Josh Katz, the shoot-from-the-hip frontman for L.A. rockers Badflower, recently turned 30. Of course, that milestone birthday evokes different things in people, most of them depressing. Katz felt some of that weirdness of not being considered “young.” But it doesn’t mean he’s boring. Indeed, Badflower turned the event into a teaching moment, a kickass song and an amazing video. This is Badflower at “30.”
The new Badflower track is an absolute standout. Katz runs down the list of the day’s (or life’s) dubious accomplishments in a way that’s sarcastic and brutally honest. The video itself is a treat on its own merits. It’s a celebration of timing and logistics, the kind of thing that would impress those dudes in OK Go.
Katz spoke with AltPress about Badflower neurosis surrounding milestone birthdays, the entropy of the planet and what you face when your lead singer is also supervising the pyrotechnics.
How horrible is turning “30” in Badflower Nation, anyway? Is it that weird psychic thing where you’re not considered “young” but nowhere near “every one of you dirtbags off my lawn” status?
JOSH KATZ: I just always thought 30 was old. Like when you’re a kid, your teacher is 30. Now I am, and Joey [Morrow, guitarist] is, and it’s like the band turned 30. So no, I’m not yelling at dirtbags in the yard, but psychically, it is weird.
At face value, the Badflower video seems like a sardonic take on the “hard being a rocker” life. But on deeper examination, it feels like the idea that you’re getting older and the world is revving up its dysfunction engine to 10,000 RPM. As if you were thinking, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this…”
The world does seem to be coming to a tipping point—socially, politically, economically, environmentally. The video is certainly a commentary on all of that. It’s very much of this time: what it’s like turning 30 in 2020 when things are so up in the air for everyone. But we still wanted to make fun of it all, too. One of my favorite things is all of the comedy specials that come out after things like COVID. The more you can laugh about this shit, the better. While also understanding that what’s happening in the world is real and deserves our attention.
How complex were the logistics making the Badflower video? What was the hardest sequence?
A lot of planning went into this video. Like several months of mapping out every move and camera angle and refining each point of the story. The director, Jordan Wolfbauer, and I live together, so this definitely became our full-time job. We built the stages in our backyard. I programmed the lights [and] learned all about pyrotechnics, and Jordan rehearsed every camera move like a dance. The hardest sequence was probably the fireworks at the end. We only had one shot at that one.
The litany of references (Twitter, being canceled, etc.) are very contemporary, but by the looks of things, it doesn’t look like they’re going to time-stamp the song in the way hearing tracks about Myspace do now. Was that something you had in the back of your mind when writing it?
I don’t really care about the way a song ages. Obviously, I want people to love our songs for years to come, forever, but that specific concern will never stop me from telling the story I want to tell. I am a millennial. I’m writing an album in quarantine in 2020. So I’m not really joking when I say on Twitter that this album was inspired by Twitter. It was. The Twitter stans are something to write about.
What happened at the end when someone off camera yells “Oh, fuck” and you run out of the frame toward them?
I was the pyro guy. I was handling the fireworks on the shoot, and something wasn’t happening properly. So I had to literally run toward the fire. We all laughed watching the footage back, so we left it in.
Watch Badflower turn “30” below.