Bad Mothers’ ‘Dirty Rock’ Dreams

The Albany-based lineup brings the grunge on their debut album
Will Fredette

Musicians often bristle at being compared to other bands, but not Bad Mothers.

“I think the Queens of the Stone Age reference makes all of us pretty happy,” singer/guitarist Matt Dalton says about recent write-ups on Bad Mothers’ liberating but masterful brand of dirty rock ‘n’ roll. “We’re pretty big Queens fans, but honestly, [the band’s sound] really is an amalgamation of a huge swath of influences.”

He looks to drummer Brian Chiappinelli, perched next to him on the sofa. “Like Brian is heavily into hip hop. Me, what I listen to changes a lot. Our other guitarist [Patrick Flores], he’s very into neo-soul right now. Our bass player, Kevin [Bohen], is very much into bands like IDLES and heavier metal and punk and hardcore. When we get together and make music, it sounds like us, a heavier, grungy kind of sound.”

There’s a hypnotic dance groove to some of the rhythms both on December’s self-titled debut LP and their tracks in progress. The rockers, who hail from New York’s capital city of Albany, have a ‘90s Seattle sound reminiscent of bands like Gruntruck and faster Soundgarden songs like “My Wave” and a dash of Royal Blood on tracks like “Everything Is Alright” and “Wasted,” two of Bad Mothers’ irresistibly catchy singles.

 

The tunes on their album serve up lyrics of an often-satirical nature.

“I don’t know [if] the album intentionally has a theme, but there is a common occurrence of that satirical take on whatever topic is for that song,” Dalton says. “But each song really takes its own form. This record is definitely very different from our EP, which was kind of a snapshot of how we were back in 2017. This is definitely an accurate snapshot of the sound we’re exploring right now.”

As proof of Bad Mothers’ diversified appeal, they’ve shared the stage with such disparate bands as Quiet Riot, Quicksand and Crazy Town. That’s not counting the times they’ve gotten floors shaking — quite literally — at punk rock-style basement house parties. And then there’s the backing of their new label, Black Country Rock, the Shooter Jennings-led company with a motto of “To Hell With Music.”

At first, Dalton admits with a laugh that he couldn’t believe that it was that Shooter — solo artist, producer extraordinaire and country royalty — who wanted to put out their record. In fact, he insisted to his dad that it was someone named “Scooter” Jennings. But no, it was Shooter who heard the seven-song Bad Mothers (completed by the band during the 2020 lockdown) and put it out through BCR in conjunction with the band’s own Almost Never Dead label.

Bad Mothers have come a long way since meeting at Albany’s College of St. Rose, where they released their first EP in 2017 through the school’s Rose Record Label Group. In fact, they launched with a different band moniker. For the first six months or so, they “were named after a friend of ours, Bonnie Mason,” Dalton explains. Turns out being called the Bonnie Masons wasn’t so great, as she was a musician and visual artist herself. “Why we thought that wouldn’t cause conflict, I don’t know.”

“Yeah, I already spray-painted my bass drumhead with a BM logo!” Chiappinelli adds. So the band sought to at least keep the BM initials, which was accomplished by choosing their existing name.

As Bad Mothers work to launch themselves during ever-changing pandemic regulations, each member contributes to different facets of the band business.

“I didn’t finish college,” Chiappinelli admits. That said, he’s a go-getter who thrives on cold-calling and emailing potential business contacts. “What I took away from school was networking,” the drummer says. “I was able to have a mentor through an internship who taught me that you have the most amazing tool in the world in your hand, and that’s your phone.” His takeaway? “You can be on it at all times, hustling, making new connections who are relevant and moving things forward.”

While his drummer is schmoozing, Flores focused on the visuals, creating commercial-quality videos. “All three of our music videos, he shot with his own gear and edited himself,” says Dalton. Meanwhile, Bohen, who handles business around the band’s rehearsal space and studios to record demos in addition to creating promotional material with Photoshop and Illustrator.

“We’re lucky that we can kind of slice [the duties] up. No matter where we are, we’re busy. And Brian’s always got something going on,” Dalton affirms. “He’s not playing Candy Crush. He is making moves all the time. If you’re not making moves, you’re standing still.”

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