QUITE how five musicians from Norfolk can emerge from the East of England with a sound which evokes the best of Southern rock is a mystery which even Bad Touch’s lead singer Stevie Westwood can’t explain.
“Our sound is completely natural,” said Stevie, who with Bad Touch will be at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge on Friday alongside Broken Witt Rebels as part of the Roadstars tour.
“It’s just the sound that we make and yet everyone has labelled us as wannabe Southern Rockers. We love the Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd and obviously that influence shines through in our music but we never set out to be like that.
“We’ve never said we sound American it’s always someone else who does.”
Bad Touch, along with BWR, are at the forefront of a new generation of young British blues rock bands bringing a whole new audience to classic rock.
“We’ve been waiting long enough for rock bands to come back into fashion,” said Stevie, “and now finally it’s happening.”
Bad Touch were formed in late 2009 originally by a group of would-be musicians who all knew each other through school.
Stevie was then recruited and the band has been steadily making progress on the British rock scene ever since.
“The four other guys all kind of knew of each other in school,” said Stevie, “and I came to the point where my friends were off to university and I wanted to carry on doing my music.
“So I put myself on one of these band websites and they found me. I went over with my guitar wanting to be the guitar player but they had Rob Gledinning and Siggs (Daniel Seekings) already so we weren’t going to be the next Iron Maiden so they asked me if I could sing.
“I said no and that was seven years ago,” he laughed.
Recently original guitarist Rob as left the band to be replaced by 20-year-old Harry Slater. Rob actually suggested Harry as his replacement and Stevie said there were no hard feelings surrounding his exit.
“We have nothing but good feeling towards Rob,” he said. “It just got to that point where other things took over. He’ll always be one of my closest friends.”
With his sharp suits and short hair, Harry’s look contrasts with the rest of Bad Touch.
“He’s got a leather jacket now but I don’t think he’ll ever grow his hair though,” said Stevie. “But get him on tour and we’ll soon sort him out. He’s a phenomenal guitarist though.
“It’s been a bit strange getting used to someone new in the band after so long working with Rob but it’s all coming together now and I think he adds a new dimension to the band as all guitarists are different.”
Bad Touch have supported the likes of The Quireboys and The Answer but this co-headline tour with Broken Witt Rebels sees the band moving up to the next level.
They released their second album Truth Be Told last year.
“We all work virtually full time as well as being in the band at the moment,” said Stevie, "which can be hard work but music is our passion, it’s what we love and you’ve got to give it the beans.
“As a band, we are not trying to be overcomplicated. We just want people to have a good time and enjoy what we do and this year we’re looking to step it up a notch.”
Already on top of the Roadstars tour, Bad Touch have been given the support slot for Joanne Shaw Taylor’s tour and this week it was announced they will support King King on their UK tour.
Stevie and the boys are hoping that this will be the year when Bad Touch make that breakthrough they deserve.
“I currently work as a barman,” he said. “I’ve done enough polishing glasses to last a lifetime but music can be a long, slow process.
“But to be part of the Roadstars tour is very exciting and all sorts of opportunities are opening up for us. One thing is for sure, we will give every live show we do everything we’ve got.”
Bad Touch and the Broken Witt Rebels, Ruby Lounge, Manchester, Friday, March 24. Details from the gigcartel.com