By Brooke Clayton
Kerry Alexander was majoring in creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul when she met Chris Hoge, and the poems that she’d been writing turned into song lyrics with a full sound.
They began thinking seriously about forming a band their senior year of college, and when they met Noah Boswell in 2012, the Bad Bad Hats was born.
“I started writing lyrics before I started playing guitar,” Alexander said. “I always thought of myself as more of a lyricist or a poet.”
She was in high school when she began to learn guitar and bring her words to life. Having a career as a musician is still a new feeling to her.
“Sometimes even now when I’m on stage, I can’t believe that I am, like, able to play guitar,” Alexander said. “I’m still amazed at what we can all do, how we can play together, and how we’ve achieved what we’ve achieved.”
The Bad Bad Hats was signed by Afternoon Records in 2012 and released its first album, Psychic Reader, in 2015. Its second full-length album is titled Lightning Round and will be released on Aug. 3.
The band has been on the road for two weeks straight, with shows just about every night, and Alexander said it feels sort of like friends at summer camp together, just with a little added pressure.
“I love getting better, I feel like I get better at guitar and at performing every show we play,” she said.
But the best part of touring, for her, is meeting the people who listen to her music.
“I love touring because I get to say hi to people and thank them for coming to the show,” she said. “I make the music for myself, but I make it for other people, too. I want people to listen, and enjoy, and engage with the music.”
The band has opened for performers such as Hippo Campus and Third Eye Blind, and so far, the band’s performances have earned exposure from sources such as The New Yorker andd NPR. Yet Alexander is humble about the quick success of the group, excited simply to see her fan base growing and to see some of the same faces at show after show.
“We’ve definitely been on bigger tours in terms of the venue sizes and audience sizes because we’ve been openers,” she said. “But this is a big tour for us in that it’s our second headlining tour. It’s exciting to be the main act in many of these cities for the first time.”
The tour has brought Alexander and the Bad Bad Hats to cities such as Chicago, Denver, and Seattle and has given them the opportunity to share their new music with fans before the new album is released.
The band will be at Gabe’s with Soulshake, Shortly, and Superior Siren on June 29 beginning at 8 p.m., and Alexander anticipates that the band will play about half of its unreleased album, Lighting Round.