Bad Cop / Bad Cop is a California-based band comprised of guitarists/vocalists Stacey Dee and Jennie Cotterill, bassist/vocalist Linh Le, and drummer Myra Gallarza. Known for their pop-inflected punk, vocal harmonies, and high energy stage shows, the band has developed a devoted following and has become a familiar presence on the tour and festival circuit.
Following their blistering 2015 full length debut, Not Sorry, Bad Cop / Bad Cop will release a new album, Warriors, next month on Fat Wreck. The album, was written following a period for the band that saw them almost split up, only to come back stronger than ever. While on the road as part of Fat Wreck’s 25th Anniversary tour, Dee, who had long struggled with addiction, found herself in a downward spiral. Coupled with the demands of the tour, tensions heightened between the bandmates. After a particularly bad incident, Dee went one, way while the rest of the group headed back to California, where they were faced with the decision of whether to continue on together, or throw in the towel.
With the support of friends and family, Dee sought treatment. “Going through my recovery was a scary place. Not because of wanting to continue to use, but because I didn’t know what was happening to my brain. I was completely sober and both hearing and seeing things that weren’t there. I felt like I was on a solo mission acid trip and it lasted for months. I really was at rock bottom… I was like a child again; learning how to do stuff like smell a rose and drive my car. The first few weeks were nuts, I had no idea what was real and what wasn’t. I was so raw, that I was able to reinvent a lot about myself. My memory from the past ten years is almost gone from what I did to myself. I don’t remember a lot, so I was afforded the opportunity to rebuild while taking accountability for the lame things I did remember doing.”
Eventually, she approached her bandmates to clear the air, make amends, and hopefully start a new chapter. “[I said,] ‘I really want to be open, honest and fair about everything and get all the crap out on the table now, so we don’t have any resentments moving forward. If we are gonna make this work, we have to be on the same team.’ Thankfully they were into it too,” she says.
Warriors embodies Bad Cop / Bad Cop’s signature boldness and knack for writing hooks and showcases their strongest musical chops and lyrics yet, arguably a testament of what they’ve been through and how they got through it. “I may have gone through the greatest [personal] change, but as a band we changed fundamentally,” Dee says. “Everyone became more compassionate, encouraging, understanding, positive-minded and happy people. We noticed that—yeah we were strong women individually, but when we join forces we are unstoppable! That’s really what ‘warriors’ means to me. We are a group of like-minded women as well as a punk rock band that stands for balance, honesty, equality, freedom and a true universal justice for everyone.”
Band portrait from JC Penny
These social and political themes comprise the second major thread throughout Warriors, though as Cotterill says, “There is no hard definition between personal and political for me. My beliefs all come from the same place and everything is informed by and connected to everything else.”
“Amputation,” the second track to be revealed from the album, drives this point home perfectly. An steadfast, anthemic take on recognizing unhealthy or unequal relationships, and breaking away with your head held high. “As a younger woman I found myself wrapped up in all kinds of unhealthy and unbalanced interpersonal situations because I didn’t feel that I could walk away, or didn’t know how to remove myself. Now I know that if it’s bad for you, cut it. If the destructive party is able to clean up their act and correct whatever it was that caused things to go off course, then it’s okay to pick things up again. Until then, save yourself! Nobody else will,” Cotterill says.
With its heartfelt lyrics, “Amputations” maintains a universal feel that is open to interpretation. It’s equally easy to imagine its lyrics as a conversation ending a friendship or romance, or an open letter to public figure. “We are at a point right now where more people are recognizing the need to speak openly about sociopolitical issues, and that’s very exciting. I had been seeing the need for a dialog on issues—usually feminist, but all topics shrouded by ignorance and misinformation—in my life, and in interactions with people who I respect and believe to be decent humans. I decided to try and talk openly with as many people as I could to try and de-stigmatize certain topics. The Presidential election was the nail in the coffin for my ‘being polite’ and biting my tongue,” Cotterill says.
Warriors comes out June 16 on Fat Wreck. Pre-orders are available now.