I’ve been saving this NY band for a bit, keeping the secret to myself as to savor their radness alone just a little longer. How can you go wrong with a male & female guitar/lead vocal combo and chick drummer?! Okay, I know some people will argue me wording it that way, but in this case, you can’t. It’s time you know Badass Band 80, Blue & Gold.
How I came across Blue & Gold is irrelevant at this point, there is no cool story or friend referral, but I sure am glad as hell I found them, or maybe they found me. If I had to describe this band in a sentence it would be strong, warm female/male vocals, combined with a variety of classic blues-rock melodies and just a dash of popiness. They just released their self-titled debut EP, sporting four savory tracks that will keep you wanting more. Track 1 is ‘Ghost Man’ and it boasts a 45 second intro, with pouty vocals and a single guitar riff, which builds into a slow drum beat, perfectly preparing a listener for what’s coming. However, then it stops and throws you for a bit of a loop working into a poppy blues song with the chorus, “My baby, he fades into the night, but when he’s here I feel alright.” Soon enough, the song rolls into an outro, and in some magical way it mirrors the guy fading into the night. I love when the music matches the lyrics that well. Track 2, ‘It’s Only You’ reminds me of a modern version of a classic 50’s rock tune that you would hear played at something like a school dance. Alex’s vocals are smooth, clear and make you believe that ‘It’s Only You’, while the drawn out guitar riffs and rhythm section’s solid backbone make this killer. The third track is ‘Anything For Love’, a straight up rock song with heavy guitar and drums, that makes you just sway along without even realizing you’re doing it. Personally, I think Alex’s vocal ‘sound’ (especially on this track) is not typical for bluesy rock music. It kind of sounds like he should be cast into a boy band, but that element makes these songs even better and more unique because it works so well! The final track is ‘Your Love’ which hints at some Hendrix influence in guitar style, and even maybe a little in the lyrics/Chloe’s vocals. Especially when she is belting lines like, “I don’t want to see you leave, but I love watching you go. My expectations hit the floor. You’re my all time low. I need your love baby, I need your love baby…” All in all, this is a super solid debut EP and each track stands on its own, as well as flows well as a whole. Take a listen and see for yourself.
Chloe, Alex and GG took some time to answer some questions for BBB, so get to know this Brooklyn band, and find out things like who plagiarizes in the band, what musicians they admire, and who moves dinosaur bones in their spare time.
When and why did each of you start playing?
Alex: I took piano lessons from when I was 4 until when I was 11. Then I quit that and took up guitar when I was 14. That was about the time when I started getting really into bands like The Allman Brothers and Cream. I just wanted to shred like Duane Allman, Clapton, and Hendrix.
Chloe: My sister and I both took piano lessons when we were young, and when she quit to focus on sports, I was the last musical hope of the family, so my parents encouraged me to stick with it. When I was 10 I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time, and I was totally mesmerized. I decided to take up guitar so I could play Nirvana songs.
GG: Alex plagiarized me when he wrote our bio so I’m going to re-plagiarize him: My parents told me I had to play an instrument, so I chose drums. I took snare drum lessons for a year or two in elementary school, which made me think drums were lame. Then I saw a Blink182 video and was like “wait. I wanna do that.” So I did. And still do. “Stay Together for the Kids” was the first song I taught myself.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?
Alex: My parents are the nicest people that I know, so they let me and my brother play whatever we wanted in the car growing up. There was a Beach Boys “best of” cassette that really got a ton of burn and probably ruined the Beach Boys forever for my parents. I also made them play “Born to Run” every single time we drove anywhere. Then I ended up surprising my parents by singing that song at my college graduation ceremony, which made them cry I think.
Chloe: I was really into Nirvana and Sublime growing up. I’m still very into Nirvana and Sublime. In high school, since I was a rare breed of young women playing rock music, I was really into other women who played rock music: Liz Phair, Hole, No Doubt, Eva Cassidy. Nowadays I listen to all kinds of music. For example, in my favorite playlist you’ll find: The White Stripes, Chiddy Bang, Kishi Bashi, Santigold, A Tribe Called Quest, Fly Golden Eagle, The Black Keys, The Strokes, and Deap Vally.
GG: When I was younger, I strictly listened to boy bands. Backstreet Boys were my life. Then I heard Blink182 and immediately switched to exclusively pop-punk until sometime in college. Now I listen to a wider variety of genres, such as boy bands, pop-punk, and some other crap.
Which musicians do you admire? Why?
Alex: It’s cheesy to say, but I really admire everyone who puts themselves out there. Your job is to stand up in front of people who will silently watch you and judge you. And you have to make them happy. It’s really hard to do it, and for the longest time I was really scared of it. But performing live is my favorite thing in the world.
Chloe: Jack White. I love how he plays guitar. It just sounds painful in the most awesome way. Tash Neal of the London Souls. He’s amazing to watch live. Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. She’s just commands the stage. Howard is actually one of the reasons I decided to get back into playing after a bit of a hiatus.
GG: Travis Barker. He goes all out all the time. I’m working on doing that.
Why the name Blue & Gold?
Alex: We wanted something simple, so we discussed a bunch of things and liked this option the best. Actually, we wanted to get Google alerts for every fucking macaw sold in the United States. That’s an unfortunate consequence of our name.
Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.
GG: So like, picture…. a lot of lights flashing, and there’s a lot of loud noises, and maybe someone’s pushing you, but you’re happy about it. It’s like that.
Chloe: A dude from a band that we played with at one of our shows came up to GG after and very enthusiastically called her a “little monster.” I’ll leave it at that.
How does your creative process typically work?
GG: I have really great ideas for inventions. I would elaborate, but then I couldn’t get patents.
Chloe: Alex and I write songs then bring them to the band and we work on them together.
Alex: I usually have a song 100% written in my head, but GG always comes up with a better drum part and Chloe always has feedback that changes the song for the better.
What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?
GG: Our upcoming shows at CBGB Festival and CMJ should be awesome! Before that, I was runner-up in a No Doubt drum cover contest. I got a really positive response from a lot of people. It was a really great thing.
Chloe: Yeah, we’re stoked to be playing these gigs in October. And we’re very proud of GG killing it in that contest.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
GG: Learning the New York subway system and accepting that to get to Downtown you have to go uptown from Brooklyn.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you the rest of this year?
Alex: We’re really stoked for CBGB and CMJ, plus we’ll be playing outside of New York.
Chloe: We just started working on a debut full-length and we’re hoping to lay down some tracks soon.
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?
GG: People should listen to us because we sound cool and look cool and are cool. We are unique because we all have different color pleather jackets. If we had a slogan it would be “Blue & Gold, young and old, we’ll make you rock hard, here’s our business card.”
Alex: I love my pleather jacket.
Chloe: GG is unreal. I’ve been reading her responses and cracking up. I think we’re sending her on interviews from now on to rep the band. We also call her Young Geezy.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Chloe: More musicians would have the opportunity to make music into a financially stable career.
One song you never get tired of.
A: I think “It’s Gonna Be Me” is as close to a perfect pop song as you can get.
C: “5446/Ball and Chain” by Sublime.
GG: “Get Me Bodied” by Beyoncé.
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
A: I can’t answer this question. It’s just too hard. I’ve been to hundreds of shows throughout my life and I just can’t pick one. In the last year though, it’s definitely Haim. Those ladies shred hard.
C: I had the opportunity to see Alabama Shakes at Bowery Ballroom before they blew up like crazy, and it was amazing. I also love seeing Haim and The London Souls.
GG: Beyoncé. We made eye contact. I am forever changed.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
A: I’m a pretty competitive person, so I love playing games. I recently beat one of our friends from another NYC band that shall remain nameless in skeeball. He owes me $137.
C: Watching Manchester United with my dad. Going to my sister’s place down the street and eating all her ice cream. Playing Sonic 2 for Sega Genesis with anyone who crosses the threshold in my apartment. Watching Breaking Bad with my roommate. Walking around Williamsburg.
GG: I love my volunteer job where I get to move dinosaur bones. It’s awesome. I also dominate at foosball. I also love burgers.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
A: Sam Seaborn. Literally his only weakness is that one time he accidentally slept with a prostitute.
C: James Bond.
GG: Emma Stone’s character, Hannah, in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Or Hermione Granger.
If you ran Badass Bands Blog, what is one band you would feature? (Exempting yourselves of course.)
A: Haim. They’re the most badass band ever. I’m so in love.
C: Deap Vally.
G: Hostage Calm.
FIND BLUE & GOLD HERE: