Built on the premise of being a band that should have existed in the 90s and listened to by an older brother, BAD KOREA out of Virginia Beach is a blast from the past. They are not trying to be the band to make a bunch of money from their music; however, they do want to be a band to have fun and recreate what they felt going to concerts. They want to be able to keep the fun of punk rock alive and not judge others while doing such. BAD KOREA has released Mean Gesus and II, both of which are currently available for download. We spoke with the “bad Korean” himself Keith Baillargeon (guitarist/vocalist) about the origins of the bands identity, the response to their debut album II, and their humble goal for the success of this band — don’t be assholes.

How did you decide on the name?

The name BAD KOREA came from a friend of ours named Jenni Thomas. She was our original bass player and found a clip from the show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia that mentions “Bad Korea.” Since I’m Korean, it kind of just stuck. There’s really no political statement made behind it. Just one bad Korean and three not so bad Koreans.

What is the story behind your album?

The album is basically a collection of all the songs (including re-recorded songs off our demo Mean Gesus) that we wrote back in May 2014. We decided not to play any shows until we had at least eight to nine songs written so this is us basically saying, “Hey, here’s what we came up with.” The goal of this album was to capture the fun of punk rock again.

We feel that a lot of bands take themselves way too seriously and miss out on enjoying playing music. This attitude translates to the audience as, “Hey, we’re a band full of assholes,” and nobody wants that. Our songs are sometimes vague in their meaning. “David Dave David” for example is kind of cryptic and weird but there’s definitely a message there. I feel as if it’s up to the listener to kind of figure out how it relates to them. I used to do that with some of my favorite songs, and that’s how the songs became so special to me. Then, some of our songs, like “Heads I Win…” and “…Tails You Lose,” that are more clear and obvious to what they are about. (FYI - the song is about being broke).

How has the response to it been?

We’ve only released a few of the songs due to some technical issues, but the response has been positive overall. More and more people are coming to our shows and a couple punk websites like have streamed our music. Hopefully the rest of the album gets the same response.

How do you see the band transitioning into the future based on the philosophy of the band you should’ve listened to in the 90s? Is it something you see audiences continuing to follow?

I’m not sure what kind of transition we are going to take with future releases. We don’t want to write the same album over and over again, but at the same time, we want to stick with what we know and love. Virginia Beach definitely has a strong demand for fast punk bands, and it seems to be slowly coming back. But who knows really. It would be pretty awesome to have skate punk be a thing again.

What do you see the future of the band being?

I’m hoping for a fun future. We all have day jobs, wives, families, and other bands, so it’s tough to really see how far we can take it. BAD KOREA isn’t out to sell a million records or make a million dollars. It would be nice, but really, we are just four dudes who grew up on the same records and want to try to recreate that feeling we had when Fat Wreck and Epitaph were at their peak — just fun, honest punk rock that doesn’t judge anyone from being who they are.

There’s still a lot of elitist bullshit negativity in the “scene” today, and that’s something we want to stay away from. You don’t have to be the punkest motherfucker on the block to enjoy BAD KOREA. Just come out to our shows to have a good time, and don’t be a dick to others. We promise not to be assholes either.

For more updates on BAD KOREA, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and check out II on Bandcamp.

Shauna Crowley

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