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Local Music Profile: The Bad Apples


The Bad Apples play funk. And their fans are so into them, it tends to get poetic. The Bad ApplesJust check out Mike Grau’s writings on a Buddies Tavern show in  Parlin, New Jersey:

“Pushing the air in front of themselves at such a rate as to cause a molten shockwave to arrive 10 minutes before the first song begins, it's The Bad Apples. They are built from pig iron and cigarette foil. They lock eyes with females in the audience. They perform songs without a net. They float to the ceiling and suck the audience with them through the blades of the roof mounted compressors that have powered Buddies Tavern since the late 40’s.”

Yeah. He went there.

Mike puts it a little more music-writing-ish than I can, but I’ll say this: Bad Apples are definitely doing something different. Having moved to the city from New Haven, Connecticut, the trio have been playing their own brand of jam and funk beats since recording their first album, Home, on bassist, guitarist and vocalist BJ Felsted’s recording equipment. They’ve since put the recordings (which includes the group’s second album, Today Begins At Night) on iTunes and have couchsurf-gigged their way across the country.

Drummer Dave Witter, saxophonist James Albism and BJ grew up together. They all played in the same 7-piece funk band in high school, then went to college separately. Afterwards, the three longtime friends reunited and moved to New Jersey. “We lived there for about a year,” says BJ, over the phone from the Northern Liberties apartment he shares with his bandmates, “and where we ended up moving from there was always between Philly and New York. After having played in Philly, it seemed like we were more drawn to this city than, really, anywhere else. The culture, the music, the whole vibe of it.”

They crossed the Ben Franklin in 2007 and have been a part of the city’s independent music scene since, making regular appearances all over the map – at Chris’ Jazz Café  in Center City, Manayunk’s Dawson Street Pub, and Alexander’s in the Northeast.

The Bad Apples headed off to middle America this past summer, hitting Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Colorado – and blogged about it along the way. Of Colorado, BJ wrote, via TheBadApplesAreBitter.com, “I fell in love with the Centennial State as soon as I had my first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains as we approached from Interstate 70 in the summer of 2008. The flat horizon turned jagged and menacing in the blink of an eye, and a raw sense of awe and intimidation tumbled through my veins. I had never witnessed such an impressive feat of natural, earthly creation. It is one of few things in this world that can make you feel equally significant and insignificant in the same breath.”

His favorite stops, he says, were the small Colorado ski villages, especially Telluride – the people were his kinds of people, he says: Ready to party.

“Couch surfing is the way to travel,” BJ tells me of the worldwide online network that puts travelers together, giving everyone a place to crash. “Every person we’ve met on Couchsurfing has been a perfect match for us. They all loved music and have been artists, shared the same vibe, it’s definitely the only way to travel.”

The Bad Apples will be playing the North Star Bar with Jamie McLean  of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band  on February 26th. Until then, BJ hosts an acoustic open house at Café Grindstone at the corner of 5th and South every Monday night. “I’m just hoping to meet some new artists and bring a scene to Café Grindhouse,” he says. “I was more than happy to get involved and get it off the ground floor. It seems like it’ll be a cool event.”

For booking: (203)-654-1593  booking@thebadapplesarebitter.com

On the Web: www.thebadapplesarebitter.com

MySpace: www.Myspace.com/thebadapplesarebitter