It may be starting to get chilly out, but this Friday, November 12th, The Foundry at The Fillmore will be hosting a sold out night of punk rock summer jams. Headlining the evening will be Pittsburgh punk legends Anti-Flag, with support coming from all-female outfits Bad Cop / Bad Cop and Doll Skin (all three of whom have played punk’s summertime sanctuary, The Vans Warped Tour). I recently got a chance to chat with Jennie Cotterill, vocalist/guitarist for Bad Cop / Bad Cop, who I’m actually predicting will be the standout stars of the evening. These tour dates are the SoCal pop punks’ first in support of their third full-length, The Ride, which has been out since last June on Fat Wreck Chords. Although the songs found on The Ride pack just as much of a punch as earlier releases, they have the band taking a less angsty and more positive approach to their punk brand of preaching. Read what Cotterill had to tell me about her family’s appreciation of her music, the things that inspired her band’s latest batch of songs, and some of her favorite sounds, among other things…
Izzy Cihak: Your third album, The Ride, has been out for about a year and a half now. Have you had any favorite reactions to the album, whether from critics, audiences, fans, or even just friends or family?
Jennie Cotterill: My family really love it, which is cool! When you’ve been doing something for years that people who love you don’t always understand, that’s kind of a special unexpected thing. We are just getting our first chance to see how fans feel about it since we essentially launched it into the void like the Voyager record. We’re only now getting to sign any of them for people, a year and a half late!
Izzy: How do you feel like the album compares to previous releases? I understand that you felt you approached it with a much sunnier attitude.
Jennie: We all agree it’s our best work yet! We put so much into it. It’s wild how long we sat on that egg and finally have the chance to play it for people.
Izzy: I really dig the whole album, but I especially love “Perpetual Motion Machine,” which just reminds me of some of the best stuff to come out of Blackheart Records (The Dollyrots, Girl in a Coma, The Cute Lepers, etc.) How did that track come about?
Jennie: I read Radical Compassion by Tara Brach (maybe Radical Empathy? I read both. Who knows. both great). She has a meditation in there that asks you to focus on empathizing with a person you do not like, who may have hurt you, etc. This song comes from a similar source. I had been struggling with some relationships and wanted to write something to work that out. In the past, I’ve written so many negative songs while processing emotions and have learned the hard way that I don’t want to repeat those messages night after night. So, this song — and many others on The Ride — was intended to be a positive, productive, empathic meditation. I do think the root of all transgressions is personal suffering. If people had what they needed and felt good about themselves, I doubt they’d feel the need to be terrible to one another.
Izzy: A lot of bands that I’ve been talking to recently told me that they spent much of the pandemic revisiting their record collections. So, I’m curious, what have you been listening to a lot of recently, whether old favorites or stuff you’ve recently discovered? Anything that you think might surprise your fans?
Jennie: Mmmm, tough one. My stereo pooped out during the pandemic, so I was mostly streaming. I’m late for literally everything so I tend to fall in love with a band three years after they break up, haha. I love watching the Linda Lindas just blow up. They are friends of ours and it’s really exciting to see all their success. Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs put out a perfect album this year and the new Shannon and the Clams is excellent. I listen to a lot of early ‘80s stuff — not punk, and actually a lot of totally out of bounds shit like Jackson Browne. My love for Fleetwood Mac is very public and not a surprise at all.
Izzy: This is a really huge question but, considering that you’ve been at it for a decade now, what have been some of the highlights of the band so far?
Jennie: Wow… having a deep, functional relationship with my bandmates and learning to resolve our issues and work together as a group is the umbrella highlight. We’ve worked through a lot together — started as a party band of mostly strangers, now we’re a family business and have gone through some real shit. We got to see the world together and all of it has been totally unexpected (to me).
Izzy: You just kicked off a tour with Anti-Flag and Doll Skin, who are both so amazing. How is it getting to share a bill with them?
Jennie: This tour has been glorious! We haven’t gotten to do a proper tour since March 2020 and it feels amazing to do this again. We are fully refreshed, not taking anything for granted, and have such a wonderful crew for this run. It was hard finding people to work with since so many folks left the business due to/during covid. For a while there we were just hoping it would come together but we are having a blast and so fortunate to be working with these fine humans.
Izzy: What can be expected of your live show when you’re here in Philthy, as we call it? Anything you’d tell Anti-Flag fans to get them to come out a little bit early?
Jennie: Expect a really fun, positive, life-affirming experience! So many people have told us this is their first time out since the shutdowns and they’re so glad they came, glad we came, etc. Doll Skin are a bunch of super rad, super talented, super young people and a great reason to show up early! People try to say “kids these days” but you really can’t be mad after you see such young people working so hard and just killing it.
Izzy: You have a shit ton of dates next year throughout Europe. Are there any dates you’re especially excited to play, or just cities you’re especially excited to visit or revisit?
Jennie: We have never been to Spain so everyone is pretty pumped about that. We love our European TM, Ines — she started a beautiful business during the pandemic, it’s a sustainable merch store called TMom-Merch. We are really looking forward to seeing her and our beloved driver, Tom, again. They are two of the best humans on the planet. We’ll be in the UK with Wonk Unit and those guys are so fun. We’re just so glad these dates were able to be rescheduled.
Izzy: Finally, in addition to all of your European dates, what can fans expect from the band in the near future? Despite not being able to tour until recently, The Ride has been out for a while now. Any new music or videos or stuff in the works?
Jennie: We are writing! Of course, haha.