The ballad of Bad Cop
Bad Cop is a cult institution of Nashville. The forever beloved band of Adam Moult and the late Alex Hartness; they have set out since 2009 to be the oddball outlaws of the scene committed to their own flights of fancy. The flagship group of Moult's feverishly independent imprint Jeffrey Drag Records (BRZRK, The Slovaks, BukuSteez, Liqs, Penicillin Baby, Useless Eaters, etc), the long anticipated second album Hello, Mr. Sunshine has arrived as a full-length cycle sculpted and seasoned by the events, adversities, traumas, tragedies and inspirations that illustrate the points where catharsis and creativity meet.
The long awaited album Hello, Mr. Sunshine was a long time coming and showcases some of the last contributions from Bad Cop's legendary departed Alex Hartness (one of the greatest underrated guitarists of the Nashville scene). Hello, Mr. Sunshine is the sound of Bad Cop moving on up toward higher ground. The opener "AlviCass" begins the new record with heart-aching romantic energy that fuses rhythmic pep with passion that leads into the day-tripping strawberry field fantasia of "Dreamer Man". The energy and hedonism one comes to expect from the group can be heard and felt on "Cigs + a Photo", the rollicking rips and riffs of "Coco Sue", the club floor crashing "Disco Ball", to the distorted ethereal invitation of "Illuminate Me". Reminiscing on the free-spirited desires of youth ring out on "Teenage Fantasy", before rivaling the total energy ethos of the MC5 on "Now I Can See", to the psych-sentimental fun house of "Room Full of Mirrors", that leads to the album finale of "Green Eyes" that glows, yelps and growls with a primal explosiveness. The local Nashville legends deliver the album you have been patiently waiting for, one that is crafted from the chaos, cataclysms, the sadness, the triumphs, the nostalgia and lessons that we learn on this road called life.
We had a chance to catch up with Adam Moult of Bad Cop/Jeffrey Drag boss about the new album, the label, life and beyond:
Reflections on the long and winding road that lead to the creation and praxis involved with the making of the anticipated album Hello, Mr. Sunshine.
This was a long process. We’d released so many EPS after the first full length, we just kept doing that and singles, cause they seem to work better in the current state of music. But it’s been so long, so I wanted to do a proper album. Something that people can listen to 10 songs back and forward without skipping one. The idea was 8 singles and 2 ballads on one album.
Songs like "Green Eyes" were written in summer 2010—so it took 8 years to see a proper release with that song. We released a demo of that tune with Vice in 2015, so the album version is a tad more professional and a hair different. Less Ginger Baker drum fills [laughs]...there also were songs like “Coco Sue” that had been tracked tons of times between 2014-2015, and were fairly fresh.
This was tracked with Chris Grainger (he’s worked on Wilco’s Summer Teeth and other rad albums) in summer, 2015. Life drama sorta kept pushing the release back, or I originally would have rolled this out in fall, 2016. But things seem to be finally settling down. And here we are—new record. Feels good.
Meditations on the life, art, wisdom and contributions from the late Bad Cop guitarist Alex Hartness.
Alex was a genius and the best guitarist in Nashville all by the age of 27. He did so much in a short time. Wrote so many amazing songs and riffs—a ton still to come out.
I think 20 years from now when people reflect on the Nashville rock revolution of 2009-2015 (yes I think it’s BEEN over ha), Alex will get his credit as our scene's Jimi Hendrix. The guy could go two months without touching a guitar and then pick it up, tipsy, and go toe to toe with any veteran Nashville session player. Probably outworked him quite fast too. It was insane and a privilege to be able to work with such a genius and a real life character/legend. He was my brother—we combined blood over a decade ago—I will always feel him with me. But things will never be the same. Ever.
Insights into how the loss of Alex affected you personally, creatively and spiritually.
Losing Alex almost killed me. I went mad. Literally mad. I had almost a full year where I would only leave the house for food three times a week. Sometimes I'd stay in bed for literally days. 72 hours taking melatonin trying to just sleep. My soul was crushed. just recently, like March/spring 2018, I've started to pick up my guitar regularly again. I've been playing a lot this summer, but It literally took almost 16-18 months to be able to feel inspired again. But we also went so hard for seven years and did so many drugs that I probably needed a break... Essentially, It was devastating. I’m still learning to cope with it almost two years later. I was still using Percocet upon his passing so I didn't get to really grieve 'til like six months after. I won’t ever be the same. We'll reunite one day though. I know that for sure.
Thoughts on the challenges and breakthroughs of channeling the coping process of grieving into art and sound.
This record was all written before Alex passed, so there isn't much of that in here. The writing process of this record was the happiest. I think this album is Prime Bad Cop. Was written between the ages of 20 and 25 and during our extremely creative periods. When all life was waking up, making music and having fun with the brothers.
I have been working on a solo album under the name Adam Anyone and plan to release a record this December talking about the trials and tribulations I've faced since 2016. Sorta a recap on this insanity that I call life. I am looking forward to that, it will be so therapeutic. It gives me hope. I had none [for] all of 2017. This year is going to be better.
Favorite memories, anecdotes and more of Alex Hartness.
Too many too list. My favorite moment of all time with him was either hearing him sing about buying all the $1 spaghetti you can, while we were camping on tour in New Mexico. Another time I would be watching him shred at a house party in NYC fall 2013 and watching people literally drop their jaws at his improvised live solos. It was magic.
The state of Jeffrey Drag Records today, upcoming and current releases your excited about and the like.
We have been working a ton with BukuSteez, who is a 22 year old rapper from Nashville. He was originally in BZRK, whom I managed, but has sorta bloomed into his own thing the last two and a half years. He just dropped a new tape on July 4 called Assume the Worst and has done singles with Yung Bans, Robb Banks, and Nessley all in 2018.. This is his year, he’s doing serious numbers...
We also dropped The Slovaks debut album Nov 4th 2017 and are in the final stages of finishing the promo for the album. Check out their latest single “101st”. They’re a fire band from Manchester UK.
Other than that I am taking it easy with JDR for a while. BukuSteez is taking off, so my focus will be on him unless something comes along that I know will also be legend.
Words on the future of Bad Cop.
We have a new EP already ready to go called “Say Goodnight To The BadGuy” coming out that is 3 tracks from our sessions with Chris Grainger. It’ll be a very interesting EP by the way of the concept and rollout for sure... we are getting ready to hit the road and tour the southeast and Midwest, and finishing (what could be) the final record... for now.. due out around mid December, entitled “History Tells the Story, Not You.”
Notes from the Nashville scene.
“Mama said if you can’t say nothing nice don’t say nothing at all...”
Other artists and activists you would like to recognize that are doing great things in Nashville and worldwide.
The only band I’m really excited about that’s Nashville based is Dan Luke + The Raid. I’ve been telling that kid he’s a star since 2015, he’s finally coming into it. Also check out KingJet (LA Based funk-pop-dance) and Public Access TV (NYC band that I’ve been listening to a lot. Like the strokes meets early ramones)
Hopes and hymns for our shared tomorrow.
I wake up everyday and thank god for life.. for clean air, a bed, food, water.. I am glad to be.. I have faith tomorrow will be better. I have faith that life will find a way. Everyone please try to stay positive in these trying times- the world is burning- but if we stick together in the flames it will be a glorious goodbye.. and please don’t be too divisive, remember politics are just 1/1000th of our human fabric- love your neighbor even if he sees a different perspective than you. No one ever learned anything from being hated,. With love, people can learn the way and unite.. peace. xo