When I was first asked to set up an interview with Fierce Bad Rabbit, I won’t lie, I was a little scared. Partially for the fact that it was my first interview with an actual band (not counting “that one time at band camp” – seriously, I went). Partially for the fact their one of, if not thee biggest groups to go big out of Fort Collins; and I haven’t even lived here for a year yet. And partially for the fact fierce is in their name. Ok, not all of those are very accurate; but the rest of this interview is. So let’s cut the banter and pick up with a little Q and A from lead singer Chris Anderson and drummer Max Barcelow who were kind enough to sit down with myself and Colorado Music Buzz writer, Hannah Linter, last week.
Fort Collins native and lead singer of Fierce Bad Rabbit, Chris Anderson, performing at the Aggie Theater.
NoCo Lifestyle: So, Fierce Bad Rabbit; let’s start with that – Why Fierce Bad Rabbit and where did it come from?
Chris: So a week before our first performance at Surf-side Bar and Grill (on College Street in Downtown Fort Collins), the band had no name. Chris wanted to call the band Chris James and the Velvatines, which he readily admitted was a horrible idea. Then came a call from Dayton Hicks (Bass Guitar) to Chris the day before their show at Surf-side, and he said out of the blue, “What about Fierce Bad Rabbit?”. Chris replied, “I love Fierce Sad Rabbit!”. Dayton said “NO, Fierce BAD Rabbit. We’re not a bunch of softies here!” Apparently Dayton had seen a figurine earlier that day, and the name just sort of stuck after he mentioned it to Chris and the rest of the band.
Did you know: Fierce Bad Rabbit is one of many current bands out there with the name “rabbit” in the title. (Frightened Rabbit, White Rabbit, Bad Rabbits, etc.)
NoCo Lifestyle: So you recently got back from a tour in the South. Where did you guys go and what were some of the bands’ favorite places to play at?
Chris: We played in quite a few Texas locations while in the South. At first Texas isn’t all that great, but the more and more we’ve gone back there the more it really starts to grow on you. Austin is obviously a great city to play in (often dubbed as the “musical capital of the world”). And surprisingly enough we actually have a pretty big fan base in Amarillo, Texas. Apparently the college radio station plays us a lot, so all the kids lined up and bought a bunch of merchandise from us as well. Good times in Amarillo.
NoCo Lifestyle: So Chris, when did you realize music was going to be more than just a hobby for you?
Chris: After picking up musical instruments at a young age (piano at age 5, and guitar at age 12) high school was when I really started to figure being a musician could be a realistic career for me. Then in my early twenties I started a band called Jimmy Austin, which was my first band I actually went on tours and performed regular shows with. After Jimmy Austin came Fierce Bad Rabbit, which was formed in 2009. Being a lead singer was never really something I imagined I would be. I always wanted to be a lead guitarist. But when the time came for a lead singer no one had that background, so I just sort of gravitated towards the part and the rest is history.
[Quick Max Barcelow intro: From Minnesota; been in Colorado now for 6 years; joined Fierce Bad Rabbit in January; loves coffee and making bold and beautiful drum beats. Yes, he did show up late, but it’s ok, he’s the lead drummer of a radical band]
NoCo Lifestyle: So I’ll ask you the same question Max. When did you first pick up instruments and realize; “this was it” – something I could pursue seriously?
Max: I also started playing piano when I was around 4 or 5, taking lessons. Turns out I’ve never been really good at doing things where people tell me what to do. So naturally piano lessons were short-lived, haha. But I picked up the drums shortly after (around age 6) and haven’t looked back since. So it really started very young for me too, and through networking and connections I’ve found myself always being tied to music in great bands and situations.
NoCo Lifestyle: (Time for a curveball…) What would your dream show be – If you could play with any artist, who would it be?
Chris: Tough question…But I would have to say Delta Spirit. They’re really not all that big, and it may even be a possibility someday. We would all enjoy playing with them, Arcade Fire, The Shins, or The National.
NoCo Lifestyle: When you guys play, do you have a favorite album you like to play songs from more than others?
Chris: I definitely enjoy playing the new, unrecorded material right now. We are working on a 15 song new album that we will go into the studio for in September. It’s always fun throw in some new stuff that the fans haven’t had the chance to hear yet to see an immediate reaction while performing. But a few of my favorites from our previous albums are “you” and “live and learn”. But 60% of the stuff we are playing now is new stuff from our un-recorded album. Which for us is rejuvenating and important for our fan base, to always have new stuff in the works and then to give the crowd a taste of it all before the album recording is always enjoyable. That being said, I don’t care if it’s a song we’ve played 60 times before or a brand new one, as long as the crowd gives us energy, that’s all it really takes for a good show to happen.
NoCo Lifestyle: So what do you guys like to do aside from music in your spare time?
Chris: Music definitely takes up a lot of my time, but I love to go skiing and snowboarding with my wife at the different resorts here in Colorado.
Max: I grew up playing sports and have a background in xc skiing, hockey, and football. I enjoy the outdoors as well; there is just so much beauty and great things to do here in Colorado.
NoCo Lifestyle: Do you think the Fort Collins music scene has helped you guys grow as a band?
Chris: It definitely has. The community is really strong here and having the support from Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest and FoCoMX has been amazing. I think having The Aggie, Hodi’s Half Note, and Mishawka have been great venues. That sets the tone to put on quality shows in addition to the support we’ve recieved from the fan base here.
Max: Speaking more in general Colorado terms a couple different Boulder venues stand out to me: The Fox and Boulder Theater. Both have been a lot of fun to play at in the past. Denver has a lot of “under-the-radar” locations that are fun to play at as well.
Chris and Max: The Oriole Theater is a very unique, old, and fun location to play at. (Located in Denver)
Chris: It feels like the scene in “Walk the Line” where its Jerry Lee Louis, Elvis, and Johnny Cash all hanging out backstage behind the curtain; it feels like that club. You can be on stage watching the other bands play. It’s different in a good way.
NoCo Lifestyle: Do you have a favorite spot to hangout at in Fort Collins?
Max: The Forge. Cool spot to take in some local art, drink some great brews, just a fun place to gather with friends at for sure.
Chris: The 415 on Mason Street is one of my favorite hangout spots for sure, great food there.
NoCo Lifestyle: What does the future hold for Fierce Bad Rabbit? Where do you see your band in 5 years?
Well definitely the new album coming out this fall, that will be exciting. We were approached by New Belgium Brewery to shoot a commercial with one of our songs (Everything’s Alright – will air on NBC later this fall). So that was really cool, and will be great to gain more national exposure that way. We really want to grow our fan base with this next album and start to play in a little larger festivals, and as we get more experienced with locations we’ll know which spots are ones to come back to or not. More fans in more cities, that’s the goal. 🙂Below:
Fierce Bad Rabbit performing at the Aggie Theater.
NoCo Lifestyle interviewed Fierce Bad Rabbit the week leading up to the Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest Concert in which Fierce Bad Rabbit played at on Friday Night. Since then I’ve seen Chris around town a couple times, both of which he was more than willingy to come up, say hi, and chat with me a little before we went our seperate ways. I think that speaks volumes to the kind of bands Fierce Bad Rabbit is and the kind of people that live in Fort Collins. Before parting ways I readily admitted to Max and Chris that I had no idea who or what a Fierce Bad Rabbit was. But after seeing their concert (a couple weeks before the interview), downloading some of their jams onto my iPhone, and sitting down to chat for over an hour; it’s not tough to understand why their up there on my list of favorite bands now. I really look forward to their new album which is expected to drop sometime later this year. So thanks for taking the time to talk with NoCo Lifestyle Fierce Bad Rabbit; we look forward to your concerts and maybe grabbing another coffee in the future!