Their Nashville contemporaries point out that Bad Cop has not “paid their dues.” They never went to college, they got signed too quickly and performed at shows out of their league…but isn’t that what happens with all great rock ‘n’ roll bands?
Bad Cop began in 2009 with singer/songwriter Adam Christopher Moult. His coming-of-age tale is one often romanticized: troubled teen gets sent off to a prison alternative for two years with only a guitar to keep him sane — but there was nothing glamorous about the experience. During that time, Moult began writing songs that reflected his anguish. When he returned to public school, he met Alexander Hartness, the Richards to his Jagger, and the seeds of Bad Cop began to sprout.
Firmly planted outside of the political spectrum, loud, unabashed and fluent in Jay Reatard principles, Bad Cop quickly became the interest of one of the oldest punk labels and found its members singing a record deal just four months after starting the band. Under ROIR Records (MC5, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys), Bad Cop released Harvest the Beast and headed to NYC to shape musical sensibilities and test their sound in front of tougher crowds. A weekly residency in the Lower East Side proved their marketability—and another in Philadelphia cemented it.
Returning to Nashville, Moult’s decision to shed Bad Cop of its former skin and take cues from their neo-psych influences, Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols proved successful. After a change in lineup, Bad Cop was writing new songs and opening for Cage the Elephant, who were so impressed that CTE guitarist Brad Shultz produced Bad Cop’s latest release, The Light On EP, and also hand-picked the band to play CTE’s curated Starry Nights Music Festival in 2012.
The Light On EP is a collection of well-crafted pop glam, with attention to arrangement and timing, most notably on the title track. Lyrically, Bad Cop cruises down a different highway of aesthetics than the blitzkrieg of Nashville “party bands” who craft songs about chugging 6-packs and ripping bongs. With Moult, it’s refreshing to see an artist dig a bit deeper. Whether he’s singing about unrequited love or the desire to escape a world full of false presumptions, he does so with conviction and sincerity. “We care way more about our message and ability to craft a memorable song than bothering with a certain ‘punk vibe’ or trend that’s been done hundreds of times this year alone” said Moult.
Live, Bad Cop has become a favorite among the CMJ crowd, having played the NYC festival in 2010, 2012 and 2013, sharing stages with Foxygen, Sleepies, Team Spirit and Emma Louise. In 2011, a huge following quickly ensued after Bad Cop played Crocodile’s NXNE showcase, and like all great bands do, Bad Cop turned the folks on at SXSW in 2013, opening for Local Natives and The Virgins for Frenchkiss Records’ showcase. Word quickly traveled of their raucous energy on stage so much so that Bad Cop went from underground Nashville band to an international interest, gaining a following in Argentina, India, Canada, Mexico City, and Paris. Offstage, the band works just as hard running Jeffrey Drag Records, a label whose roster includes Natural Child, Turbo Fruits and Ranch Ghost. What’s even more impressive is the label signed with Frenchkiss Label Group four months after obtaining an LLC. At the moment, the band is writing their second record. Get excited — Bad Cop is here to play their asses off and they’ve actually got something to say.
“It occurred to me -Bad Cop weren’t beating the same dead horse every white American with a guitar was. They were living and breathing real distortion, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Needless to say, I left the show a convert.”- Death & Taxes
“[The Light On EP] gnashes frenzied guitar and fidgety rhythms across a total of five raucous tracks ”
– SPIN Magazine
“Plan a rebellion with “Light On” as background music.” – The Kenched
“Bad Cop make the kind of music you can shake your ass to… In other words, go see them.”
– Exploding in Sound
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