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Bad Influence are UK blues rock band who have toured extensively and currently feature two Thunder members intheir ranks - bass player Chris Childs & drummer Harry James. Over to vocalist Val Colwell...

1. What are you currently up to?

It's business as usual for the band, we have a 'circuit' of venues to play and we do so regularly. We recently recorded a live session for the Paul Jones Show on BBC Radio 2 to be broadcast in February. Our most recent album release was a live one, and we are curently working on our next album which will be an original one.

2. Who is/were your influences?

My original influences were Joni Mitchell and Carole King but latterly Bonnie Raitt of course and then I'd have to say my big brothers who are both musicians.

3. Brief history of the band plus the style of music you play.

Bad Influence formed 10 years ago with Val Cowell on vocals and guitar and Richard Hayes on lead/slide guitar. After a few changes over the years, the band has now settled with Chris Childs (bass) and Harry James (drums) completing the rhythm section. Our style is predominantly blues/rock, with hints of country and funk. Our set list is original songs with some cover versions from bands such as ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and Tom Petty. We've had the current line-up for sometime now so it's really tight and gutsy live.

4. What have been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

Lowpoint is definitely playing the Marquee the day the Gulf War broke out having previously sold it out 12 times!!! High point is now really. We have a great band , play constantly and the Radio 2 thing is a good indication of things to come.

5. How easy is it to get gigs? What is the live music scene like? Who have you toured with and would like to tour with in the future?

We're lucky in that we've built up a reputation and a fan base at a level that works for us. Although we play smaller gigs, we're in the lucky position to be completely in control of what we do, to be able to do it all the time and to enjoy it as long as the fans keep coming out to see us. With band members also being involved in other projects, it might be tricky to fit in a full tour - we'd love to do some festivals, just need the time to pursue them!

6. How did you get the Thunder rhythm section into the band? How does Harry James find time to drum for Bad Influence, Thunder AND Magnum?

Well., we were actually managed by the Thunder management team in the 90's but it was through a mutual fan coming to one of our gigs that knew I was looking for a drummer and Harry being the ultimate muso that he is started working with us as well as Thunder. We got Chris in about a year after that and here we are. It's actually quite easy for H.and Chris to fit everything in as the likes of Thunder and Magnum do tours in short spurts so I can book the band around the dates pretty well!!! On the rare occasion they absolutely cannot make a gig, we do have a few stand-ins to call upon.

7. If you could create a fantasy band - what would be the line-up and why?

My present one with Bonnie Raitt on BV's ha ha ha.

8. What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

"One Way Love" and our latest live album are both available from and for more details on this, our gigs and the forthcoming radio session, check out our website

9. Message to the fans

Thank you for your long and enthusiastic support (ARSE!), it makes us. Big love and see you soon.


Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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