guns", has a double meaning.
"I wrote this track as a way to play with the concept of being a modern day cowboy, while addressing the very real endless amount of gun violence that takes place in the U.S.," said Thompson.
At the end of the day, Bad Crush hopes their music provides their listeners with an outlet to help relieve some distress.
"I hope that people can relate to the life experiences I write about and know they aren’t alone," said Thompson. "I hope it makes listeners angry and riled up, because it should! No one should be complacent or apathetic. And then by the end of listening to it, feel some sort of catharsis or release after dancing and screaming along."
You can help support the band by playing their music on all streaming services, following their socials, and by donating to their Bandcamp linked below.
"We'll also be finally releasing some tapes along with some merch in the coming months," said Thompson. "Keep a look out on our Instagram for updates!"
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)