Rocking out like a Bad Parent

By Bradley Turcotte –

After “coming out of the basement” for last year’s edition of Porchfest, cover band Bad Parent, which includes four Kitchissippi residents, is set to take the stage at the fifteenth anniversary of Westfest this summer.

Bad Parent traces its birth to a catastrophe. When Spadina Avenue resident and Bad Parent guitarist and vocalist Rusty Martin’s basement flooded, he asked his accommodating neighbours Chris and Andrea Morrissy to store his instruments.

Proud Bad Parent(s) Chris Morrissy, Lisa Georges, Andrea Morrissy, Rusty Martin and Neal Phandis will make their Westfest debut this summer. Photo by Bradley Turcotte
Proud Bad Parent(s) Chris Morrissy, Lisa Georges, Andrea Morrissy, Rusty Martin and Neal Phandis will make their Westfest debut this summer. Photo by Bradley Turcotte

When Rusty began to hear thunderous pulsations coming from next door, he investigated and learned his drum set inspired Andrea to pick up the sticks. Andrea started lessons and eventually Chris was recruited as keyboardist.

Singing since childhood in the same Hudson, Ontario choir as Polaris Prize winner Patrick Watson, mutual friend, Lisa Georges, offered her services as lead vocalist.

“We all hang out often and go camping. I don’t want to be left out. I can sing,“ Lisa says with a laugh. “Initially, I just came in and sang along with whatever was going on.”

Rusty’s cache of instruments didn’t travel far when Bad Parent made their live performance debut at Porchfest 2017, as the Morrissy’s veranda became their stage. “What’s nice about Porchfest is the vibe of the whole neighbourhood when it is on,” Lisa says. “You can hear music coming from everywhere. Everybody’s walking about and it feels inclusive. It was fun to be a part of it.”

Neal Phadnis, a Gloucester resident and formerly of the Ottawa thrash band, Eight Minute Veil, caught Bad Parent’s Porchfest set and was recruited as the band’s bassist.

Bad Parent members haven’t ruled out composing their own music in the future but for now they prefer to cover indie rock artists like Detroit Cobras, The Babies and Lord Huron in addition to more mainstream songs by The Rolling Stones, Wilco, and Sheryl Crow.

Rusty describes their sound as ‘alternative-folk-country-rock.’ Their unique, if not tongue-in-cheek moniker, came to them while camping as a group in Tremblant, Quebec after many other band names were suggested and shot down.

“Everybody is a bad parent sometime in their lives,” Andrea says. “Every time we would do something over that weekend, the kids would complain about something or we would be like ‘Where did the kids go? Are they coming back soon for lunch? Bad parent.'”

Initially The Bad Parents, the band took the suggestion of their kids that a singular band name was “cooler.”

Her role in the band may make her kids cringe, Lisa admits, but the band’s offspring will nonetheless act as roadies for their Westfest performance. You might even catch the Morrissy kids singing along.

Lisa has attended nearly every edition of Westfest and acknowledges she, like many fans of the festival, was apprehensive about the new location at the Tom Brown Arena.

“It is so close to the main strip and transit. Laroche Park is a gorgeous park and I love it. It is an underused park but it is also a little more off the beaten path,” Lisa explains “[Westfest’s new location] will bring the whole street alive. You’ll feel it all through the neighbourhood as opposed to when it was down there. We are looking forward to playing Westfest with our entire neighbourhood and appreciate the opportunity from Elaina [Martin, Westfest founder and producer].”

Bad Parent
Sunday, June 10 at 3:30 p.m.

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