It is the interview that every tv station, every magazine and every newspaper wanted…
But we got it…
The first ever interview with Badger Kull!
When ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ was announced, posters appeared informing us of a ‘Graduation Ball’. Next to legendary DJs Greg Wilson and DJ Food was a mysterious band called Badger Kull…
Not only that, they were going to play their one song ‘Toxteth Day Of The Dead’ live on stage for three minutes only. And this would be their only ever performance…
We are joined by Bass Player 4 – Babaluma Badger (formerly known as Ian Bryce) as we find out what it has been like to be part of Liverpool’s biggest musical sensation in recent times…
Badger Kull Interview with Babaluma Badger (formerly known as Ian Bryce)
Q1 [Scaramanga Silk]: So Babaluma, Badger Kull were formed on Wed 23rd August, 2017 at Constellations in Liverpool. You had previously informed the JAMs that you could play bass/guitar when collecting your wristband for ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’. How did you feel about being selected for a manufactured pop band?
A1 [Babaluma Badger]: It was destiny, when I put my name down I knew it was my time for fame. After playing the straight man for the last 23 years, it was clear to me that my time had come. That, along with the luck of my name being picked out of the hat.
When the names were being called out, I actually got ready to go to the front to pick my card up. I’d never been more sure of being picked in my life for anything, I did not realise my action until later that evening when I suddenly thought there must have been 30-40 people or maybe more who ticked the bass/guitar box.
Q2 [Scaramanga Silk]: When you were put together as a band of four bassists, you were given a yellow job card by Daisy Campbell that contained brief instructions as to what you were to do. The first part of that was to meet Pete Wylie of Wah! at the bar. What happened next and what was he like to work with?
A2 [Babaluma Badger]: A warm glow ran over me with two of my favourite surnames and nouns intermingled, Wylie & Bar. Pondering what I was going to say to him whilst I was queuing up to register the card, I came out with the classic opener ‘I’m in the band.’ The last time I said that was in a bar in Palermo, Sicily in 1980. We then hung about waiting for the other band members to appear. Once they arrived, Pete took us through the agenda for the days ahead, but to be honest it was all a blur as I tried to remember the bass riff in ‘The Seven Thousand Names Of Wah!’ so I could impress him later.
Once the card ceremony had been completed we moved into the vacated space for Pete to take us through the song, at the same time posing with Badger Kull fans eager to get their selfies posted on line first.
Q3 [Scaramanga Silk]: Another requirement was that you had to change your surname to ‘Badger’. How has that name change impacted your life?
A3 [Babaluma Badger]: Deed poll forms were registered that afternoon. A couple more weeks and it should all be official. I can then apply for a new passport, driving license, season ticket, etc. The rest of the family, or should I say sett, may follow suit if things get bigger.
It’s a famous surname that I will be happy to shortly own, its heritage comes from the term to describe a peddler selling their wares from a bag. I’ve met a few of those people in my time…
Q4 [Scaramanga Silk]: Your ‘farewell debut’ was just two days later. How did you guys come up with an anthem so quickly? What creative process did you follow?
A4 [Babaluma Badger]: Inspired by Drummond and realised by Wylie and De Faye, the band were key to the successful interpretation and rendition of this two note epic, ensuring we hit the beat and gave the anthem its distinctive Badger Kull feel. Design by Becci Badger put the seal on it and made us what we were that night and will be in the years to come…
Q5 [Scaramanga Silk]: Within hours of being formed you had fans going crazy for you all over social media, flyposters started appearing across the city, bootleg merchanside was being sold and people were getting tattoos. How have you coped with the sudden attention, groupies and invasion of your privacy?
A5 [Babaluma Badger]: Quicker than that, within minutes of Badger Kull being formed, I had signed my first autograph and had a selfie with a fan posted on Twitter.
I had even been promoting the Graduation Ball to friends and family a few weeks before the gig so was off to a flying start with them taking the role of unofficial Badger Kull fanatics alongside the official volunteers.
By the time we got to our second rehearsal we already had fan mail waiting. I managed to nab a few for personal memories.
Invasion of privacy by likeminded individuals is like being interrupted by your best mate to ask if you want a pint, bring it on!
Q6 [Scaramanga Silk]: You had a significant team including a manager, stylist, poster designer and roadie. What was it like to have ‘the machine’ behind you? How did it help?
A6 [Babaluma Badger]: Having top stylist, Becci, volunteer for the role meant we were in safe hands. Fresh from her normal role of working with the anxious and excitable, the seamless transition to managing the ego centric, anxious and excitable worked a dream.
Our manager, Pete whose surname was not Wylie, spent most of his time huddled in corners with phone in hand managing offers for future gigs, too many festivals to mention, but just check out Twitter for some headline shows he was working on. I’m not quite sure why he needed to hand his bank details out so much or the need for the brown paper bags, but hey, what do Badger Kull members know about management???
Our roadie, who liked to be called ‘Roadie’, was another rock of support for us, without his input we would have been plectrumless.
Q7 [Scaramanga Silk]: I was fortunate enough to be at The Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool on Friday 25th August, 2017 for The Graduation Ball that you were headlining. It was a sold out show and was rammed when you took to the stage at midnight. The atmosphere was absolutely electric! You have some very hardcore fans! What advice were you given before performing the set of your lives?
A7 [Babaluma Badger]: Pete’s advice was to enjoy the event which we all did. The strobes meant we could not see the masses or the joy we brought to them but pics and vids posted that evening and since are filling up my hard drive as I type.
Q8 [Scaramanga Silk]: You performed ‘Toxteth Day Of The Dead’ – a hypnotic, bass heavy number with a punk-rock aesthetic and chanted vocal hook. What were the inspirations and influences behind the hit song?
A8 [Babaluma Badger]: With the foundations already inspired by Drummond and Wylie, I attacked the lyrics with a Toxteth inspired local twang which could not be matched by other Badgers although their technical prowess with the two notes beat me hands down.
Q9 [Scaramanga Silk]: I could see the four of you on stage in your amazing costumes with your bass guitars and amps, but I also heard drums. I really enjoyed the rhythm track but could not spot a drummer with you. Who was the fifth badger?
A9 [Babaluma Badger]: The fifth Badger was a drum machine whose name escapes me. It was not Echo though.
Q10 [Scaramanga Silk]: Had you all read ‘The Manual’ by The Timelords before composing the song?
A10 [Babaluma Badger]: At least three members have the book, that does not mean we had all read it though, we are rock stars don’t forget!
Q11 [Scaramanga Silk]: What, if anything, does the future hold for Badger Kull? You will be remembered in folklore and your influence on future generations is immesurable. Will you burn all your earnings from your music careers or will you venture into other creative fields?
A11 [Babaluma Badger]: We are all still reeling in the success, once things calm down a little I’m sure we will all be back on stage somewhere, just need a few months sabbatical after the event.
I’m also moving forward with my side project, Babaluma Badger does Extreme Noise Terror, soon to be touring around the med with Disney Cruise line. Captain Clarke has been sailing for 22 years without any issue so I’m in good hands.
Planning for a white label vinyl only release of a live performance in the port of Palermo, of course Scaramanga Silk will get the first copy.
Off the record with Babaluma Badger:
Re: Playing live at The Graduation Ball:
[I’ve only ever played, and some time back, to small groups of mates and in small bars. The sound of the audience at the Graduation Ball was absolutely brilliant. I woke up both Thursday and Friday mornings with my anxiety levels at a high but as soon as I stood on stage for both rehearsals and the main event it just dropped away, I did not expect that!]
Re: Getting selected for Badger Kull and playing live at The Invisible Wind Factory:
[I did actually promote this event on Facebook around a month before the gig. Apart from the general brag you make when you get tickets for a gig, I’ve never ever promoted anything! This added to my own mystic thoughts about the three days… Why did I promote this (apart from loving the KLF/JAMs)?
Also, my daughter was picking up her O Level results on the Thursday, so I thought I’d treat her to her first gig and bought her a ticket, again well before the event, so it turns out that my daughter’s first gig was watching her dad on stage for 3 minutes and she loved it!]
Badger Kull Press Photo courtesy of: debbiejbentley @debbiejbentley
Badger Kull Live Photo courtesy of: Badger Kull bandfans @BadgerKull
All other photography courtesy of Babaluma Badger