Robert Lund - Man About Town
Bad Bad Barbie
We sat down for a chat with some members of Bad Bad Barbie - Ronnie Sweetheart (formerly of The Throbs), Jimi K. Bones, guitarist, and Kurt Stevens, bass player. They put on a stunning show at The Delancey a while back, and I wanted to know about them.
NYW: I hear you're playing with The Sex Slaves this month.
RS: Yeah. We ran into the Sex Slaves in Florida. I said "Hey, we're opening for you guys at Mulcahy's on Apr 20th. You guys better put on some good sex on stage, cuz if you're goin on after me, you better watch it." They were very good. When I started The Throbs in Canada (in my last lifetime) we started out as a 3-piece, but then I decided I wanted to put the guitar down and be a front-man. I lived in the city, you know, Toronto.
LL: How about you Kurt?
KS: I grew up in Pittsburgh.
NYW: Oh, are you demanding, calling the others on things?
JB: Not as much as I should be, I let things slide sometimes. But god forbid I make a mistake, boy, then I'm gonna get it. I can take it, though - and it doesn't happen that often.
NYW: What other bands have you been in?
JB: Oh, let's see - Skin & Bones, The Kicks, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Blondie (on her latest album), lots of others.
NYW: And I love what you do in the New York No Stars, another side of you.
JB: I can play anything, been in lots of cover bands too.
RS: Yeah, everyone in the band's quite talented.
NYW: You actually make a living at it.
JB: Yeah, I'm getting a pension for playing the guitar.
RS: Our drummer Aaron Brooks is from San Francisco.
JB: Oh yeah, the "gay thing."
NYW: Hah, speaking of that - every so often, if a guy is dancing gracefully, there are some guys who'll make "gay" remarks.
NYW: Aw, you must've known that when you took on that name. But I mean, in many of your stage movements you exhibit a good deal of your "feminine" side.
RS: Absolutely. The moves I make on stage are just what I feel, portraying the music coming through my body. And it doesn't hurt with the chicks, either. In fact, we have a MySpace page [myspace.com/badbadbarbi - no 'e'!], and it says I'm the "singer and thong player."
NYW: I've seen The Throbs at a couple of shows (missed you back in the day), and you got more naked in those shows.
RS: Well, this is a new band, and I'm trying to keep my clothes on a bit more. At those reunion shows, I was pretty excited.
NYW: Back in the original Throbs, were you more like that?
RS: I haven't changed at all, I'm still the front-man, sweetheart that I am. When the music moves me on stage, it sort of moves everything else in me, and Things Happen. That's what makes every show different.
JB: I get bitten.
RS: And I sometimes land on Aaron's drum kit. When I'm on stage, I'm focused on what we're doing at the time. If something happens to me, well, I'm here to do my job, and I'm not gonna get off the stage unless they have to take me in an ambulance. Iggy Pop did the same thing, the perfect example of a front man. The band is just ready for anything to happen.
The first show we played, we opened for Kings X at the Avalon (the former Limelight). These guys are on stage starting to play, and I'm outside smokin, talkin to some chick. I hear the familiar sounds, I run, get to the side of the stage and the door's locked! I had to find a guy with the key.
JB: We're on stage, playing, thinking "I don't think Ronnie knows we're on..."
RS: That's Rock-N-Roll. In Bad Bad Barbie, what we're trying to do is bring the fun back to rock-n-roll, make each show an event. You know, when I was young and we were going out to see a band, we'd have a party first at my place, dress up and go out. That was the fun of it. We're trying to bring that feel back. So people say, "we're going to see Bad Bad Barbie tonight, let's get ready, let's show them."
JB: Yeah, you don't wanna go see a band play, and they're just standing there playing - what's the point.
NYW: Right, I see some good bands playing, but they look like they just crawled out from under their car. I try to tell them it's not going to compromise their music if they dress up a little.
RS: Yeah, if people are coming to see us, we're gonna give em something to look at. You might like it or not like it, but it's something.
That's right, when we go out, we want it ALL. We stopped in later at BBB's rehearsal, and got to see the development of a new song. Ronnie played a handheld cassette of a rough track into the mic, and the band followed with a great take of "It's All About Me" (perfect song for Sweetheart!). The second run-through was even better, and I can't wait to hear this song performed.
Be sure to catch Bad Bad Barbie on Thursday April 20th at Mulcahy's in Wantagh (right across from the LIRR station). Also playing are our own Sex Slaves, and The Hollow, metal masters from Toronto. Take a break from Manhattan - the Bablyon line takes you there from Penn Station, and there are trains back all night. Bad Bad Barbie are a sight to behold!