Bad Influence

This week we were lucky enough to see ‘Bad Influence’ at  the Riverside Club in Staines.

Originally founded in 1986 –  by Val Cowell (vocals and rhythm guitar) with Richard Hayes ( Lead Guitar & Slide Guitar ) –  the band has seen many line ups over the years  … But all the while Richard and Val have been the coherent driving force behind their quality sound and constant achievements.

bad influence shortIn the course of their long career,  the band has released six CD’s, including “Closer” in 2005 and “Carousel” in 2009 and they have performed at many festivals and conventions across the nation.

In 2012 Bad Influence supported STATUS QUO at Nottingham and Gateshead.

Val sounds like a darker and deeper Bonnie Raitt – and she plays happily choppy rhythms to their many roots influenced songs that sit amicably somewhere between  ‘rock’ and ‘blues’ –  but also contain a heap of soulful influences.

The main vocal is delivered with feeling and emotion and is often abundantly and generously adorned with clever and insightful guitar-work from Richard Hayes. His guitar solos often sneak up on the audience – and soon you find that you are seduced into their extraordinary complex mazeworks – before being released unharmed – but fuzzy-headed.

bad-influence-2 Then there’s the bass play and incredible percussion to behold. The drummer at the Staines Riverside gig was Clive Jenner (who has played with the Proclaimers, Groove Armada and Freestylers – and has established his own Drum Studios) – he played  like a frenzied demon –  whirligigging all over the drum set – with the speed and energy of an athlete and the precision and quick-wit of a chess player.

Pete Stroud was on bass (Pete was formerly with the Peter Green Splinter Group) and his hands moved up and down the frets like a master puppeteer on psychostimulants. It was amazing to witness!

The long and highly accomplished set consisted of (mostly) original songs with a handful of carefully chosen and artfully rendered ‘covers’ that added piquancy and frisson to the show.  The overall effect was splendid musical mastery and genuine excitement.

Thanks to the organisers at the wonderful Riverside Club Staines for another evening of prime entertainment.

Words & Images – © Neil Mach March 2014 –



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