Punk Rockers Bad Cop/Bad Cop Talk Tour Life And The Sidewalk Project

Lead singer Stacey Dee, guitarist Jennie Cotterill, bassist Linh Le, and drummer Myra Gallarza make up the pop-punk/rock band Bad Cop/Bad Cop. Founded in 2011 and based in Southern California, the band has seen considerable success by releasing three studio albums and four EPs over the years. They are currently on tour until the end of the year, everywhere from California to the Czech Republic!

We sat down with Stacey for an in-depth look at how the punk rock veterans live on tour, the writing process after so many years as a band, and what they are doing in their community to make a brighter, more healthy outlook for their neighbors.

How has the band been feeling being on tour again? Any favorite aspects of the journey?

Well, honestly, the pandemic did make us take a lot of stock in our lives and in both our physical and mental well-being. And anyone that knows us knows that we are a band that works extremely hard. Our first tour back was with Anti Flag on the east coast in November 2021. Even though it was a great and successful tour, and we had a lot of fun doing it, we found it to be way harder than it was before the pandemic. We seemed older and out of shape. Haha. And it all made us ask some important questions within ourselves. We didn’t slow up, though, and we went back out in April of 2022, playing some rad shows with MXPX, Zebrahead, and Mercy Music and then taking off to do our own headline run with Darkulas and Fea, though the south and Midwest. That tour was a real blast. It was super fun and felt easier. Then we went out again on another headline run and on the east coast with The Homeless Gospel Choir. Again we were really enjoying ourselves until two of us got covid, and we had to cancel the rest of the shows and drive home from Pittsburgh. That was a real spirit breaker. We still enjoy it, but it’s a little sketchy with covid still around.

You’re going to so many different locations this year, from Germany to France to Spain and more. Where are you most excited to visit, and why?

We have wanted to return to Europe since our last European tour was canceled two weeks short due to Covid. We were out there in Feb 2020 when the world began to shut down, and we had to drop everything, buy new plane tickets and fly home immediately. Resulting in the loss of a lot of money and morale. So with that being said… THIS hasn’t been announced yet… But we have decided to push our European tour dreams back to May and July of 2023 rather than going over this November. We just can’t go through what we went through the last time. Covid made us go home in Europe and the US this year. We have discussed it over and over with our TM and agents over there, and we want to be as safe as possible. So, we won’t be back until 2023. But when we do come back, I am personally excited to see everything and everyone again. I miss it SOOO much!

‘The Ride’ is your latest studio album, what was the writing process behind the music between all the band members?

We have three very cool and very different songwriters in Bad Cop Bad Cop, so we began the process, each bringing in the songs we wrote on our own. We usually run all songs through the band members to see if they’re something everyone else wants to work on. When in the studio, we tighten up lyrics together and different guitar parts/bass parts/drum parts, etc. We work really closely with whoever is engineering and producing the record too. On The Ride, we worked with Johnny Carey from Old Man Markley and, of course, “Fat” Mike Burkett the most. Jennie and I spent the night at Johnny and Annie’s place so we could work on the record until late at night and wake up to work on it again in the morning. It was a lot of fun for me. I was there every day but one.

The album has references to quite a few heavy themes like accountability and topics, like your journey with breast cancer in 2018, which thankfully could be treated well. What messages about life would you hope come through to your fans and audience listening to the album?

One of the biggest messages on this record is that if you want real change in the world, and away from suffering, it starts with you. Happiness and the life you want are well within everyone’s reach if we all just adjust our perspective a bit. Rather than being a victim of all the terrible things in the world, choose to see the beauty in the simple things…. flowers, sunsets, a friend’s laugh, or your doggy’s smile. There is so much bad in this world, and there is no way to fight it all without making yourself sick too. Even the word “fight” keeps you in that state of being… tense, angry, and unwell. But if you start with yourself and choose to see how adversity can make you stronger, you’ll begin to see real growth in your life. When we say things to ourselves like, “I choose to be successful,” I choose to be kind and compassionate,” and “I choose to be fucking badass,” you will be. It really is up to us; we have the power to choose the best lives we can create for ourselves. We are all worth it. No matter the situation you’re in now!

Is there any one song(s) from ‘The Ride’ you’re especially excited to play live and see the audience’s reaction to?

I love playing all of them. I hope that one day we start to play “Originators” because it is my favorite song that I’ve written. But I love playing others like “Take My Call,” “Certain kind of Monster,” and of course, “Simple Girl.”

What or who has been your biggest inspiration lately, in music and life in general?

Honestly, right now, I am listening to a lot of Public Enemy. Chuck Dee is a true profit. And speaks of being a Social Justice artist. I’m really drawn to that. Not like I am into cancel culture at all or anything hurtful, but I am really into being an activist in my songs… helping people find peace and beauty in their lives. My friend Aimee from the band The Interrupters just released a record where she got real honest about her own struggles in her life, and I thought that was really brave and inspiring. Also, George Carlin! Although George gave up on humanity, thinking there was no way to lead people to change. I still have hope.

You (Stacey) have said you’ve been in the punk rock community since your teens, and it’s been in your veins since you first discovered it. What do you love most about the punk rock community, and how does it feel being an established punk rocker that newcomers look to for guidance?

I feel supported and loved in my punk rock community. Much like how Hip Hop is a culture, Punk Rock is too. People rarely grow out of being a punk. Like fat Mike has said, “Once a Punk always a Punk“. It’s where I feel at home. It’s where I feel safe in the world.

Do music-making and songwriting happen while on tour?

YES!!!! I usually bring an acoustic guitar with me on the road. I wrote the music for Originators in the van in Victoria, BC. I can really bug the rest of my band mates by playing it too much too. Ha-ha. Writing on the road rules.

“Simple Girl” by Bad Cop Bad Cop / FatWreck Chords

Your music video for ‘Simple Girl’ featuring dozens of women from all walks of life was so empowering and fun to watch! Did you have an idea of the kind of video you wanted to create for the song while writing it, and what was the actual filming process like?

Well, we were in the pandemic so we were not able to be together. We asked a lot of our lady friends to record themselves doing what they love to do, in all of their glory and it really came out awesome. Chris Grau made the video and it still brings tears to my eyes when I watch it. It really has heart! Just seeing so many women getting to be free and strong and powerful… it says so much. Especially NOW when our government wants to take our rights away. Seeing all of these different women from different walks of life, being their best selves, because they were able to make decisions for themselves, is one of the most powerful messages we could convey.

Learn more about or donate to support Stacey’s efforts at www.TheSidewalkProject.org

Stacey, you co-founded The Sidewalk Project, an organization that seeks to empower homeless communities worldwide. Can you share with us more about what The Sidewalk Project does, and what it’s been like working on the project?

Thanks for asking.  The Sidewalk Project is a non-profit that works directly on the street, with unhoused folks, in LA’s famous Skid Row.   I started it with my partners, Soma Snakeoil and Emily Neilson, going to skid row with a backpack of oranges and water, offering conversations and aid.  We were authorized to be a mobile SSP and are the newest SSP in Los Angeles in 26 years.  We go tent to tent, offering harm reduction and supplies to those who use drugs and to sex workers while advocating for their lives.  We provide clean needles to those who inject drugs and clean pipes to those who smoke them, slowing the spread of disease and helping people begin to care for themselves in new ways.  This opens up a more significant conversation regarding wound care, medical care, hospital care, drug treatment, STI testing, Covid treatment and care, housing, or whatever people need.

We offer Narcan and are working tirelessly to push back against the overdose crisis that is happening right now.  We advocate for the rights of people who use drugs and for those who do street-based sex work to survive.  We work to help folks suffering from severe mental illness find treatment and care.  We offer the community and sometimes the last lifeline to folks who have been forgotten about or given up on.  We also provide art and music, where we have parties on the street together, getting people to create together.  Right now, we just received a new grant to open a drop-in center for wellness within Skid Row, providing; yoga, meditation, art, and music for our people, with wrap-around services, like housing and all treatments.   The one thing that is often missing in people’s lives is joy.  We want to bring joy to folks.  We wanna see people getting out from under all the trauma that may have ended them up on the street, to begin with.   When I got the opportunity to get well, seven years ago, I heard the universe say that it wanted me to help other people get better too; to get happy, get healthy…  and so it’s in all I do… my music, my art, my work, my relationships, and my life…  We all deserve it, every one of us! 

Connect with Bad Cop Bad Cop, see 2022 tour updates, and learn more about The Sidewalk Project below!

Anti-Fest & Tour with Last Gang & Anti-Flag full schedule, tickets for early October here.

FEST 2022 will be a three-day music festival in Gainesville, Florida at the end of October, featuring a lineup of Hot Water Music, The Menzingers, Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls, Piebald, Samiam, The Flatliners, The Copyrights, Broadway Calls, Avail, Cursive, Comeback Kid, The Suicide Machines, Iron Chic, The Ergs, Against All Authority, Paint It Black, La Dispute, Algernon Cadwallader, Chris Gethard, Kyle Kinane, Jonah Ray, City of Caterpillar, War on Women, The Pietasters, Folly, Twelve Hour Turn, Cobra Skulls, Mustard Plug, Toys That Kill, Tim Barry, Chuck Ragan, Into it. Over it, Worriers, BC/BC, Zeta, The Dopamines, and more!

Punk In The Park, in Orange County, CA in November will have a packed setlist, featuring Bad Cop/Bad Cop along with Bad Religion, Face to Face, Dead Kennedys, The Adolescents, 7 Seconds, Manic Hispanic, Subhumans, The Bronx, The Flatliners, Dead Boys, The Briefs, Love Canal, Suzi Moon & TV Party.

Social Distortion Tour at The Observatory North Park in San Diego.

For something a little extra, here is an interesting documentary to learn more about Anti-Flag before you go enjoy and support the tour!

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