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Bad Cop Talks Band Beginnings, The Local Music Scene, and Cage the Elephant

bad cop

Nashville, Tennessee band, Bad Cop, has become one of the best rock bands the local music scene has to offer impressing audiences all over the US and Canada.

Bad Cop members include Adam Moult on vocals and guitar, Alex Haartnis on guitar, Mike Frazier on bass, and Danger Kilpatrick on drums. Since the band began several years ago, the lineup of members has had several incarnations before settling with the current set up.

“When Bad Cop started it was actually a different line up. Bad Cop is like my band and it’s not. We are a band now, finally after four years, I feel like I have found my team,” said Moult.

Moult first crashed on the punk music scene of Nashville in 2002 playing with bands when he was only 12 years old. Moult claims bands and performers such as  The Doors, David Bowie, The Stooges, The MC5, and The Exploding Hearts as the influences behind his musical style. Frazier echoed his sentiments also adding that “musically I come from a very punk and hardcore place. ”

In February of 2009, Bad Cop got its first break when they put out their first EP. They created roughly 100 copies and put them out for free at a local music store, Grimey’s Used and Pre Loved Music in Nashville.

“We took it to Grimey’s and put it in the front there and all of a sudden we started getting all sorts of reviews and stuff. Out of nowhere people started talking about it. Then we got booked at a whole bunch of shows at once. So we were learning to play live as we started playing live,” said Moult.

A couple of months after their EP took off, Bad Cop signed onto the New York Label: Roar. The band then moved to New York City where they did a residency that included playing shows once a week in the city as well as in Philadelphia.

Shortly after returning from New York City, the group toured the US and Canada before putting out their first album.

“Then we put the record out and actually ended up scrapping the band and getting a new a band together with Mike playing drums, which was weird. And we had no bassist,” explained Moult.

Bad Cop continued on with that set up for two shows including the CMJ Showcase. Eventually they added on Kilpatrick on Drums and moved Mike to bass. Unfortunately their guitarist at the time (Mikey) had to leave the band, with no ill feelings, due to family obligations.

“Mikey left the band because he is older you know, has a family. There are no bad feelings and we still hang out with him,” said Moult.

Haartnis was added and the current band lineup was solidified.

Bad Cop sits as one of the darker and serious local bands in the city of Nashville. However, it is also the band’s attitude towards their music that sets them apart from others in the local scene. Unlike a lot of bands, Bad Cop isn’t concerned with making a lot of money or becoming famous, they make music because they genuinely love it.

“A lot of the bands here openly in the press talk about how they are trying to make money by doing this, you know we like money too but we have never done this for money, this is just something we have always done. It is our way of expressing/diagnosing our feelings. We are trying to speak for people our age and how they feel but we don’t really do it for money or attention. I think it is sort of weird that people do that,” explained Moult.

While a lot of bands are playing a genre that can be described as “party rock,” music speaking to the happier points of life, Bad Cop focuses on writing music that is real. Realizing that life is not just about kick-ass beach parties and happy-go-lucky weekends, Moult and his band members set out to write about what is real, and what is hard in life. The songwriting also doesn’t fully rest on one member.

“Recently it has become a team effort. When it started, it was solely me and Alex, we wrote everything. Now it is a team effort. Me, Danger and Alex will write all of our own songs same with Mike, but then we will collaborate sometimes. This album is everyone and actually Brad [Shultz] co wrote one of the songs on it too.”

Bad Cop also has an extensive relationship with band Cage The Elephant who has taken a special interest in the band.  Cage has taken the band on tour, while Brad Shultz – Guitarist for Cage, has been working hard to help move Bad Cop forward. With the help of Shultz and Cage, Bad Cop was able gain a bigger platform with more fans and more opportunities.

“They took us on tour, they helped us so much, they even post our stuff on their page. [Brad] is just sort of a big brother to me. We are so indebted to him,” said Moult.

As a Nashville band, Frazier and Moult agree that playing at the local Ryman Theater would be the one venue they hope to one day play at. The Ryman, which has housed great groups such as Ben Folds Five, represents to many local bands the sign that you have made it.

“I would want to play the Ryman with Townes van Zandt, and Elvis if I could play with anything that would be what I want to do. And Johnny Cash! With an existing band I would want to play with Cage the Elephant, either the black keys or Asap Rocky,” commented Moult.

Even though the band love the local music scene, they also have loved several of the out-of-state venues. Bad Cop has traveled all over the US on their tour with Cage the Elephant, landing them fans everywhere they went. Their favorite so far as been Cosmopolitan’s in Las Vegas.

“It looks out over the Vegas strip and a three-story screen while you are playing. We didn’t know we were going to be on the screen and we are playing and we look at we are on this huge fucking screen and its like “oh my god.” And it’s playing to all of Las Vegas Boulevard,” agreed Frazier and Moult.

In the end, all the band wants their fans to get out of their music is that life is meant to be lived. Moult, who has himself gone through some tough times, wants people to look into themselves and make their own opinions. In the end they want their fans to be free and happy and if their music can provide that, even if only for an hour, they are satisfied.

“I’ve had some weird experiences, some of them were written while I was in jail, like “Animal” People make life such a big fucking deal but you are only here for like 70-80 years so who cares if you have all these titles or this and that, who cares? Really just work on how you treat people. Treat people like you want to be treated.”

The future for Bad Cop is indeed very open. With a brand new EP on the horizon set to be released in the next few months, it seems windows and doors are opening all over the place for them. One thing for sure is that they will never stop writing good songs and good albums. While Moult explained that he would like to continue to grow and evolve like their friends Cage the Elephant, ultimately none of it matters as long the band can make honest music.

“I just want to keep writing good albums.  That is the one thing I never don’t want to do. I just want to keep writing good music that is honest. I want to be able to write what I feel and write how I want and continue with good honest music,” said Moult.

Frazier echoed his sentiments and also added,

“We have been kind of getting a lot of things ready for the future. I think we all just want to have people really loving what we are doing and really appreciating the music but also appreciating our message and taking it to heart.”


Their live shows are fun and incredibly dynamic to say the least. The words “energetic” and “completely fucking awesome” have also been thrown around. Moults’ voice is strong, sexy and effective. Partnered with the skillful instrumental work from all the band members, Bad Cop creates an unparalleled punk sound that is, without a doubt, sensational.

“Daylight” is the band’s biggest hit and deserves a listening or two (just put it on repeat really) and you won’t be disappointed.

Trust me, a Bad Cop live show is something you don’t want to miss.

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