The Mermaid Lounge
The Bad Off
September 26, 2004
Local rock band The Bad Off is coming up quick. After only four shows and five months together, they had enough hot word on the street to fill The Mermaid Lounge Sunday night. Vocalist/guitarist Erik Corriveaux strutted his smooth rock-star persona around the stage like a man who’s heard his fair share of soul and hip-hop music(Evidence: Corriveaux covered Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” at a solo acoustic gig a month ago). Corriveaux drove the performance with his fun vibe and his powerful and passionate voice, which made me think of James Hall, Dax Riggs, and Jeff Buckley. The music was straightforward, forceful, melodic rock, but it was also sculpted by the rhythm. Corriveaux’s offbeat strumming locked in with the kick drum and gave the music an extra flavor.
“My style—the edgy, in and out, jagged stuff—comes from guys like Television’s Tom Verlaine,” Corriveaux said over the phone recently.
Corriveaux only started playing the guitar a year ago. Bass guitar was always his main instrument, which explains his lock with the drummer.
“I’m not a guitarist, I’m a guitar player,” Corriveaux said. “It’s not what I’m getting at, it’s where I’m coming from. My execution might not be exact, so it’s more about the passion. I’m coming at it out of sheer honesty.”
Corriveaux is the band’s main songwriter. At the group’s beginning, Corriveaux presented songs to drummer Jody Smith, after which they found bassist Dan Lauricella(Check out Smith’s New Orleans rock documentary, “Un-Heard-Of”). Unfortunately, original lead guitarist John Forn left the band after “inner turmoil,” Corriveaux said.
“We were moving in different directions musically.”
Guitarist Brian Berthiaume sat in for Forn Sunday night. He sounded like he had played with the band from the beginning. Props to him. The band will continue to play with Berthiaume until they can find a permanent guitarist.
“Brian has a good handle on the sound, so we don’t want to lose momentum,” Corriveaux said. “I’m grateful we’re not losing momentum,” he continued.
The opposite was true, according to former Iris May Tango guitarist Rene Dufourc. Dufourc approached Corriveaux after the show and complimented him on the band’s proficient tuning and their clarity of sound. I haven’t heard a band sound better at The Mermaid Lounge.
“The band has gotten good feedback,” Corriveaux said. “I love to see people rockin’ out, and it’s really cool to see people listening for the lyrics.”
Corriveaux is almost finished editing guitar parts for The Bad Off’s first demo, tentatively titled “Twilight and Eclipse.” He will shop around the demo to labels and hopefully get it distributed locally. The demo’s first four songs will be rockers, while the fifth slow song will close it out like a lullaby.
The near future looks bright for Corriveaux and The Bad Off. Nothing is definite, but the band is getting attention to open for national acts coming through town. Also, Corriveaux will do a featured solo set along with Dave Pirner, Alexandra Scott, and James Hall Friday night at The Mermaid Lounge. Finally, Corriveaux plays piano and Lauricella plays cello, so the band’s sound could change quickly.
“I like to keep my mind open,” Corriveaux said.