Cannock rockers The Bad Flowers on remaining unsigned and their upcoming tour
They formed in Cannock just four years ago - and since then have supported their icons, played festivals and performed on the continent.
Midland lads The Bad Flowers have done pretty well for themselves; even maintaining control over their material and revenue by remaining self-managed and unsigned.
And though many acts scramble for record deals, frontman Tom Leighton says they intend to remain on their own for as long as they can.
"We've always had full control over what we've done and done things the way we've wanted to do them," says the 29-year-old singer and guitarist.
"I think for the first album it’s been really important to be ourselves.
"We'll continue this way until we need the help to take things to the next level."
Despite having released their first album Starting Gun today, the trio each have their own full-time jobs alongside the band; with Tom having a career in the construction industry, 27-year-old bassist Dale Tonks being an electrician, and 25-year-old drummer Karl Selickis working in a bar.
They will play a launch show celebrating the release of their debut album at Birmingham's Asylum venue tomorrow evening, which Tom says will be 'awesome' with 'some fantastic support bands too'.
He says it can be difficult to juggle both the band and their jobs - but that the members' employers are all thankfully 'understanding'.
And that's just as well, as the chaps set out on a 12-date tour of the UK from February 22, alongside Walsall rockers Stone Broken and American blues-rock guitarist and singer Jared James Nichols. This tour will see The Bad Flowers perform in places such as London, Manchester, Glasgow and Chester - as well as a slot at Planet Rock Winters End Festival in Poole.
"We're massively looking forward to the tour," adds former Cheslyn Hay High pupil Tom.
"With Stone Broken being a local band and having toured with Jared before, I think we're going to have a lot of fun.
"We're playing cities and venues we've not done before too.
"On the tour, we'll be playing a lot of the new songs from the album and maybe even adding some extra twists to them. We love to change things up live, but one thing I can promise is it's going to be loud."
The Bad Flowers also have a variety of festivals lined up for this year including Steelhouse Festival in Gwent, Wales, on July 28, when fellow Cannock rocker Glenn Hughes will be headlining. Other festivals they are set to play are Teddy Rocks Festival in Dorset alongside acts such as Feeder and Ash; Stone Free Festival at the O2 in London; and Hard Rock Hell 11 in North Wales.
"It’s pretty cool to know we'll be at the same event as Glenn Hughes when we play Steelhouse. We were meant to be playing at Hard Rock Hell with him a couple of years ago and he had to pull out, so we're glad we have the chance to be on the same bill again," says Tom.
"We were lucky enough to catch Black Country Communion at the Wolverhampton Civic and they were incredible."
When asked what it's like to tour with The Bad Flowers, Tom says being on the road with Dale and Karl is like 'being with brothers'.
"The funniest thing to happen on tour was Dale trying to climb through the bulk head of our old van and getting completely stuck," laughs Tom.
As a Staffordshire kid aspiring to play music, Tom says he was able to make use of local venues in and around the area but, due to closures, this is no longer a viable option for aspiring bands.
"There have been a few places that went from the local scene," explains Tom.
"There was the rock cafe in Cannock, as well as places like the Varsity and Little Civic in Wolverhampton.
"When we first started out these were the places that were great stepping stones for young bands.
"It's meant that there aren't as many young bands coming through anymore, because it’s hard for them to find shows and learn the craft.
"We've grown a lot as a band since the release of Vicious Lullabies in 2015, for example. We've developed our sound a lot more.
"We've learnt loads from just getting out there and playing shows week in and week out and developing our song writing."
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