1987-1988: Beginnings:

The Bad Examples were formed in March 1987 by Ralph Covert, Terry Wathen, and Greg Balk. They asked lead guitar player Tommy O'Brien to join as well, but O'Brien was playing in four or five other bands at the time. The band began gigging almost immediately, and made the recordings which became the MEAT album within the first two months of the band's life.

Ralph Covert recalls the band's first days:

"On March 15, 1987, Terry Wathen, Greg Balk, and I were in my parent's basement, wedged between the couch, the TV, and a six foot long wooden horse my Uncle Marv gave my family years ago. Greg and I had been auditioning drummers for months, trying to put a band together. Several musician friends had mentioned Terry to me, saying they thought his playing would be a natural fit for my music - they were right. We played one song, "Bad Girl," and we all knew we had a match.

We needed a tape to get gigs, so near the end of May we went into the studio to make a club demo. We blasted through six songs, using only thirteen hours of studio time for recording, overdubbing, and mixing. The addition of two songs I had recorded prior to putting the band together made just enough material to fill some odd length tape someone had given me, so we made some covers at Kinko's, duped the tapes on my dubbing deck, and Meat was born. Feeling the need for a gimmick to get the attention of the drunks in the dive bars we were playing, we taped a condom to every tape -- you can bet we considered ourselves quite brazen at the time. These were the days before safe sex and condom machines, and I've always suspected a couple of our early sales were to people buying a rubber with a tape attached.

There were no plans to make any more copies after the original 48 tapes were gone, but to our surprise we began getting requests from people who had heard it and wanted their own copy, so we happily made more. Several times after that we decided to just let Meat fade away, but fan interest always mounted until we finally realized the obvious -- whether or not we intended it to be an album, it was one."

By October 1987 Joe Campagna had joined the band on lead guitar. In early 1988 the band met with Michael Freeman to discuss plans for Freeman to work with the band on its next album. Freeman had heard MEAT, and had been impressed enough by what he'd heard that he was interested in taking a chance on the young band.

Click on any chapter heading below for a chronological history!

The early days & the MEAT album
The making of Bad Is Beautiful; AEMMP Records signs the band
Bad Is Beautiful released, Europe, West Coast touring
CNR ends, Eat At Godot's
Landmark falls, enter Steve Gerlach, the Kisses 50 Cents band, the origins of Birthday
The return of Tommy O'Brien, Ralph tours Europe with the Moondogs, 1996 European tour
Rob Newhouse, Ron Barnes join the band; Sawdust and Spangles, Birthday come to life
The 5000 Days Studio sessions, The Last Show
Stages, Kids, and a Smash Record!