Band names are one of the most difficult yet important things to come up with. Graham Masser from party band, Bad Rabbits, knows that. “It’s good we changed our name before we actually released any records,” laughed Masser on discussing on the band’s former name, The Eclectic Collective.
“People could never get our name right and thought some ridiculous names: the Electric Collection, the Eclectic Correction, and my personal favorite, the Electric Contraceptive.”
Bad Rabbits was formed circa 2008, quickly becoming Boston’s all-time party band. Notorious for exclusive, do-it-yourself shows, each concert looked like a crowd-surfing affair at a Warped Tour stop — a feat the band already has under their belt.
“We would throw these parties, and you would throw a couple of bucks in, a couple kegs, and a very minimal sound system,” said Masser. “There [were] cheap mics for vocals, and everything else just went through the amps. Everyone came and went crazy.”
It comes to no surprise that much of the band's reception is centered on a charming yet formidable stage presence, which was not only the band's blessing but also a curse. Bad Rabbits became known for party band vibes, which were encapsulated in EP Stick Up Kids, a punk bomb rooted in funk revivalism and styled with big boogie synths and pummeling guitar riffs.
It wasn’t until the release of debut album, American Love, that the band found a balance between sheer musicianship and over-the-top energy. “Stick Up Kids was a straight 20-minute party EP,” said Masser. “We love those upbeat, fun songs, but we wanted to delve deeper in American Love.”
American Love proved that Bad Rabbits could do more than the EP riot led them on. While it makes its rounds to Prince’s funk braggadocio, Earth Wind & Fire’s soulful frills, and Bobby Brown’s R&B aplomb, it doesn’t get too caught up with time specific kinks like hero admiration. The expanded sonic palette is thanks to B. Lewis, producer and sixth unofficial member during the making of American Love.
“He’s very talented by utilizing the subtlety of melodies and lyrics, so it wasn’t just a carbon copy of our influences,” said Masser. “The album was a true collaborative effort in a sense that he helped spearhead songs in a certain direction as he sent us files of melodies and we would record over them.”
Though Bad Rabbits' sound has matured, the five-piece band has not lost the let-live luster. A love for Austin shows the band's appreciation for the bygone days of drunken house parties and cheap sound system setups.
“Playing at Plush during SXSW was packed to the gills. It was super hot and sweat was everywhere,” reminisced Masser. “Austin really takes us back to our early days in Boston and not many places can do that anymore.”
Bad Rabbits will play Stubb's on Saturday, August 3.