No Pain, No Gain at The Bad Manners' Single Release Party

No Pain, No Gain at The Bad Manners' Single Release Party

Story by Sam Falb / Photography by Yulissa Benitez Amaro
May 21, 2024

Seated in the makeup chair before the launch of their band’s debut song and music video for “NO PAIN,” Jazzelle Zanaughtti, AKA “uglyworldwide” to screenagers everywhere, shared their outlook on the impending release: “This process was amazing and so filled with love, a true passion project to put together.”

Weaving between rooms in the glass-walled set of studios hosting the night’s fête, PAPER ran into an assorted cadre of creatives in The Bad Manners universe: stylist Via Vitale pulled together vintage looks and high-glam accoutrements for the band, while drag kings and queens Lolita Starr, Lieluh and Corsette set up the bar area, cut bracelets for the door and added a general electricity to the set-up under miles of thick lashes.

It’s been a long road for the band — marooned in Falmouth, Massachusetts during the pandemic, Zanaughtti laid the groundwork for the group’s identity.

“I just started making track names and concepts for this imaginary music career, but I didn’t even make music then,” they said. Connecting with collaborators Robot Moonjuice and John “Stonegroov” was integral to actualizing the concept. Moonjuice and Zanaughtti strategize on lyrics and creative direction, while Stonegroov produces the band’s moody, eclectic sound at Flux Studios, a powerhouse, Lower East Side indie operation representing buzzy artists.

As for the name? “If you work with us, you know it makes sense!” Moonjuice said with a laugh. PAPER bore witness to the bubbly commotion of the night, which testified to the charisma and exacting creative ethos the three Bad Manner-ites bring to the table.

For the festivities, custom cocktails (the Knockout, Shiner, Pucker Up and Drag Mule) were concocted featuring Rosaluna Mezcal, courtesy of Maddy Crawford. Lollipops by local designer Belle Beauchamp imposed with each band member’s likeness were passed around the dance floor. Music video producer Alyson Cox crossed over to tightly manage the launch party — in a body-con, bright pink Anna Bolina dress, no less.

As the band entered the performance space to rousing cheers, industry friends and longtime supporters spilled out onto strewn carpets and pillows in front of an oversized projector screen. Such was the sumptuous setting for the first screening of the “NO PAIN” music video.

Being embedded on the video’s set during filming, PAPER can attest to the lengths that the members and their team went to in order to capture the perfect shot. Highlights included Zanaughtti flinging themself onto the back of a motorcycle, wrapped in bandages on a cold Sunday morning, as well as Lebanese drag queen Sultana puckering up for the camera with an icy stare and silver gown.

“Our co-producer’s grandmother was making lasagna for us... it was a real family event,” Zanaughtti shared. That vibrant, communal energy transferred to the launch party as the band and team watched their work play out on screen.

Telling an intentionally chaotic story that combines trickery, glamazon drag get-ups, flashing sirens, hot pursuit and a thrilling series of clips involving a subverted version of a food fight (watch for more context), the video provides an imaginative storytelling component to the zeitgeisty rhythms of the song itself.

After the viewing and a series of remarks by the band, the group danced the night away to a combination of unreleased tracks and DJ sets. Guests flitted back and forth onto the balcony to catch a cheeky cigarette, the night sky and bright Chinatown lights illuminating the birth of The Bad Manners, a story soon to unfold.