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Live From The Current Studio

Bad Bad Hats perform in The Current studio

  Play Now [3:15]

by David Campbell, Leah Garaas and Bad Bad Hats

August 17, 2015

Bad Bad Hats - Midway
by MPR
Bad Bad Hats - Fight Song
by MPR
Bad Bad Hats In-studio (full session + interview)
by MPR
Bad Bad Hats
Bad Bad Hats performing live in The Current studio
MPR / Nate Ryan

"I certainly have very tender feelings towards [Psychic Reader]. It came from my heart and my brain," says Bad Bad Hats' Kerry Alexander. "I'm very proud of it."

With the release of their debut full-length Psychic Reader, Minneapolis' Bad Bad Hats—Kerry Alexander (guitar/vocals), Chris Hoge (guitar) and Noah Boswell (bass)—stopped by The Current to perform live in-studio and to chat with host David Campbell of The Local Show.

Recording Psychic Reader was a bit different than their past efforts, including 2013's It Hurts EP. Before, when they programmed drums and used acoustic guitars, the trio (also known as the Triforce), recorded songs and demos in their apartment and walk-in showers. "The sounds outgrew the setup," says Kerry. "We spent all that time demoing so by the time we went into the studio, we could choose ten songs that we felt made a nice little package of poppy goodness."

In the album's title track, there's a line that reads, "'I was meant for you,' said the psychic reader." That lyric was one that stood out to Alexander, who has been getting into the zodiac to stay intellectually stimulated after graduating from Macalester College, where the Triforce met. "We wanted a title that when people read it, it was a thing that you associated with," Kerry says, "Like a sign you've seen or a place you've been to."

As for the band's name, that's another story. Why use two bads when one bad indicates the hat is not good? Well, because Bad Bad Hats' name is inspired by the Madeline children's books. Madeline had a neighbor named Pepito who was a troublemaker, and she and her friends would call him a "bad hat." In a video version of the story, Madeline sings, "Imagine that: a bad, bad hat!" So when Kerry's parents would ask her if she was being a "bad hat" as a kid, she later decided to take back the power by claiming Bad Bad Hats as her moniker.

And it's working for her. "A few people have said that the songs seem honest but also accessible," Kerry says, "I like hearing that." Marrying and balancing those two characteristics is important to her: saying something in earnest about real-life experiences while still making music that's fun and enjoyable.

Listen to the full in-studio session to hear Kerry, Chris and Noah talk about their dream brand endorsements and what bands they see themselves covering in the future, and be sure to catch Bad Bad Hats at the 7th St. Entry on Friday, Sept. 18 opening for the Mynabirds.

Songs Performed

"Fight Song"

All songs off Bad Bad Hats' new album, Psychic Reader, out now via Afternoon Records.

Hosted by David Campbell
Produced by David Campbell
Engineered by Mike DeMark
Web feature by Leah Garaas