Interview: Bad Habit

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I recently had a chance to interview Joe Michelizzi, singer for up and coming Maryland hardcore band Bad Habit. For a band that’s been together only a short time, their demo was pretty exciting (and even had a touch of the silly). So, here’s what Joe had to say:

RnRnMN: How long have you been together?

Joe: We haven’t been together for very long. Technically we have been together since about July 2007. That is when we first got together and played music. It was only once though before Daniel, our drummer, went to Boston for about a month for a summer program at Berklee. He came back sometime in August and that is when we began to practice regularly and tried writing our own music. So I guess it has been about seven months or so. I feel, and hopefully others do to, that we have come a long way in that time.

RnRnMN: Do you have experience in previous bands?

Joe: All of us have previous experience in other bands. I have the least experience though, having only sang in one other band called Strange Days, more of a modern hardcore band. We didn’t play very many shows and we weren’t very good but it was fun nonetheless and definitely very worth the time and effort. Matt, our bassist, and Anthony, our guitarist, have been in and out of bands together since high school. They were also both in Strange Days. They were also in a metalcore band in high school called Ink the Heart. Daniel is the youngest of us all but is easily the best musician out of all of us. He played with a punk band early in high school called Shug Clowns and up until recently a metalcore band called For Better For Worse. We’re lucky to have him. It is so hard finding a drummer, and a good one at that.

RnRnMN: What band or album got you into punk/hardcore?

Joe: Integrity and Ten Yard Fight. Nah, I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t been in the hardcore community for a very long time, a couple years at most. I remember Dookie by Green Day being the first cd i ever bought, and I picked up Punk In Drublic by NOFX when i was about thirteen or fourteen. I still listen to that album all the time. I have to thank Minor Threat, The Descendents, and my brother though for getting me into hardcore. My brother went to college with some hardcore kids and he played bass so they all formed a band name Bail Out! even though he knew nothing about hardcore and wasn’t a fan. I was a junior in high school when they started and that’s when I started getting into everything. In early 2005, I took a day off of school and went on a weekend tour with Bail Out!. One of the shows they played was with Ruiner, Van Damage, and The Spark. It was at that show when I realized this shit was for me. I still remember everything about the show. Anyway, enough about me. I asked Anthony for his input on the question and he told me NOFX- Pump Up The Valuum did a lot for him and that My War by Black Flag was the angriest shit he ever heard and loved it. Daniel went with AFI, the Misfits, and Minor Threat. Matt, like always, was indecisive.

RnRnMN: Your sound is strongly rooted in early hardcore. What do you offer that’s new?

Joe: I don’t really like this question haha. I feel like answering it will force me to have a better opinion of my band than maybe I should, if that makes any sense? Also, I feel were equally influenced by the new as well as the old. Personally, I would say our biggest influences are Minor Threat, Black Flag, the Descendents, Outbreak, and Kid Dynamite. Its hard to bring something completely new and innovative to hardcore, a lot of shit has already been done time and time again and we don’t want to just remake an old album. I guess what we are trying to do is bring some intensity back into the scene and play fast as shit, and there are definitely some good bands that are doing something similar.

RnRnMN: From the looks of your schedule, it seems you’ll play shows at regular venues as well as basement shows. What are the ups and downs of both?

Joe: We play shows wherever we can get shows. Normally, we will only turn something down if one of the members can’t make it to the show or we truly feel we don’t fit or belong on a specific show. So far we have played in D.A.V./K.O.C. halls, basements, bars, holes in the wall, and of course Charm City Art Space. In April we are opening a show at the Ottobar on Modern Life Is War’s farewell tour. That will probably be our biggest show to date. I don’t really like playing on stages, I don’t know why. Thats probably the only downside of a bigger venue for me. The only other downs of any show I can think of would just be a lack of kids showing up, and we have definitely played to next to no one before. I would say our basement shows tend to draw less kids than a show at a regular venue. Basement shows are so personal though, it is kind of hard to not get into the bands playing. However, we have also had really fun crowds, and that is what really makes it all worth it. There is no other feeling like seeing kids you don’t know and will never meet sing songs that you wrote. But regardless of the crowd, shows are always fun because that is what it is all about. And if nothing else, at least we are getting in some extra practice.

RnRnMN: Have you had the opportunity to tour or are you largely playing fairly local shows?

Joe: As of now, we are a generally local band. We have only played one out of state show and that was at Championship Records in Lemoyne, PA. We would love to play any out of state show and hopefully we can play a lot more in the future. Touring is definitely on our to do list. It is going to be very hard considering most of us have jobs and go to school full-time, but we are going to find a way to make it happen. We actually have a small weekend tour this May, and if we can all get the time off, we will be heading up to Massachusetts in early April. On May 9th we will be in Pittsburgh, PA at the Roboto Project with Pulling Teeth, Gray Ghost, and the Pyramid Scheme. On May 10th we will be in York, PA for a basement show with Pulling Teeth, Gray Ghost, Trapped Under Ice, and a new band Re-Ignition, who will be playing their first show. Nothing is official for May 11th, but there are a couple people looking into something for us, so we should have word on that soon. We also have a one off date in Richmond at Ramakins on May 24 with The Reserve and some other locals. So if anyone sees this, and wants to see us somewhere in VA,PA,NY,NJ or any other area relatively close…we are down.

RnRnMN: What are the upcoming plans for Bad Habit?

Joe: Other than playing shows in and out of state and working on new songs, Bad Habit doesn’t really have any official plans. We are going to be making some t-shirts in the very near future. Right now, we are just trying to put the demo into the hands of everyone we can and get noticed. We send them out free to anyone who asks for one, but right now we are out. We should be making some more fairly soon. We’re not trying to rush anything. We have only written three new songs since our demo came out, so its not like we are brimming with material for any releases. If a label were to show interest, we would definitely be interested, but we feel we haven’t established ourselves enough to be looking into releasing a 7″ or anything. I think a split with another band would definitely be awesome and lay the groundwork for our own release. So really, just listen for some new songs live and look for some shirts on the merch table.

RnRnMN: Has Natalie Portman heard “Israeli Girl?”

Joe: Why did I know something about Ms. Portman was going to come up? Yes it is true, I have an enormous crush on Natalie Portman, and unfortunately she has not yet heard the song, at least not to my knowledge. She could be a closet hardcore fan, I dunno…I sure hope so. Everyone keeps telling me to send it to a fan club or something, so if I get some extra time I will probably look into it. I mean, if she hears it, I’m totally in. There is no way the song isn’t going to melt her heart, am I right?

RnRnMN: Pick your favorite from each pair:

Pick my favorite from each pair…ugh.

  • Beatles versus Stones – I am definitely going to go with the Stones on this one, mainly because I cannot get into the Beatles at all. Anthony will be very disappointed when he sees this…he is an enormous Beatles fan. Plus the Stones have “Paint It Black,” and that song kills.
  • Sex Pistols versus The Clash – Definitely The Clash, mainly because I own “London Calling” and own nothing from the Sex Pistols. To be honest, I’m not really a big fan of either. I’m such a shitty hardcore kid.
  • Minor Threat versus Black Flag – This one is hard. I love both bands to death. I’m gonna have to go with Minor Threat though, mainly because like i said earlier, they played a big part in getting me into hardcore. Nothing at all against Black Flag though, they are equally amazing.
  • NOFX versus The Descendents – This is my favorite one because both names popped up in the question about what got me into hardcore/punk. While Nofx will always hold a special place in my heart, I am going with The Descendents hands down. They are probably my favorite band ever. The Descendents are just sooooooooo good, you can’t dislike them, and if you do…fight me. Also, it would be pretty stupid of me to choose Nofx when I have Descendents tattoos.
  • Hot Water Music versus the Draft versus Chuck Ragan – Is it bad that I’ve never really listened much to any of them? I’m gonna go with Hot Water Music because they’re the only one of the group I’ve heard. I’m not big on folk so I’ve never really checked out Ragan’s solo stuff. Since I was never into HWM I’ve never even heard of the Draft until now.

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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