Bad Reed are a four-piece rock band from Paris, Ontario. Described as Jack White and Heart meets Led Zeppelin and Rush, Bad Reed channel intensity and power into all of their songs. Their lead vocalist and keyboardist, Sydney Sollazzo, stands out as a distinctive voice in the local rock scene. More significantly, she represents the exciting movement of more empowered women coming closer to the forefront of rock music.
Bad Reed is made up of drummer, percussionist, and backing vocalist Costa Chatzis, bassist George Ouellette, lead vocalist and keyboardist Sydney Sollazzo, and guitarist Graham Walker. They released their sophomore album Sweet Little Bitter this past July.
How did Bad Reed meet and form?
Bad Reed was born after we parted from math rock group Matter Of Taste in early 2012. And Graham Walker and Austin Sharpe wanted something different from their progressive metal group Bulwark. Producing the “Bad Reed EP” off the hop, and more recently the “Sweet Little Bitter” 6-track, we’re finally starting to build a catalog. Recently Austin parted with Bad Reed to pursue post-secondary education, but we have recruited another Matter Of Taste veteran, George Ouellette. Now begins a new chapter in the Bad Reed novel.
How did the members of Bad Reed discover their passion for music? Is there anyone important in your lives who sparked your passion for music?
Each member comes from a diverse musical background with varying musical tastes, so each song is bound to be its own can of worms. Our parents and family have been very supportive Fostering a strong music scene of cooperation and back-scratching has been our greatest strength wherever we’ve gone.
Who or what inspires you in your creation of your music? Do any specific artists, bands, or albums inspire Bad Reed?
Inspiration is a funny thing. It can be fleeting and elusive or hit you like a brick wall. I’ve learned that our most successful tracks are often the least tampered with. If the vision is clear, go with it! We listen to all different kinds of music, but right now I’m into Vulf, Sturgill Simpson, and Ontarian acts like Lost Cousins and Crown Lands.
What is Bad Reed’s creative process like?
Every song is conceived in a different manner but more recently the motto is laissez-faire. There will always be room for alteration, but we’re getting superb at blurting out what works.
What do you want to achieve with your music?
Bad Reed wants to rock and wants to turn heads—that’s what it does. Music is viral and wants to be heard, and I’m a musician, so I’m gonna keep pushing out music and content for our fans.
What is it like having a woman as one of your lead vocalists in a music scene where women are less prominent? Has Bad Reed faced any struggles having a woman as a lead vocalist in this music scene? If so, how did you overcome them?
We’re fortunate enough to have a lot of women musicians in our network and have never received any misogynist slander, but who knows? I suppose it’s possible we’ve been passed over because our lead is a woman, but what’s the difference? We wouldn’t want to affiliate ourselves with that bad mojo anyway.
What are your live shows like? Is there a specific night or performance that stands out in your mind as a great memory?
Our live shows are boisterous, gritty, and entertaining. When I see a rock band, I want to see passion, so that’s what we deliver. Come Together Music Festival stands out in my mind as the wildest spot we’ve ever played and if you’ve ever been, you know EXACTLY what I mean.
What advice do you have for aspiring bands who want to break into the music industry?
Grind. Then grind. And grind some more. And don’t expect a damn thing in return. I send 5-30 emails a day regarding press, booking, etc. and don’t expect one word back. But I am persistent, courteous, and well-worded (for the most part), so honing the ability to get an email opened is an art in itself.
What’s coming in the near future? What can we look forward to hearing from you next?
Bad Reed is about to go into full-fledged writing mode, but we’ve just launched a successful record mid-summer with $2K in Kickstarter preorders, three music videos amassing 35k and counting views on YouTube alone, and more big bookings to end out the summer. I also have three other projects looming from RnB/Soul to caveman rock to country blues, so there’s plenty coming down the pipe!