Q&A with Tom Leighton
of The Bad Flowers
TFM - Please introduce us to The Bad Flowers and tell us how you all met and formed the band?
TL - The Bad Flowers are, myself, Tom Leighton on Guitar and Vocals, Dale Tonks on Bass and Backing Vocals and Karl Selickis on Drums. Myself and Dale have been friends for a long time, we've always had the same taste in music and have always been in bands together since our teens. When we were looking for a drummer to start up The Bad Flowers, Karl was the first person to get in touch. We'd actually played a show with his previous band a few years prior to this. When we started up on that first rehearsal it just felt right.
TFM - Were you in any other bands before The Bad Flowers?
TL - Yeah, we've all been in other bands from quite an early age, myself and Dale as I say, have pretty much been in the same bands all of our playing lives. Karl, too, has been in a number of original bands and cover bands in the past, but I think it's this one that’s just clicked for us.
TFM - 2017 has seen all your hard work start to pay off. You have your debut album due for release in early 2018, and the first single 'Thunder Child' from the new album has been picked up by Planet Rock. How exciting was it to hear yourselves on the radio and where were you when you first heard it played?
TL - It was crazy! I was actually at work in my day job when it first came on. I actually got that excited I was shaking a bit! I mean we've listened to this radio station for years, and they play all the songs by our heroes so it was such a strange feeling.
TFM - You play a Gibson Les Paul when plugged in, and a Fender when acoustic. What is your favourite guitar you own and what would be your dream guitar if money was no object?
TL - My Les Paul standard that’s in the majority of our pictures is my favourite thing, it was an 18th birthday gift from my Dad, and still now I open the case and the novelty hasn’t worn off some 11 years later! I've owned a few other Les Pauls but there's something about this one that always draws me back. If money was no object I'd definitely be on the lookout for a 1955 Les Paul custom! The one with the p90's!
TFM - How would you describe The Bad Flowers to someone who has never heard you before, and which of your songs would you recommend they listen to for a true taste of your music and sound?
TL - ‘Thunder Child’ is always where I direct people first, I think it sums us up, Heavy riffs and catchy hooks! That's what we've done for a long time so I think that'd give people a good taste of us.
TFM - You have toured with some great bands already, and have a major tour planned with Stone Broken and Jared James Nichols in 2018. Which band or bands would be the ultimate for you personally to support?
TL - Well, if you'd told me two years ago, we'd be supporting the bands we have already, I don't think I'd have believed you! I was watching their videos on YouTube back then, and next thing you know we're sharing the same stage! Right now, I'd love the chance to play with Rival Sons, I think they've been real trailblazers for this brand of rock in recent years.
TFM - Which guitar players are you most influenced by, past and present?
TL - So many! The first will always be Jimmy Page, I found a live Led Zep tape when I was younger and it changed my life! All I wanted to do was play guitar. A lot of blues players though too like Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Muddy Waters. Jimi Hendrix too! Present, those dudes Tyler Bryant and Jared James Nichols are really ripping it up!
TFM - Why did you choose ‘Starting Gun’ as the title of your debut album when there is no track with that title? What made you choose this?
TL - It's actually a lyric from ‘Thunder Child’ – “The Clap of Thunder was my Starting Gun” – we thought it was a good statement of intent for our debut album, you know? Time for us to get out of the starting block and make some more noise!
TFM - What can we expect from the new album, and do you have a particular favourite you are most proud of?
TL - The album as a whole is our core sound, lots of riffs and hooks but there's some different stuff on there too, we've done a solely acoustic track which I think may surprise people, and a song called 'Lets Misbehave' which is the song I'm extremely proud of, it's definitely something different for us.
TFM - Which festival would you most like to perform at anywhere in the world?
TL - Wow, there's so many! I wouldn't know where to start, I think Reading and Leeds would be really cool to do, I'd also like to get to SXSW.
TFM - Please describe your fellow band mates in three words or less?
TL - 'The Groove Keepers.'
TFM - There are so many great young British bands about at the moment. Are there any out there that we may not have heard of that you think we should look out for in 2018?
TL - You're right! The competition is fierce! Haha but in a good way, there isn't any rivalries from what I see out there, more just bands helping each other along and the better the bands the more you have to up your game! I caught Bad Touch twice on their last tour and they were awesome, we have crossed paths with Hollowstar a few times last year, too, and they are getting better and better with every show.
TFM - You design most of your own CD/Album artwork. Is this something you enjoy doing away from music?
TL - Yeah, I love drawing and putting stuff together for the band, it has to be said though, I didn't design the album art, I had a say in how it looked but all the hard work was done by our incredibly talented friend Shaun Richards. He is also a musician and sings in Liberty Lies.
TFM - What are you looking forward to most in 2018 besides the release of your debut album?
TL - I think getting out on the road again, it feels like a long time since we did it last and I’m looking forward to showing off the new tracks. Looking forward to the festival season, too, we have a couple booked in already so it's looking like a busy year!
TFM - What would you like to achieve personally and as a band in 2018?
TL - Personally, I want to stay healthy, improve my voice and guitar playing to keep us as consistent as possible. As a band, I'd love for the album to do well and get out there.
Thank you to Tom Leighton from 'The Bad Flowers' for talking to us at Two Finger Media.
The Bad Flowers’ debut album “Starting Gun” is released on Friday 16th February.
They tour the UK with Stone Broken and Jared James Nichols from Thursday 22nd February. www.thebadflowers.uk