The Bad Things
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The Bad Things

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"An Open Letter to the Capitol Hill Block Party: Book the Bad Things"

Dear Capitol Hill Block Party, You Need to Book the Bad Things. The thing with this band is that within three songs the crowd will be swaying side to side, by the fourth the dancing will be open and unashamed. Accordion front man Jimmy the Pickpocket leers at the crowd and sings with a captivating energy reminiscent of Shane MacGowan crossed with Frank Black. Seeing them at the Comet on Friday the thirteenth was proof that Seattle loves the Bad Things. You could feel the wooden dance floor move under your feet like a trampoline. The Bad Things announced at this show that it’s been ten years that they’ve been together. It shows. They are effortless with each other on stage. There’s that ESP that you get after years in the trenches. They were the least costumed act of the night. They are honest, and their music speaks volumes of emotion. They’re at their best when they are manic, Jimmy the Pickpocket’s neck vein popping out as he puts it all into the mic. Their songs are as comfortable as sea shanties, but they sound fresh. There’s nothing automatic, or stale. They held sway with the crowd at the Comet. It was a room full of last call shots and people congratulating each other for being in the right bar on the right night. This band would be perfect a the block party. Are you still there? Book this band. Give them an indoor stage and let them shake the dust out of the walls. You can thank me after. - CultureMob

"Georgetown Music Festival review"

"The gypsy caravan of The Bad Things complete with banjo’s, accordions, washboards, and mandolins lived up to their mischievous name. The music is built for dancing along, and even a few of the non-hippie kind of feet were feeling it." - Sound on the Sound

"SeattleNoise: The Bad Things"

WHAT: Known to some as Seattle's premier "junkyard cabaret" band, this sextet is a carnival on wheels. The lineup includes Jimmy "the Pickpocket" Berg (vocals, accordion), Miss Funi "La Fantastica" McCloughlin (vocals, castanets, tin-can brassiere), Austin "Mad Wilcox" Quist (upright bass, musical saw, sousaphone), Beau "Stanislav the Gypsy" Hebert (guitar, mandolin), Miles "Captain" Panto (banjo, dobro), and Steve "Lord" Kamke (drums).

QUOTE: "If you listen to our songs," Berg explains, "you'll see that many of them are about people doing bad things, i.e. killing their lovers (or in a couple of songs, an entire town), drinking too much, drugging too much, killing themselves, etc. I always thought of the band as a sort of gang that celebrated the darker sides of life. Our gigs feel like celebrations, but the subject matter is pretty dark a lot of the time -- creating an interesting dichotomy. The idea becomes, 'Drink up now because bad things happen every day, and we're all gonna die someday no matter what.' And, yes, people should do bad things to our songs or at least think about doing them."

CAREER DEBUT: July 22, 2002, as part of a Pirate Radio benefit at Freeway Park, although for several months prior the group had been busking as a three-piece at Pike Place Market.

SOUND: As if a bunch of Gypsy marauders were performing macabre circus sideshow songs around a campfire in the middle of an abandoned cabaret that serves wine in a jug and mead on tap.

RELEASES: Their 2003 demo, "The Bad Things," came with a handmade cover but is now out of print; 2004's "The Bad Things" is considered their proper debut; the band also had a song ("Angel's Disguise") featured on the 2006 compilation "Girlfriends and She-Devils: A Tribute to the Femme Fatale," followed by "Vaudeville Show" and next week's release, "It'll All Be Over Soon."

INFLUENCES: "Lyrically, I was inspired by the train-hopping gutter punks that I kept company with as a young man. While I never hopped trains, I loved the stories told while drinking under bridges and around campfires, and I think we all had a deep love for folk and old-timey music."


NEXT SHOW: 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at Columbia City Theatre, 4918 Rainier Ave. S. with a bevy of other acts both nights. The first 100 people through the door will receive a free copy of the new CD. Tickets: $15 at :; $20 at the door. 21 and over.

-- Shawn Telford - Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Mark Ostler of Warning:Danger! Picks His Favorite Music of 2009 (New and Old)"

"Vaudeville, cabaret, drunken alley cat music, I have a soft spot for these genres. The imagery conjured by The Bad Things, both lyrically and musically, transports you to the dirty streets and back alleys of a 1920's metropolis. Grab your whiskey and forget about your heartaches, cause these drunken clowns got your misery beat."
- Seattle Rock Guy

"Live Review: Balkan Beat Box and The Bad Things at The Showbox"

"I slowly emerged from my comatose state and I realized, inside the Showbox, one of my favorite local bands would take the stage: The Bad Things!

Just what the doctor ordered!

The Bad Things make me crave beer and I had not consumed any type of tasty beverage since Red Fang.

"I want a beer," droned Nik - his first complete sentence in almost a week!

Suddenly, circumstances seemed promising. The Bad Things playing acted like a shot in the arm. The SRG and I started having a conversation - about RED FANG!

Over a few songs, our attention solely belonged to The Bad Things and conversation turned to our culture needing more drinking bands/songs and agreed The Bad Things would rule the drinking band genre charts if such thing existed.

Why doesn't such a thing exist?" - Seattle Rock Guy

"Bad Things Happen To A Tractor"

In their press sheet, Seattle "junkyard cabaret" outfit The Bad Things dubs their brand of punked-up klezmer boogie "the music of the Post-Apocalyptic Depression Era." A cursory perusal of any news source indicates that we've reached that milestone, so we might as well embrace the soundtrack. The Bad Things crank out a mad, spiraling gypsy swing that will appeal to anyone who loves DeVotchKa, Gogol Bordello, the Circus Contraption band or life itself, and you can get a belly full of that tasty stuff at tonight at the Tractor, -

""Woebegone" review"

"...the emphasis here is grungy, unplugged, old-world fun - sea shanties, banjo-plucked dustbowl gloom, things like that." - The Hippo

"Album Review - Danbert Nobacon "Woebegone""

The Bad Things are a somewhat iconic and well established gypsy-folk band who have been performing together on street corners, underground gigs and grass-roots festivals all over North America for the past eight years. I am a big fan of this band, regularly checking out YouTube for any madcap performances at some illegal party or other. Apart from the debauchery and fall-out attitude of this band they are above all very talented songwriters and performers....Danbert Nobacon is clearly a very talented musician and songwriter and collaborating with The Bad Things will have been his best career move to date. - The

"Drunk By Noon"

"The punk through the sesibility of The Bad Things...the outfit mixes folk, mountain music, and Klezmer into a seamless and delerious live show...the (instruments) might all be acoustic, but the energy is bare wire punk, with a joy buzzer of hilbilly thrown in for good measure." -Nate Lippens - The Stranger

"Bad Things "Self Titled" CD review"

"...if you're looking for junkyard polkas in the graveyard at midnight, look no further. The Bad Things have dug up the remains of all the Gypsy-folk, Klezmer bands in the graveyard, set them ablaze, and danced around the fire singing some alcoholic hillbilly rave-up about dust, death, and the devil."
-Barnacle Brian - Shite and Onions zine

"Bad Things Live Review"

I was invited to a show by the band The Bad Things on Saturday, the 11th of December. My friends and I headed out to a place called The Flying Kangaroo in Georgetown, Seattle. (editors note: it's actually the Firebreathing Kangaroo!) When we arrived we discovered it was basically a party house for squatter punks, but that the place had hosted plenty of shows and earlier that day had been the end destination for a performance group of bicyclists who dressed in war-paint and odd costumes. Many of them still lingered around for the upcoming show.

The only bands on the bill were The Bad Things, with a guy by the name of Pipsqueak as an opening act. I was looking forward to The Bad Things after hearing their music for the first time about a month ago and having several friends claiming to be true fans.

(The Bad Things) are a band of misfits making a sound similar to old world European gypsy music, with just a hint of the punks they keep company with. The band was comprised of a male and female singer who played washboard and accordion as well, a banjo, a drummer, a guitar, a stand up bass, and a wheel-chaired dwarf vocalist with a tambourine. Their look alone deems them cooler than most. Their set was solid with lots of folk styles alike to polka and waltz formats. Occasionally one of the band members took breaks from their preferred instruments to play the saw or the liquor bottle handed to them.

Their songs mustered images of sad faced vaudeville characters and farmers singing to their sheep beneath paper moons. PickPocket and DiTolvo, the duet who sang such sad songs looked a perfect match for the words they gave forth. He appeared as a drunken dirty-faced young man who could have just returned from the coal mines to put down a few pints before the pub closed. And lovely DiTolvo though beautiful in so many ways had a curve to her smile that hinted that everything wasn't all together upstairs. The occasional lyrical interludes by the little man in the chair they call Danny Dead were always clear and haunting, adding another notch in the spooky belt The Bad Things wear everywhere they go. Although by this time I was two sheets to the wind with my friends Johnnie Walker and Bier I remained clearheaded enough to count the performance as one of the best shows I had seen in a year or more.


"Bad Things Live Review (Crocodile with DeVotchKa)"

"I never would have imagined such a display of carnival-esque debauchery. I was simultaneously delighted, amused, turned-on (!!), horrified, and inspired. The audience this band draws to shows are as much a part of the circus scene as the band itself."
Erinn J. Hale -photographer for Three Imaginary Girls


"It's a Long Black Train - The Bad Things Bring Folk to the Forefront"

People that claim that folk is dead in the Northwest have one thing in common: they have not seen the Bad Things play live. Formed from the ashes of Seattle underground favorites A Midnite Choir, the Bad Things have been performing in pubs, clubs, and your local Seattle sidewalks for the past year and a half. Combining elements of gypsy, folk, klezmer, hillbilly ballads, mariachi crooners, and a vaudeville theatrical aesthetic, the group has a reputation for drunken debauchery and feverish dancing at their live shows. The instruments are all acoustic: banjo, percussion, accordion, guitar, and upright bass, and the group blends their old-fashioned style with a post-modern sense of black humor in the lyrics. Their name is derived from the Midnite Choir song "Physical Withdrawals" a twisted fable of being attacked by a demonic legion of supernatural beings in the night (Pickpocket's note: The song is actually about alcohol withdrawalsÂ…courtesy of Mr. Greg Adair!). "There's definitely a punk influence just in the way we go about it, just not with loud guitars or anything." notes Jimmy the Pickpocket, the group's lead singer and accordion Player. "It's all based (in) different kinds of folk music-Mexican, Russian, Tango, and Hillbilly. Now it's become more of our own sound."

In addition to regular appearances at the Nine Pound Hammer, The Beacon Pub, and the Funhouse, it is not uncommon to stumble upon the Bad Things playing outside Westlake Center or at the Pike Place Market in the spring and summer. "That's what this music is about, it's meant to be played on the streets." When I traveled through Europe, the one thing I really loved was seeing the gypsy musicians and accordion players out on the sidewalks. There weren't people just brushing them off; they were part of the culture. That's something that doesn't happen in America enough," adds Jimmy. However, the group has limited their appearances on the waterfront and at Pike Place because of new permits that buskers and street musicians are now required to purchase before performing. McBee (the banjo player) remarks, "The crowd you're going to encounter on the street is so different from when you play a show; it makes you proud to be a musician, especially when someone stops and pays attention. You're just kind of naked out there."

The Bad Things plan to record a full length album in May with producer Kearney Barton (known for his work with The Sonics in the sixties!), with intention of releasing it on Silent City Records, their own label.

-Robert Hanna
- The Tablet

"Review of "Vaudeville Show" CD"

As you can tell from the title, The Bad Things are a twisted bunch of players. You might assume they know their Brecht from their Brel and they say ten 'ave Tom Waits' each night. The singer calls himself 'Jimmy the Pickpocket' and the rest have equally fancy nicknames. Either you'll know it's for you or hate it.

"Thy Will Be Done" is like an Americana song seen though a prism of gaudy cabaret. "Angel's Disguise" features a musical saw while Jimmy sings of meeting a bewildering girl. "Kill Yourself" is a very merry, very Waitsy song giving spiteful advice to the angel girl of the previous song. "All The clowns Are Now Garbage Collectors" is an ace title for a great song.

The Bad things are a great group and their vaudeville show is most inspired.

"Border Radio"

"As an avid fan of the novel "Geek Love" and all things reeking of Coney Island, I find that (The Bad Things) demented carnival tunes - as featured on their new album "Vaudeville Show" resonate vividly in my addled brain." - Kurt B. Reighley - The Stranger

"Rocka Rolla"

"Halloween and rock 'n' roll are natural bedfellows, so it comes as no surprise that this week brings a wide array of entertainment options for people who prefer to mix the macabre with the musical. My pick for the most perfect pairing is the Bad Things, a band of lovable, local loonies who have garnered themselves a slavish cult following, thanks to their wickedly weird, devious carnival soundtrack. Working with the intriguing, antiquated ingredients of traditional klezmer music, Appalachian balladry, and a strong streak of Gypsy-folk and Mexican influences, the Bad Things are both charming and creepy. If your idea of a good time includes ghostly accordion playin', German clowns, diminutive deviants offering disquieting spoken-word interludes, aerialists, a darkly beautiful siren leading you astray, or just a general sense of old-world rapture colliding with modern punk sensibilities, then the Bad Things will leave you delighted."
-Hannah Levin - The Stranger

"Yes Yes You Can Can"

"Tableau Vivant danced and mimed skits involving dueling courtesans in Louis XIV–era dresses and mechanical dolls launching failed love affairs. An appropriately gravel-voiced Danny Dead spun tales and the Bad Things Orchestra accompanied the action with Parisian circus-slash-jug band music. It was burlesque in its broadest sense: light on salaciousness and heavy on broad humor, with titillation for everyone present—buxom women jiggling their pasties and the only man who's ever made a skintight red knit leotard look alluring. Lights shining up from the stage floor cast the performers' beauty in tawdry, exotic hues, making them look like they belonged in the Moulin Rouge—this time the Parisian icon, not the movie."
- The Seattle Weekly

"Death Polka by Annie Reinke"

Six years ago on the rainy, polluted streets of Seattle the darkly funny band The Bad Things first took shape as an all-acoustic vaudeville group with a legion of instruments and a heap of charmingly devious characters. Traditional music collides with latter-day black
humor and despair in a raucous cacophony of antiquated/obscure
instruments like the accordion, banjo, melodica, saw and a pair of steel boob-drums called “the Funi ta-ta’s” to name just a few.

The Bad Things consists of: ‘Jimmy the Pickpocket’ (Jimmy Berg),lead vocalist who plays the accordion, organ and melodica; ‘Funi La
Fantastica’ (Stephanie McLaughlin) lead and backing vocalist and percussionist; ‘Stanislov the Gypsy’ (Beau Hebert) on guitar and
mandolin; ‘Mad Wilcox’ (Austin Quist), backing vocalist who plays the upright bass, sousaphone and saw; ‘Captain Panto’ (Miles Panto) on the
banjo and dobro; and ‘Lord Kamke’ (Steven Kamke) on percussion.

The Bad Things have attracted a cult following of fans for their
riotous, wine-swiggin’ live shows. Their music has been called “the party being held at the end of the world.”

Local fan Aireekah Laudert said, “Their music is filthy yet lovely,waltz-inducing, and extremely entertaining. They probably make me want to drink more than any other band.” Laudert is a new member of the
Dirty Bird Cabaret, a Bellingham act that will perform with The Bad Things on Friday, March 13 at the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern.

The band’s third and latest album It’ll All Be Over Soon was released in August 2008. The album was recorded in an old vaudeville theatre in Seattle with vintage equipment that produces a warm, old-timey-sounding
recording. The themes of death, heartache and general woe are delivered in a light-hearted and bouncy polka way, similar to other albums, but the music sounds more subtly textured and complex than ever.

“The new album is a step forward for us,” said Jimmy the Pickpocket(Jimmy Berg), the band’s co-founder and Bellingham native. “Some great new tunes and more exploration of new styles than in the past.”

Quist said of the album, “It’s another file in the increasing stack of evidence that we are a bunch of drunken, twisted, mental cases that maybe shouldn’t be allowed to record, or at least not be inflicted upon decent god-fearing people.”

The Bad Things are influenced by the style of traditional folk
music; including Russian and Gypsy folk, American bluegrass, and Klezmer music (think bar mitzvah), but retain the spirit of a punk-rock band. The band describes themselves as “junkyard waltzes and shameless

Seattle’s Cabaret Macabre, which was created by The Bad Things five years ago, started as a way to bring similar carnival/cabaret/old-timey
bands together to celebrate The Bad Things’ favorite holiday:
Halloween. The event has featured Dark carny, Baby Gramps, Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling, PURE Suspension piercing and of course The Bad Things.

Next fall, The Bad Things will be part of the first annual Seattle international cabaret festival that will feature The Tiger Lilies and The Yard Dogs Road Show. Berg said the details are still in the works. - What's Up Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



In 2002. The Bad Things were formed out of the ashes of A Midnite Choir, a cult favorite in the, then burdgeoning, Seattle underground cabaret scene.

Upon the demise of the Choir, members Jimmy the Pickpocket (accordion, vocals) and Mad Wilcox (upright bass, musical saw) began playing new songs on the wet, Seattle sidewalks under the "Bad Things" moniker (a name taken from the Midnite Choir's ode to alcohol DT's "Physical Withdrawals"), eventually growing into the 6-piece ensemble that you see today.

They recorded their first CD with the legendary local producer Kearney Barton (The Sonics, The Ventures, The Kingsmen, etc.) which was released on their own label Silent City Records. The Bad Things quickly gained a reputation for "drunken debauchery" and "feverish dancing" at their live shows, and their theatrical aesthetic sealed their reputation as Seattle's premier "Junkyard Cabaret" band.

The group has built up a large and ridiculously devoted cult following through their reputation, three successful West Coast tours, and hundreds of local shows - including shows with national bands like X, The Blasters, DeVotchKa, Balkan Beat Box, Firewater, Woven Hand, Slim Cessnas Autoclub, Stephin Merrit and the Gothic Archies, Johnny Dowd and more.

They've also been featured in popular festivals like the Northwest Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot, The Georgetown Music Festival, Seattle Weekly's REVERB Festival, and their annual Halloween showcase of the hottest acts in the cabaret underground: Cabaret Macabre.

The Bad Things have also been highly active in the rich Seattle cabaret scene, providing soundtracks to dozens of theatrical, burlesque, aerial, and cabaret shows at popular local cabaret venues like The Triple Door, The Can Can, Showbox At the Market, The Moore Theater, and the Columbia City Theater including "The Breaking" - a live theatrical production based entirely on The Bad Things' music, performed by The Can Can's Castaways and directed by Armitage Shanks of Circus Contraption. They also provided the soundtrack for a documentary about the Seattle burlesque scene as part of's $5 Cover web series and a Dunder
Mifflin paper commercial.

They also recently released a collaboration with the co-founder of UK anarcho-pop legends Chumbawamba, Danbert Nobacon. The album was entitled "Woebegone" and was released in the fall of 2010 on Nobacon's Verbal Burlesque Records. Nobacon continues to be a guest performer at Bad Things gigs and the band has added some Nobacon titles to their setlist.

The band is currently working on their fourth studio album "After the Inferno" which is expected to be released on the band's own Silent City Records in the summer or fall of 2014. You have been warned!

Jimmy "The Pickpocket" Berg - Lead Vocals, Accordion
Austin "Mad Wilcox" Quist - Upright Bass, Sousaphone, Musical Saw, Backup Vocals
Mason Beau "Stanislav the Gypsy" Hebert - Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar
Gregg Miles "Captain" Panto - Electric Guitar, Dobro, Banjo, Backup Vocals
Steve "Lord" Kamke - Drums
Brendan Patrick Hogan - Trumpet, Keys

Sef-Titled EP "The Bad Things" limited edition -2003
The Bad Things "The Bad Things" Silent City Records -2004
The Bad Things "Vaudeville Show" Silent City Records - 2006
The Bad Things "It'll All Be Over Soon" Silent City Records - 2008
Danbert Nobacon & The Bad Things "Woebegone" Verbal Burlesque Records - 2010

Band Members