On January 30th I had the opportunity to have a chat with Joel Hanks, Bass Player for Badfish, to ask him a few questions about the band, their show at The Town Ballroom in Buffalo on February 15th and what their future holds for the band.
Jason Staniszewski: What was the plan behind this project, and are you guys excited with how big it has gotten?
Joel Hanks: Yeah, I mean the plan was sort of, well there was no plan, it was really just, playing, yaou know like, we were just fine playing, nobody ever saw Sublime play live, because of Bradley’s death, so why not do the show that’s what happened you know? I was still in college at the time I was 21 so I wasn’t too familiar with the whole tribute act thing ya know, too much of the music scene and the touring scene or anything like that. I’ve been in bands before but not anything that became this serious obviously, I didn’t really know about tribute bands, I didn’t know it was a thing that really existed that much, you know? It was nice, I was like ‘Hey let’s play some Sublime songs, do the show and see what happens. Have fun and we will play some Sublime songs and shoot from there.’
JS: Cool that’s great man. That’s awesome. Are you guys excited with the crowds you have been getting?
JH: Yeah I mean it’s definitely something way beyond anything we thought exists.
JS: That’s awesome. Alright here’s another one: Are there any funny things you guys do on the road while you are travel, like any different out of the ordinary type deal things?
JH: Nah, I mean its become very professional now. You know we’ve done it for so long now. We try to take our bikes on the road to get exercise try to stay in shape. On different tours we try to have a game to play, like after a show, like game of Putter Golf or Corn Hole or something.
JS: Cool that’s great man, that’s exactly what I was looking for, something like that. Do you guys have any new gear for the tour, are you using any new equipment?
JH: Yeah well we’ve actually just all went wireless. This will be the first tour we will all be wireless, so that’s good, and I did personally pick up a new bass cab.
JS: Cool. That’s awesome man. What kind of bass cab are you using now?
JH: I just got a 410 an Eden cab and I added a 15 to it, now I have 2 cabs, a 15 and a 410.
JS: Awesome man. Any words of wisdom for other aspiring musicians?
JH: The music business is very tough. There are a lot of scumbags everywhere and it starts with the lower level agents. Just build, get a good vibe before you really try to do anything serious. Start locally and work your way within a region of like 2-3 hours or 4-5 hours within driving range where you can focus on building a market and figure out what it takes to build one or two markets before you try to like tour the whole country.
JS: Cool, that’s great advice. It seems like you guys appreciate Upstate New York. Why do you guys like coming back up here?
JH: Well, it’s nice, it’s about the fans. If people are going to come out, we are going to try and go, you know, touch base up in Buffalo and Upstate New York in general.
JS: Do you guys have any favorite venues to play, besides the Town Ballroom?
JH: Well, Cleveland is one of our best spots in the country. We have this awesome festival a few times a year at this bar called Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, and they just really get people from a large area, Buffalo, Pennsylvania, and all parts of Ohio.
JS: Yeah, Nelson Legends is gorgeous, it’s an awesome spot.
JH: Have you played there?
JS: Yeah, I played there it’s a really good spot.
JH: What band are you in?
JS: I’ve played with a few different ones. I’m starting a new project now. I’ve played there years ago at Grateful Fest, for two years in a row. It’s a good time man. Really cool spot.
JH: Yeah amazing.
JS: Do you guys have any favorite places to eat up this way?
JH: Any places to eat? I feel like over by the Town Ballroom there isn’t a lot, so we end up eating at, I don’t know the name of it, on Main Street its right there on the right two buildings over. That’s the only thing ever open. Like that or an Applebee’s on the corner.
JS: (laughing) I know… a lot of people like the Anchor Bar for the wings and stuff. I didn’t know if you had a favorite spot, but that does make sense when you have to get something quick.
JH: We usually are pressed for time. For whatever reason Buffalo is always closed on the weekends, you know that area, everything is closed.
JS: It’s kind of like that all week, that’s how it goes man. Have you guys had the opportunity to play with any of your idols?
JH: Well I mean yeah, Bud from Sublime did a show with us years ago out in Vegas. So it was pretty amazing to meet him. He jumped in and did a couple of songs with us. It was awesome.
JS: That is awesome. What other influences do you guys have besides Sublime, I mean you personally? Is there any other music outside of that that you like?
JH: I grew up listening to a lot of Punk, Ska, Reggae, so obviously Bob Marley, and a lot of the punk bands like NOFX, Bad Religion, and some of the Punk-goth stuff like Less Than Jake, that was like a lot of the stuff that I listen to.
JS: Cool man. My last question: What does the future hold for you guys. Do you guys plan on keep touring with this, do you have other plans, or?
JH: We are kind of like, we have been talking about that. We were thinking about expanding overseas. That’s what we’ve been talking about recently.
JS: That’s great man. You guys definitely deserve it. You seem like hard working guys. I truly do appreciate you taking the time today to sit down and talk.
JH: No problem man.
JS: Well hopefully I’ll catch you in a few weeks down at the Town Ballroom. I can’t wait for a good show.
JH: Hope you can make it man.
JS: I’ll be there. We will be there definitely.
JH: Come say hello. We will be at the merch table before the show and then definitely after.
JS: Yeah Brother, thank you. Peace.
Badfish plays The Town Ballroom on February 15th. You can pick up tickets through www.townballroom.com. From there they go to Cleveland to play The House of Blues on February 16th.