Pumping out riffs inspired by the likes of AC/DC, ZZ Top, Mӧtley Crϋe, Aerosmith and Mӧtorhead, Bad Actress is a hard-hitting blues-infused rock band, with a healthy dose of eighties glam.
This award-winning young band from north Scotland has more than 70 live shows under their belts.
Highlights of 2019 include releasing their debut EP, ‘Low Down and Dirty’, with title track video and mini-tour; scooping the top prize in ‘Rock Factor Highland’; and opening for US supergroup, The Lost Angels, in Glasgow.
In 2018 they won the Soundwired MHA Battle of the Bands and came 3rd in the Dundee West Fest Battle of the Bands. They released the single ‘Actin’ like an Animal’, and opened the very first ‘Monsterfest’ rock festival, headlined by The Dead Daisies.
Initially, under the name ‘Arcade’, Bad Actress formed in 2017, with Struan McFarlane (then 15), his brother Lewis (13) and Thomas Bell (20). Ross McFarlane (17) joined on lead vocals and Gareth Mair took over on bass in December 2018.
About The Band:
For any of our readers who are unfamiliar with yourself / yourselves tell us a little bit about your band/project.
Tommy B: We are a 5 piece hard rock band from Scotland. We Take our inspiration from the famous rock bands of the 80s. Think motley crue, Acdc, poison. Lots of guitar solos and screaming vocals to make your ears bleed.
Chick: We are loud, energetic and big on a live show.
What was your earliest memory of music that piqued your interest?
Tommy B: My pal came round to my house one night when we were about 13 and stuck on YouTube. He Fired up “walk this way” by Aerosmith featuring Run DMC. Now before this i was really into rap artists. Much to my regret. So this was a clever way to ease me into real music haha.
Chick: Watching AC/DC blow up your video, on video tape!
Who was the first album/single you purchased?
Tommy B: I remember having high voltage by ACDC but can’t remember how I got it. First album I bought myself with my own money was “Black ice” by ACDC. More modern side of their catalogue. A Very soulful sounding record at times.
Chick: Bon Jovi – These Days, about 20p out a charity shop.
Lui: First one I remember getting was AC/DC’s high voltage
When did you first pick up your respective instrument / or start singing?
Chick: Picked up a guitar when I was 3 or 4 then started drums instead at 7, then at 8 went back to guitar and I’ve stuck with it since.
Lui: Think when I was 4 or 5 chick got a drum kit for Christmas and I had a go for the first time.
What route did you take with your music/instrument / lessons/music school / self-taught and any fond memories of that journey?
Tommy B: I started playing guitar shortly being introduced to Rock n roll. I just stuck on YouTube and watched my favorite bands play my favorite songs and just try to pluck away until it sounded half decent.
Lui: Chick taught me my first couple of beats when I was tiny, then started lessons for a while but stopped a few years ago now.
Who was your hero’s as a young musician that inspired and pushed you to want to be a musician too?
Tommy B: The late/Great Malcolm Young. Just the sheer rawness of his tone and playing style made me want to jam away and be like him. Going on stage with Bad actress gives me a chance to pretty much pretend to be him for a short time haha
Lui: Some drummers were Phil Rud, Steven Adler and Tommy Lee, and bands such as AC/DC, Guns n Roses and Def Leppard.
Is there one particular album or song that gave you a “Eureka” moment from your youth that made you want to be a musician?
Tommy B: Nah it’s all kinda a blur, no doubt involved ACDC.
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended?
Tommy B: It’s a close call between seeing acdc on the black ice tour but I was in the stands and I was about 12 or so. Or Megadeth on the super collider tour. That was a great gig coz I was so into Thrash metal at the time and Megadeth was my all-time favorite metal band.
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Tommy B: Akon. Man’s got a good voice.
So any new music in the works currently or just released?
Chick: We have a couple of new tunes to be released soon.
Where and when did you record it?
Tommy B: We went back to “Captain Toms” in Aberdeen at the end of 2019. Same Place we recorded our “low down n Dirty” ep.
How does the songwriting process generally work for you?
Chick: Usually one of us will have an idea and we’ll give it a jam and all throw in our say, then see what happens.
Lui: For me usually I might give a couple ideas for the structure or timing but apart from that I mostly leave it to the guitarists.
What route have you taken to build up and establish a fan base locally & beyond your local area?
Tommy B: We just went down the route of giving our all for every gig we do and making sure we give the people in the audience a night to remember. We want to make an impression and we don’t mind if it’s a bad impression every now and then.
What is the music scene like locally to you and where do you fit in?
Tommy B: A lot of metal bands. It’s a very close community. It’s hard to say where we fit in. While everyone is Singing rough aggressive songs, we are just the nutters in the corner wearing leopard print and singing about woman and the occasional hard drug. Hard to fit in when you are stuck in the 80s haha. I highly recommend checking out some Bands from the highlands of Scotland.
Do you feel there are enough venues around you to help promote and establish up and coming bands like yourself?
Tommy B: definitely. How long for I’m not sure. There is talks about getting rid of two of the venues in Inverness. It’s a shame coz there is plenty of venues in inverness but when it comes to Rock/metal there is only a few.
What would you like to see ideally to help hard-working bands/artists get better exposure and opportunities to make a living from their craft?
Tommy B: I’d like to see the local radio station in my area take on or even just play some original material from the local bands. Gives the people the low down on what’s happening at their door step.
What is the best piece of advice you have received on your journey thus far?
Tommy B: “Don’t piss of the sound engineer”. Try live my life by that saying haha
Chick: A personal favorite is when another musician said to me; “You’re a rock band… be a rock band. If that means throwing a tv out the window… throw a tv out the window!”
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learned on your journey to date?
Tommy B: Always going to be people that hate what you’re doing. Don’t try to change to fit their preference. Don’t expect everyone to like it. Just do what makes you happy and fuck the rest of them.
With the music industry always constantly changing – how have you had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape?
Tommy B: I don’t think we’ve had to really. Don’t think we’ve been around long enough to feel the need to change.
Does the introduction of New Technology / Digital Age / Social Media etc enhance your life as a musician or do you feel it can be more of a hindrance?
Chick: We’ve been using social media and digital technology since we started so it’s hard to compare really. I suppose there are ups and downs, just gotta get used to using it.
So moving forward what’s next for you?
Chick: I think a Tour is next for us, and then back to the studio I guess!
Lui: Hopefully to travel to some new places and play gigs to some new faces
How do you see the evolution of the band / yourself as an artist?
Chick: Onwards and upwards is the hope!
Do you have any short-term or long-term goals in mind?
Tommy B: Honestly. To quite the 9 to 5 job and focus on music. But at the same time that’s a really tough goal to achieve.
If you could tour with any band or artists who would that be?
Chick: There’s loads of bands I’d love to tour with but I think Pretty Wild would be my first choice at the moment.
Tommy B: ACDC, Aerosmith or Motorhead would have been amazing.
Music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oKxlIGIn2E