Monday, January 23, 2012

Bad Guy Reaction

The first time I saw Bad Guy Reaction might have been in the attic of 1208-A West Franklin, and I didn't get it.  There was a lot of buzz around them, people were way into them, and they got to be fairly popular in a short period of time.  Looking back, my "not getting them" may have had something to do with my lack of understanding about punk rock, and good ol' fashioned jealousy.
My opinions about each of the members of the band when they were starting out was varied.
KC Byrnes - I remember being at the VCU cafeteria (Hibbs) and there was a fratboy with pink hair being loud and insulting people.  I didn't really know if he was in a fraternity or just hung out with those types, but it wasn't my scene.
Greg Benedetti - Didn't know him at all, but was jealous of his height and his extremely cute girlfriend (I think her name was Amy?).
Dave Garrett - A good friend of mine from Williamsburg.
Marty Key - No idea who this person was.
One thing that was so nice about being young and having all the time in the world is that you could give things multiple chances.  Trial and error.  Nowadays, we click on a youtube of a band and if it doesn't grab you by the balls immediately, you can hit the little red X in the corner.  The Richmond music scene in the early/mid-90's was relatively small, so if there was a halfway good or interesting show, you'd go see it.  That was the entertainment back then - it wasn't about sitting on your couch clacking away on your keyboard (don't say it.).
I ended up seeing Bad Guy Reaction several times over the next few months, and while they didn't connect with me in the same way some other bands did, I grew to respect them and ended up... getting it.  Punk rock is about breaking down the barrier between the band and the audience.  Ideally, anyway.  In the crowd, you're supposed to look on that stage and say to yourself, "That could be me up there."  There was an element of chaos at Bad Guy Reaction shows.  Was a guitar string or a drum stick about to break?  Was an amp going to blow up?  Was a guitar or bass going to get unplugged (the answer to this one was usually yes)?  That's what made it exciting, though.  That, and the fact that after a few listens, the songs were solid.
My opinions on each of the band members changed too as I got to know them.  KC supposedly had an encyclopaedic knowledge of punk rock and legend has it that his record collection stops cold at the year 1983.  Greg actually turned out to be pretty cool, and I later came to wonder if that girl Amy had better taste in dudes than I gave her credit for.  The two of them (I think?) later went on to form the also popular band Wardance Orange.  Dave Garrett  later (and earlier, in a manner of speaking) went on to be in Williamsburg legends Thee Squids, and several others including Polish Revolver.  Marty is one of 2 people I know that have been in as many - if not more - bands than me, the difference being that one of them got to be huge: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.
A few years ago, my friend Dan Evans mailed me his Bad Guy Reaction tape.  The actual tape inside had broken, and I spliced it back together.  See if you can find the edit (you won't be able to).
Bad Guy Reaction


  1. Bad Guy Reaction was so punk that they made buttons by putting a BGR sticker on top of some other sucker's button (I found one in a box of old stuff recently). I wonder if Greg still hates me.

  2. I remember going to a somewhere near Roanoke (Botetourt County?) in somebody's home basement daycare center. Marty from Bad Guy Reaction was there in a leather coat that said "Fuk Shit Up" on the back.