Good times, bad times

The Big Bad

Morgan Hough, Spencer Kilpatrick and Clint Philbin make up The Big Bad.

Morgan Hough, Spencer Kilpatrick and Clint Philbin make up The Big Bad.

Photo By Brad Bynum

The Big Bad performs at the Knitting Factory, 211 N. Virginia St., on Dec. 28. For more information, visit

The Big Bad, which has undergone numerous style, lead singer and name changes, has been together for roughly a year and a half, but according to drummer Morgan Hough, the band almost didn’t happen.

Hough originally blew off bandmate Spencer Kilpatrick (guitar, tambourine and vocals), when Kilpatrick approached Hough about jamming together.

“At the time, I was in three bands, working two jobs and going to school full-time, so my response was something like, ‘Mmmm—nope,’” he says, via email.

However, after seeing Kilpatrick jamming at an open mic a few months later, Hough wanted in, and endured several months of cold shoulder treatment before they “began [their] courtship as heterosexual life-mates,” as Hough puts it.

Kilpatrick says the band started before Hough was even added, when he and Clint Philbin (keys and bass) met by chance in Missouri.

“I told [Clint] I was starting a band in Reno because I was starting a band in Reno,” says Kilpatrick. “Later on we found Morgan, he was cool, so we said, ‘Bro, you fittin’ to be a drummer?’ He was like ‘Yeah.’”

The evolution of their music, and constant revolving door of front men, has allowed the band to explore blues, soul, R&B, rock and even hip-hop, but Hough says his favorite description of their current sound is “drunken James Brown.”

“Our style of music since the beginning has been a turbulent mix of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, soul and hip hop, depending on our ever-changing front man,” Philbin says. “Today, we’re a three-piece rock band jamming the hardest tunes we can, and none of that will change even if we’re joined by another man [or] woman.”

“As of right now, our style of music is R&B,” adds Kilpatrick. “But it’s kind of like how the Stones would do R&B, like how they did ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.’”

It’s a good thing The Big Bad, previously known as both Boogie Monster and The Big Bad Boogie Monster, have been able to stick together through their ever-changing group, because without music, their futures look bleak.

According to the group, career options for the band members outside of music include experimental drug tester and/or being homeless.

“If I weren’t a musician I’d be sad … more so than I am being a musician,” says Philbin. “I’d have a valuable college degree, a savings account and more money.”

Kilpatrick and Philbin both agree that they want their listeners to dance when they hear their music, but Hough admits he makes music for more selfish reasons.

“I’m a needy bastard,” he says. “I don’t care what people get from my music. I just care about what I get from what people get from my music.”

The band’s resúmé includes playing at Se7en, BLCC, Strega, Shea’s, Street Vibrations, The Holland Project, Lincoln Lounge and The Alley, with upcoming shows at Knitting Factory and Ruben’s Cantina.

“My favorite gig I’ve played as a part of The Big Bad continues to be the most recent spot we’ve played,” Philbin says. “With each show, the band gets even tighter, and the crowd continues to get more and more excited with what we have to show.”

Kilpatrick says the band works well together, because they get along, collaborate as a cohesive unit, and have a really laidback vibe.

The band members all agree that a lot of musical talent exists in the biggest little city.

“Seriously … really, seriously, I love the Reno music scene,” Kilpatrick says. “Reno has too much talent for one city. It’s almost unfair. I can’t wait ’til all of the good bands in Reno break and tour the country so that we can just play all of the clubs by ourselves.”