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Bang Bang Romeo’s Anastasia Walker on supporting P!nk and flying the flag for LGBTQ artists

"Growing up as a queer artist in the mid-90s there wasn’t really anyone to look up to."

By Will Stroude

Words: Dan Finch

When P!nk’s manager calls with an invitation, you put down the Coco Pops and start packing! This summer, South Yorkshire three-piece powerhouse Bang Bang Romeo have been supporting the pop Goddess herself on her Beautiful Trauma tour. 

Amidst international stadium-hopping, lead singer Anastasia ‘Stars’ Walker took time to talk about seeing the music master and mother at work, tour bus life and the desired impact of BBR as a queer artist.

What was running through your head when you first got the invitation to support P!nk?

It’s one of those phone calls that you wait for and work so hard for, so I was in shock. We didn’t know that P!nk’s agent had seen us at a show or that P!nk had chosen us. The lads were obviously incredibly excited, and I’ve looked up to Pink as an artist for so long, so to actually get the opportunity to support her was incredible.

How does it feel to be seeing the artist at work behind-the-scenes?

We get to hear her soundcheck and see the manpower and the team that she has – it’s incredible. P!nk’s kids are on stage with her when she’s sound checking and it brings it all so much down to earth. Yes she’s P!nk, yes she’s the highest earning musician on the planet right now and, in my opinion putting on the best shows, but she’s still doing Mum stuff; juggling it all with total ease and class. She’s authentic, answers to no-one and isn’t tainted by the music world. I think she’s so inspiring, particularly for young women.

Have you had the chance to really interact with her?

It’s been so busy, so no time to hang out and have beers yet, but maybe after the tour. We’re just happy to be watching the lady work [laughs]. It’s almost like you’re taking mental notes and learning from the master.

What’s been your process in preparing for the tour?

For the run-up to the tour, we had to really discipline ourselves, like no going out three weeks prior. I have gone tee-total completely, because I just want to be professional and make it work – I can rock out with a cup of tea. In this day and age, there’s always another band waiting around the corner ready to take your spot, so it all just depends on how seriously you want to take it. Since day one, we’ve always rehearsed, probably more than any other band [laughs]. I think the rule of thumb is ‘Fucking, rehearse in your own time mate’ [laughs]. If your parts aren’t there, whose problem is that?’

Have you acquired any pre-show rituals?

Before every show, Richard goes for a nervous poo, Ross listens to Muse ‘Live at Wembley’ and I fall into madness. I proper go into myself and just zone out. I’m just in the corner, staring at the wall [laughs].

Were you mentally prepared for living on top of one another on the tour bus?

We’re on it for the full time, but we know each other so well. We know when to go ‘Right, leave him alone. He’s not in a good mood today. Just simply, don’t fuck him off, end of.’ We know when to give each other space and we know when to comfort one another. We speak to each other every single day. It’s not just preparing musically, but we’ve been on tour so many times and in the same room so many times recording, that’s all the preparation needed for tour bus living. We’re so happy to be doing what we’re doing – it’s a dream job.

Any funny stories so far?

We go on Instagram live to interact with the fans and one time, a girl hid in a cupboard whilst at work to chat and got rumbled by her boss, live on the video. It was quite bizarre, but hats off to her.

How does it feel to be performing these huge stadiums together?

It’s so weird, it’s been pure excitement and butterflies in your stomach that you turn into adrenaline. The biggest eye opener has been the new fans that we’re gaining. Women and young girls have messaged me about body positivity and asking how to come out to their families. Also, lots of girls saying ‘I’ve had depression over my size, but seeing you has made me want to put a middle finger up to the haters and enjoy being me.’ It’s just incredible to watch our followers grow and see people connect so strongly with our music. It’s so important to let your message be heard. We’re not just a band that sing a song and fuck off, we’re so much more than that. We have a lot to say and it’s amazing that people are reading that message loud and clear. Everyone is more than welcome to join the BBRMY because it is one big family.

As a queer band, what do you hope this platform will do for other LGBT youth or even other bands starting out?

I hope it inspires people to not give a shit about any bad vibes coming their way. Our message as a band is don’t stand by idly and allow bad things to happen. Growing up as a queer artist in the mid-90s, there wasn’t really anyone, especially where I’m from in Doncaster, to look up to in terms of a big, queer woman who was totally empowered and unapologetically herself. I hope that the next artists who are ready to do what P!nk and we are doing, can see that ‘I don’t need to hide.’ People like Elton John, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, they paved the way and I hope in some way we can continue their legacy and the empowerment that they showed to people. I just want to be a part of that crowd – helping people and in the process, sing my fucking heart out [laughs].

To catch Bang Bang Romeo’s headlining ‘STAR CROSSED SPECIES’ tour from October 3rd to October 26th, click here for more details.