Fronted by Worcester-area singer, rock band Bad Marriage embarks on mini-tour with Tesla
Bad Marriage poses on March 30th on Mechanic St. in Worcester, Ma. From left, Bassist Todd Boisvert, Guitarist Mike "Fitzy" Fitz, Singer Jonny Paquin, and Guitarist Ian Haggarty. Standing in background, Drummer Michael Delaney. [T&G Staff. Christine Petersen]
By Craig S. Semon
Telegram & Gazette Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2019 at 3:01 AM
Aerosmith has Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
Guns N’ Roses has Axl Rose and Slash.
Bad Marriage has Jonny Paquin and Mike “Fitzy” Fitz.
Who’s Bad Marriage, you ask?
Well, they’re quite possibly the band that will bring rock ‘n’ roll back into the forefront. They’re that good. And these veteran rockers have their roots in the area.
A cross between classic Aerosmith and early Guns N’ Roses, Bad Marriage is the perfect marriage of hard rock and incessant hooks.
Fronted by flamboyant singer Paquin of Worcester (formerly of Uxbridge) and riff-heavy guitarist Fitz of Milford, Bad Marriage — which also features slinging axe-man Ian Haggerty of Attleboro, blistering bassist Todd Boisvert of Medway and powder-keg drummer Michael Delaney of Milford — keeps building a steady stable of loyal fans with their high-energy stage show and unbeatable arsenal of crowd-pleasing originals.
And this week might be the biggest one so far for Bad Marriage in terms of band exposure and achieving new converts.
As part of its “2019 Spring Nor’easter” tour, Bad Marriage is opening for ’80s rocker Tesla April 16 at the House of Blues in Boston, April 18 at the Aura in Portland, Maine, and April 19 at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in Hampton, New Hampshire.
Fitz and Paquin called the trio of gigs “super important.”
“We’ve been very fortunate over the past couple of years to be able to play one-offs with great national bands (including Airbourne, Buckcherry, Dokken, Extreme, L.A. Guns, Eddie Money, Steel Panther and Scott Weiland, nine days before he died) but we have yet to land something like these Tesla gigs, which is a mini-tour for us,” Fitz said. “It’s awesome for us because it puts us into tour land. It’s a notch in that belt that we have not had the opportunity or chance to do yet. So to be on multiple dates with such an iconic band is awesome and the venues are just top-notch.”
“We certainly hope to get more out of these shows than we have gotten out of other shows,” Paquin added. “But it’s simply part of the process. We’re getting where we need to be and it’s a gradual climb.”
A self-confessed “riff guy” in the school of Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Ritchie Blackmore and Malcolm Young, Fitz handpicked the seasoned musicians who make up Bad Marriage in one last attempt at hitting the big time.
When he was looking for a singer to share his vision, Fitz knew Paquin was the only choice to be Bad Marriage’s frontman.
Before Bad Marriage, Paquin — who cites Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers Freddie Mercury and most recently Ronnie James Dio as his musical influences — sang lead for After Fab, a tribute band that focuses exclusively on each of the Beatles’ solo material.
“This dude, Jonny, I’ve seen what he can do,” Fitz said of Paquin. “I’ve never had a chance to be in a band with him but he’s coming with me because I know he can pull off what I envisioned that goes along with my guitar playing.”
Fitz also came up with the name Bad Marriage.
“I’ve never been married so it has nothing to do with an actual bad marriage, even though everybody who hears the name seems like they can relate. It’s hilarious. Eddie Money kicked open our dressing room door and said, ‘Bad Marriage. That’s the best (expletive) name I’ve ever heard. I’m going through one right now,’ ” Fitz said. “The name is loosely based around being a musician throughout the years in different bands. Trying to keep it together as a band, it’s like having four relationships. Not only do you have your girlfriend, you also have four other members to deal with and their significant others. It’s not an easy thing.”
In 2017, Classic Rock magazine featured Bad Marriage twice in its pages — once for its “Rising Stars” issue and later for its “Best of the Year” issue. Not only that, Bad Marriage’s tune “Electric Emerald Eyes” was sandwiched in between tracks from Alice Cooper and Deep Purple on a companion disc that came with the year-end issue of the British music publication.
“We got a pretty big surge of UK rock ‘n’ roll rabid fans sending email after email to Bad Marriage saying, ‘Guys, when are you coming to the UK? You are the best song on the disk,’ ” Fitz said. “It was very, very awesome.”
Whether playing to a modest-size crowd in a little pub in Bellingham or a packed house at the House of Blues in Boston, Fitz and Paquin said they make it their job to give people absolutely no choice but to have an amazing time.
As for the creative process, Fitz comes up with riffs first and hands them off to Paquin, who writes the lyrics. From there, the rough composition is taken to the rest of the band where they are sonically fleshed out even further.
“The guys we have are irreplaceable because they get us and they let us do our work,” Fitz said. “They add the final touches on the song. Todd has come up with some crazy bass lines that have exceeded my expectations, and Delaney, I’ve been playing with him since ’97-’98.”
Bad Marriage expects to release its first full-length album later in the year. Already, the band has released three musical videos — for the retro-headbanging rocker “Old School Stereo,” the hard-rocking “Diablo” and the band’s solid cover of Tom Petty’s “Honey Bee.”
Bad Marriage has also been asked to record a killer cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver” from the publishing company that owns the Dio catalog.
“We have a good thing going with the way we have been able to pump out songs,” said Fitz, who does all the production, tracking and mixing for the band. “And Jonny and I, we’re picky bastards. When I say we pump them out, they’re not (expletive). These are the ones that we’re psyched about.”
While rocking out live is fun, Fitz and Paquin said the best part of Bad Marriage is its base of “awesome super fans” that continues to grow and even brings the band homemade goodies at gigs.
“We treat our fans like our friends. It’s not just a ‘Thanks for showing up.’ It’s a ‘Hey, how are you?’ ” Paquin said. “We take these people very, very seriously. Our fans are the reason that we are where we are right now.”