The turnover rate for bands in the reggae-rock scene is unfortunate. Over the past few decades since the genre got popularized, bands have risen to the tippy top (cough, Stoopid, Reb) as others dissipated faster than vape smoke, rendering themseles a minor blip on the reggae-rock radar. RIP to all those fallen soldiers. You did your best. What's worse is the fact that some bands have withstood the test of time, paid their dues and have yet to receive the attention and accreditation they deserve. Tomorrows Bad Seeds is one of these severely underrated bands. Back in the early 2010s, TBS was unavoidable — and justly so! They were one of the first bands to stake claim in the southern California scene, paving the way for so many to follow. Fast-forward another eight years and TBS remains on the 2019 ballot, shifting from headlining spots to opening to somewhere in the middle and back again. What's important isn't the stature; it's that with all the twists and turns, the band never threw in the towel. Goonies never say die (and, apparently, Bad Seeds never surrender).
BeachLife is proud to host Tomorrows Bad Seeds alongside the biggest SoCal music names!
Being born and raised in LA beach areas, TBS is a prime candidate for Redondo Beach's premiere BeachLife Festival going down May 3rd-5th right on the water. Celebrating California culture from the beginning of surf and acid rock to today's eclectic beach vibes, BeachLife is proud to host Tomorrows Bad Seeds alongside the biggest SoCal music names! Is this the big break TBS has waited so patiently for all these years? Perhaps. But, if it's not, the TBS boys aren't sweating it. They will always have more tricks up their sleeve. Lead singer Moi Juarez affirms this agenda in a recent chat with Top Shelf Music, commenting on what it means to be a Bad Seed and beyond.
You guys have been a band for almost two decades now. How did you guys originate and has their been a shift in the meaning of being a 'Bad Seed' since?
- Almost two decades, yeah! The idea of Tomorrows Bad Seeds though is as old as 1996. The initial start wasn't by me at all; it was by a couple graffiti artists from the neighborhood that Mets was involved with back in '96. I knew them, too. We all hung out, we all surfed together and had mutual friends. But, the idea of being a band started forming in 2001 and kind of solidified in 2003.
- Back then, and it's still kind of the same, the 'Bad Seed' is the statistic that you're not supposed to make it. Coming from broken homes or bad situations… A seed's got to grow and a seed will grow in concrete.
So, how have you grown?
- We've definitely matured. We definitely don't feel that we're Tomorrows Bad Seeds anymore; we're Today's Bad Seeds. Our songs will kind of say it, but we preach the deeper things in life.
TRUTH. Speaking of maturity, you guys have had a couple hiatuses over the years. How does it feel to be back together again, both touring and making music?
- We never really stopped. We've had little road blocks. Some may call it 'hiatuses', but we were still playing locally a lot… doing little underground shows, some backyard parties and playing acoustic — I know I was for sure the entire time! But, [TBS is] this ongoing thing that's never going to stop. We may not be at the forefront of the limelight all the time, but it's a way of life and something we just continue to do. Live off the magic of creation.
Absolutely, #BadSeedMomentum. Along these lines, you guys still partake in side projects, too! You had your Life band. Is that still going?
- Life will never be again. Life wasn't really my idea; it was Sean Chapman's idea. It was actually Mets' idea as far as the name, but the idea of switching things over and changing it up, that was someone else's idea. We didn't want to go against the grain type of shit back then. But, there are a couple cover bands I fuck with. And, I just like to jam with people! If you like to make music, we can make music one day together.
Is that why half your band right now makes up Bret Bollinger's Bad Habits?
- You mean Bret Bollinger and the Bad Seeds, right? [Laughs]
Right?!? I finally put that together. It took me almost a year to be like, “OH. I get it… It's the Bad Seeds. DUH.” But, you are also known to perform with a bunch of other players. Sometimes HIRIE's Conga Kurty joins you guys. Can you comment on your communal band vibe?
- I've always wanted it that way since the beginning. But, in the beginning, we had someone else running our shit and keeping it tight… not allowing that kind of stuff to happen. But, with me, I'm such a collaborative person and I like that. I vibe off of other people's energy. The well runs dry sometimes when you're trying to create and make things tangible in your music. I pull from anyone who's willing to open their energy. That's how I work when it comes to creating my part of the art.
- Conga Kurty is one of those people, too! We've been blessed these last couple years to share the stage with a lot of people playing our music and seeing what energy and vibe it brings to the stage at that point. Like, right now, we're a four-piece. And, we're going to remain a four-piece for a little while. Dre's not even in the band right now: it's just me, Matt (Mets), Pat and Shag our keyboard player. He's playing key-bass and got triple duty — you've got to see it! In my opinion, and in others' too, our band is the best it's ever been as far as musically.
You guys are scrappy how you can still tour together. And, you are on tour right now! Your Vibin' High Tour is curtailing, ending at Redondo Beach's BeachLife Festival on May 4th. How has this experience been?
- Life's good! You know, we've done these kind of tours plenty of times in our life and the main reason we do it is to get out there and show that we're still truckin'. Like you said, the momentum is still there and we're not going anywhere. We'd like to get on bigger tours, obviously, but that's not happening. So, we have to get out there on our own and showcase what we've got going on. This is the first time that we've really gotten a full ride at four people and it's a lot easier in the van, with camaraderie.
Ah, man. Poor Dre.
- No, I love Dre! I love Dre to death, but he made his choice, you know? One day, maybe we will play again together, but right now, we kind of like what we have going on.
Touching on growing and big shows — BeachLife. You guys have a sweet Saturday evening spot alongside Jason Mraz and The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Are you stoked??
- I am super stoked! We are really excited. I'm not going to lie, I wish we were playing the Steel Pulse and Slightly Stoopid stage… but, hey, it's all good! It's going to be awesome and right in our backyard. Those are the kind of things that are bucketlist for us.
And, it doesn't end there. You guys have yet another tour planned through June, right?
- Yeah. We have another local show that we can't talk about publicly until after BeachLife. It's a big show. And, then we have another one after that and we can't talk about that one until after the first one happens either. We have three pretty big local things — you know, community things — and we're trying to plan a fucking sick backyard boogie that's at a badass house somewhere down by the beach where we live. Do it old-school style. Get a couple kegs.
You're talking Hermosa Beach?
- Hermosa, LB, Redondo, Manhattan, Marina Del Rey, Venice… anywhere along the southern California beach. We'll do a couple [shows] at the beach, then we'll do a couple in the ghetto. Carson. San Pedro.
Then, after these three underground cannot-be-talked-about-yet epic shows happen, THEN you're going through June on tour.
- That will kind of be in between, but yeah. The same timeline with Long Beach Dubs — it's gonna be sick!
After the success of your Illuminate album last year, does your ongoing tour schedule indicate new music's coming out?
- We've got new music right now. I was hoping to have some stuff released… maybe a single will be released, for sure, but things are getting slowed down since we picked up more shows. That's what always happens, you know? You've got to pick and choose wisely. We want to play shows, too! We're going to take our time putting out this next record. So, yes, we are going to be putting out new music, to answer your question. It is a guaranteed. New music will always be coming out of us. And, I'm glad that you like the new record! We've spent some good time on that, too. I'm proud of it, but we've got to keep the ball rollin'.
Illuminate… that's such a great title. You're shining the light on your latest side, obviously, illuminating the path that you guys have taken. What does 'Illuminate' mean to you?
- I'll be real… when it comes to a lot of these things, Mets is the creator. 'Illuminate' — that was his idea. The band Life; when we did that, he came up with the name. All the albums that have been named, Mets comes up with that. All the artwork: it's all definitely approved by me too, but I am nothing to him when it comes to that. What I can tell you what it means to me, is, like what you said, it's a brand new beginning. We left the old world we were a part of and now we're embarking out on a journey to find new ground. Have a solid foundation to plant our roots and our seeds and watch them grow.
- Because we've given a lot to the scene. The scene doesn't even recognize it that way, but we definitely have. A lot of people have come up through us and we've all toured together and helped each other in lots of ways. But, that was the old team that was a part of Tomorrows Bad Seeds. That team is no longer and, now, we're more independent than ever. We want to be humble and be thankful for being able to do it for so long and I hope for another 20-30 years.
So, what seeds are you planting for the future now, metaphorically… or literally? Do you own a garden?
- I do! We mess around with that, too. Mets, especially, messes around with that stuff. But, we want to plant seeds of togetherness and acceptance of common interests. Love songs are great and all that stuff, but music's meant to have a message. Keep it real. Have some real shit about what's really going on with the world, too. Like Mets would say, it's a new saying we're coining. For a while, we were using 'all love, all ways' in every direction. But, now we're saying 'life is the mission, love is the message'. We're humbling ourselves. We're PunkRastas. We come from Los Angeles, the beach side of Los Angeles. We're just trying to show our side of it: how we cope with daily life and showing the real struggles of where we come from… mixed alongside the beauty of love and all that happy stuff. But, we can't forget, like I said, what music is meant for. It's meant to have a message.
Do you have anything else to add to fans reading this, both new and OG?
- Yes! Please visit our website at www.labadseeds.com although we're most active on our Instagram. We try to answer everything. We have new music coming and a merch store online. Thanks so much and see you at BeachLife!
Cover photo by Sydney Bartfield