Last November was a difficult moment for Stacy Dee and the ladies of Bad Cop/Bad Cop. While on tour with The Interrupters last November, the news broke that Donald Trump won the election for President of the United States. "We ended the night in tears," Dee remarked in a phone interview with Shameless. "The next three days were super hard with driving in the van and where we had to drive through."
These kind of moments helped define a new direction for the band, though. Observing the current state of the world and the injustice that people were encountering led them in the direction of Warriors, their immaculate sophomore album from Fat Wreck Chords, a flawless collection of punk rock tracks that perfectly depict a group of four women that want to inspire others to stand up for what they believe in and live their lives to the fullest.
Bad Cop/Bad Cop will be performing at the Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival in Concord, and we got to chat with Stacy Dee, vocalist and guitarist for the band. We spoke with Dee about touring after Election Night, the meaning behind the term Warriors, and how playing the Punk In Drublic Festival came about.
In your opinion, how would you say that Bad Cop/Bad Cop has progressed as songwriters and musicians with the release of Warriors, in comparison to 2015’s Not Sorry?
Oh man, I’d say that we grew leaps and bounds. We went from writing that touched on a few things…like, I wrote “Sugarcane”, which touched on domestic abuse and some issues. But we were on tour with The Interrupters last year when the election happened. We were in Georgia, a red state. We couldn’t believe it. We ended the night in tears, and then the next three days were super hard with driving in the van and where we had to drive through.
We would meet people in gas stations, where we would all casually kind of say, “….we’re kind of all fucked, aren’t we? We have to stick together.” Our producer, Davey, had written us on the road and said, “What are some topics that you really want to talk about?” It got us all thinking. I wrote to him with a few things, and one of the things that stood out to him was “my life, my right, my vagina, my Great Wall of China”. And that’s kind of where “Womanarchist” got its form, from us talking about that. It’s my life, I get my chance to live on this planet Earth right now, and I’m going to fucking fight for I am, and who everybody is. That’s really what that song is all about.
We decided to take some real stands on this new record in comparison to the last one. On [Not Sorry], there wasn’t all of this stuff going on in the world. I mean, it was, but it certainly wasn’t highlighted. We live in California, where we really thought that the rest of the county really felt the way that California feels about things. That just isn’t the case. We were driving through all of America, and we didn’t see Hillary [Clinton] signs anywhere. It was Trump signs everywhere we went in middle America. It was kind of like, “Whoa…what is this?”
It’s really freaky. Going off of what you said, I definitely agree that it’s been there, but this has made it more amplified, in that sense.
And that could be looked at as a positive as well. With things being hidden, you can’t do the justice or fight for the way to fix it. The truth is, this planet is sick and sad. It’s time to figure out how to untwist the sadness in people so that there isn’t fighting and jealousy and weirdness. Life is not about that.
What does the term Warriors represent in regards to the theme or overall messages of the album?
When we got back together as a band after we had a little falling out because I had hit some hard times, we were like, “this is about equality, justice, and honesty.” Everybody in the band wanted that. We were going back and forth about the name of the record, and I just kept saying “warriors. That’s a good one.” We couldn’t think of anything better. Then Jenny and I were going over the cover art. We were thinking about like tarot cards and things like that. I pulled up the Lady Justice, and we started reading about it. We were like, “oh my god, this is exactly it.” We want to live in a world that’s equal, balanced, fair and honest, and filled with good stuff across the board instead of fighting with each other and being jealous with each other, not taking accountability, and blaming everyone else for having a shitty life.
We’re kind of “warriors” in the sense of…you know, people that are less, I would say educated, would say we’re social justice warriors going out to do, you know, “women stuff”. It’s not about that in any way whatsoever. We’re warriors that want to help people free themselves from the confines of their fucking selves. Nobody’s ever going to get better or reach the kind of happiness in their lives without letting go of some of the stuff we’ve been taught our whole goddamn lives. That’s kind of what Warriors was about. When Jenny drew [the artwork], it was amazing! One foot in the material world, one foot in the spirit world, just really equally balanced. (laughs)
We are willing to go out to try to spread the positivity and happiness to try to get people to find it in themselves, man. To go for their dreams, to live it, and to do it in an honest and pure way.
To shift gears for a moment, to talk about the Punk In Drublic festival. When did Fat Wreck Chords come into the picture for the band, how did the idea to have you guys invovled in the festival come about?
It’s pretty crazy, if you look at the festival lineup. It’s like, Bad Religion! NOFX! Less Than Jake! Goldfinger! And then Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and you’re like “What the fuck?” (laughs) I have known Mike [Fat Mike, vocalist/bassist for NOFX] for years and years, in the punk rock world. I’ve been in bands forever that’s he’s seen. I’ve opened for other Fat Wreck Chords bands in my local San Francisco band. We had always been familiar with each other and liked each other. And he’s always liked my voice. When he was doing the musical [Home Street Home], he had me in to sing a few parts. It turned out that I got the role of Sue, who was the main character of the musical. We worked on that for like five fucking years. It was a long, arduous situation filled with good, bad and everything in between. One night, we were in a session, and Mike’s partner Soma said “hey, Fat Wreck Chords should put out something with your band!” I was like, “You guys should come see us play.” They came to see us play, and Mike told me, “if you guys sound good on this shitty sound system, I’m going to put out an EP with you.” And we did it, and we partied that night, and it was fucking awesome. Mike said, “we’re going to put out your EP.” And I was like, “Fuck yeah!”
Three days later, I got a call from him and he said, “Hey. We’re gonna sign Bad Cop/Bad Cop.” And I said, “Are you fucking with me?!” My ears swelled up, I couldn’t hear for like a month! I was like, “Really? What? What?” It’s something you work for your whole fucking life, you know what I mean? I had been around Mike and Aaron, and I just appreciated everything that they had done for music, and for punk rock music, especially. I really wanted to be part of that family.
We got our opportunity to do our firs record, and Mike did some producing on that record as well. We built that relationship. When we were coming to do the second record, we went up to work with Mike like we usually do. We’re going through the songs and stuff, making some changes. He’s got some really great ideas, so it’s always great to work with him, and go up there with twenty songs and then pin down the ones that you really want to put on the record. We did that, and then two weeks later, he said, “hey, what’s going on with the record?” I said, “We’ve been recording already, I’m almost done singing!” He says, “Wait! I’m coming down there!” He did eventually, but he went into Skype sessions with us, for like five or six hours a night in the studio. We really tore these songs apart and put them back together with him, with Davey, with the girls and myself. We all worked together. He said, “I think I might have something really big for you guys.” He didn’t tell us what it was. He told us that it was the Punk in Drublic festival, and we were like, “oh my god!” And then it happened. (laughs)
What do you hope fans take away from Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s music, whether they’re seeing you live or listening to your records?
I really hope that people take away the fact that we’re just trying to bring happiness and positivity to some real topics. We talk about this stuff, and we’re not beating anybody down with it, but we bring a lot of really great energy, positivity and happiness. You can see that when we play. It’s not a pre-conceived glamour fest up there; we are who we are, and we just want to show that anybody can do it. If you have a passion that you are burning up about, get started on making that your life, you know? We are women in our thirties and forties, and this is happening for us now, and that’s amazing. I just want people to take away the message that life is important to live, in a way that makes you happy.
What does music mean to you?
Music is life. Music is life to me. Pure form of imagination brought to life, man. God, it’s amazing.
Punk In Drublic Fest comes to Concord, CA at Concord Pavilion on October 14th. You can purchase tickets by visiting www.punkindrublicfest.com.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.