By Amanda Romeo
In the heat of the day, Bad Mary kicked off Hofstra’s 2017 Fall Fest with a ton of energy.
Amanda Mac brought fire to the stage, with power-house vocals and a loud dynamic performance. After the show, the Hofstra-native band sat down with The Chronicle, Hofstra Today and WRHU to talk about how they started, how they felt playing at Fall Fest, and plans for their future as a group.
Bad Mary came together in 2009. Founding members were Amanda Mac (lead vocals), Mike Staub (bass/vocals) and David Henderson (guitar). Bill Mac, who is Amanda’s father, joined the band later as a replacement for their lost drummer.
They began writing originals about two or three years after starting as a cover band.
“We’re like a weird family band.” Bill Mac said, “My last semester was [Amanda’s] first semester, so we were actually on campus together, and I promised never to say hello.” Amanda laughed and continued, “I would walk up to him and he would be surrounded by a group of my friends.”
Bad Mary was not the original name of the band. “We Were “Madam X” for a while,” Staub said. “Until we realized that Madam X was like a bar, a movie… five other bands.”
Worried about fans getting them confused, they decided they had to change the name before releasing their first album.
“We basically came up with these criteria,” Henderson Explained, “It had to sound kind of punk, whatever that means. We didn’t know, it had to maybe be a little female but not necessarily. And then my wife came up with this idea; she said ‘You got to be able to yell across the parking lot who you’re going to go see, and you need to be understood. And then the dot com had to be free, because that’s a huge thing, to be able to get a website.’”
Mike Staub, Amanda and Bill Mac are all Hofstra alumni, and said playing at Hofstra feels like a homecoming.
“Coming here and being able to play Fall Fest was so cool. I’ve been to Fall Fest, hung out at Hofstra for years, midnights, early mornings.” Staub said. “It feels really cool. Still to this day, it still feels like a second home… We love it here, hopefully we get the opportunity to come back.”
Amanda Mac also added, “It’s also cool, Fall Fest specifically, because you see people from all the years. I saw people from my class who I haven’t seen for years.”
On musical influences and inspiration, band members had some different things to say. “I’m a big musical theater kid” said Amanda, “so half that and I want to say half Kathleen Hanna. I like to channel her a lot. There’s this documentary about her, she’s awesome, and she’s just like wearing whatever she wants and she’s so free and open with her thoughts and I try to channel that up there because that helps me connect better with everybody.”
“I try to channel [Kathleen Hanna] just because she was so cool about trying to create a safe welcoming environment for everybody, and the whole ‘girls to the front’ thing. There are a lot of times we’ll go to places and I’ll be the only girl up on stage that whole night. Sometimes if you’ve never played a place before, you walk in and [people] will look at you like ‘Oh that’s cute’ and you have to get up there and show them ‘hey, I’m here.’ As a woman, sometimes you do face that but I try to let that strengthen me.”
David Henderson had a harder time nailing down exactly where his music’s influence comes from. He grew up in England and recalls listening to a wide variety of music. “Queen is definitely my favorite band even though in this band I’m probably not influenced by them at all. I mean, maybe but you know.” He continued, “Growing up, I was listening to metal. I love Motorhead, ACDC, The Clash, The Jam is a lot of what I was listening to. I mean I didn’t listen to any 90s stuff, I never listened to Green day.”
“We like to have fun on stage,” said Mike Staub. “We like to look like we’re having fun on stage and we like to execute that level of fun. We like to yell and scream, get people to clap and cheer. We want to make melodic music that people can sing and dance to.”
As for new music, Bad Mary definitely has something in the works but they are not quite ready to talk about it. “We just released an EP and it was exhausting, so I think we’re just probably starting to work on our next project. [The EP] just came out last week, but that doesn’t mean we’re not working on something,” said Staub.