Kevin Devine talks about the early days of Bad Books

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 20, 2013 

Bad Books with The Front Bottoms and Weatherbox will play at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St., West Columbia.


  • WHAT: Bad Books with The Front Bottoms and Weatherbox

    WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 24

    WHERE: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St., West Columbia

    COST: $12 in advance; $14 at the door

    DETAILS: 803-791-4413,

Combining two bands or artists with their own distinct sound can be tricky, and pop music is littered with failed side projects and ill-fated and ill-suited pairings that never came to fruition or failed to resonate with fans of either artist.

That hasn't been a problem for Bad Books, a collaboration between Brooklyn singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and members of the popular Atlanta-based indie rock band Manchester Orchestra.

Two years after the release of their first self-titled album, Bad Books released "II," in October to rave reviews from such publications as Paste Magazine, which said the band has "proven that they are more than Manchester Orchestra with Kevin Devine or vice versa by dropping any ego and making a cohesive record."

Making that record, Devine said, was hardly arduous.

"We made the record in two sessions over eight days in January and May 2012," Devine said. "(Manchester Orchestra frontman) Andy Hull and I each come in with fairly evolved song structures and pick them apart, build them up in studio. To this point, Andy writes the lyrics to his songs, and I do mine."

The result is an intimate but hard-charging album that evokes early Spoon albums or The Gaslight Anthem.

Bad Books will play Feb. 24 alongside Jersey-based indie-punk band The Front Bottoms and Orange County rockers Weatherbox at the New Brookland Tavern in West Columbia.

Devine discusses about the early days of Bad Books, his favorite songs on "II" and the story behind one of the album's most peculiarly named songs.

Question. What is it like touring as Bad Books? Do you think fans expect your songs or Manchester Orchestra songs sprinkled into the set?

Answer. We just do Bad Books material now that we have enough to fill a proper set. The audience seems to be satisfied, even excited, with that. We did some Manchester and (some of my) stuff on the first BB tours, but that was when we had less of our own material.

Q. What are your favorite songs on "II?"

A. I think "It Never Stops" is a really powerful and personal song for me. Of Andy's, I think "42" is beautiful, simple, impactful.

Q. One of the first songs that people heard from "II" was "Forest Whitaker." How did the name of that song come about?

A. I think Andy was sketching out a kind of crystal-toting hippy archetype; someone who would name her kid that. I also imagine he just liked the sound of the words.

Q. Will there be more Bad Books records?

A. Absolutely.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at


Bad Books' website

A mixtape made by the members of Bad Books

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