“But what do they sound like???” is often the first thing asked about one of L.A.’s hottest new acts Butcher Babies. The answer? They sound like they look; amazing, chaotic, violent, sexy and pissed off. Hear them for yourself via their social media pages, you tube and the usual suspects but by all means see if you can check out the live show everyone is talking about. Voted as one of the hottest bands by Revolver magazine they have a live set that is part KISS, part Stooges, part Zombie and rounded out by a more than healthy dose of the Plasmatics. Butcher babies are gonna get your attention whether you like it or not. We talked to the deceptively nice Carla Harvey about her life, her attitude and her sick little rock band. Read on…
Q: What was your growing up like? What are some of your earliest memories?
A: I grew up a in a working class neighborhood in Detroit…my dad worked at the Rouge Steel Plant for Ford. I was lucky because my parents always supported my love of the arts. I played the violin and drew comics all day. There were two defining moments when I was a kid that made me want to be an entertainer: the first happened when my
grandmother took me to see the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Fisher Theatre. The second happened when I heard the first notes of Guns n Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle.
Q: You’re from our midwest area, Detroit specifically. Do you think some of that gritty, hard working, fuck you attitude influenced you and what made you decide to head out west to LaLaland?
A: Detroit has a very distinctive attitude to it that you hit right on the head…gritty, hard working with a healthy dose of fuck you. It is like nowhere else you’ve ever been, and being from there definitely shaped who I am. I have all of those qualities. Sometimes people think I’m a bitch when they meet me; I’m actually incredibly easy to get along with, I’m just a little guarded and refuse to be taken advantage of.
Q: A lot of people that have heard of Butcher Babies have maybe not heard about your background. You have a much more sophisticated resume than some might suspect and are a smart cookie. Do you think your educational background or history in entertainment allows you to look at your band or career in a much larger scope?
A: If you don’t look at yourself or your band in a larger scope no one else will! As fun as it is to be in a band, you still have to treat it as a business to keep it going. I went to Mortuary Science College and in addition to anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and embalming classes we also had intense business classes. As an actress for the last decade, (I’ve hosted two series for the Playboy channel and done a ton of commercials and network shows), I’ve had to go over a lot of contracts. Both of those things have helped me to be smarter about the music aspect of my career as well.
Q: Did you have a good idea of the direction you wanted the band to go in when you first started playing or did it all kind of fall together?
A: Heidi Shepherd (my fantabulous co-lead singer) and I had knew that we wanted to have a metal band with a dynamic stage show…it was very clear in our minds but it took us awhile to find musicians to work with that shared the same vision as us. Once we found Jason Klein (our bassist with his blood squirting Schecter), Henry Flury (lead guitar), and Chris Warner (drums) it fell together very quickly.
Q: Butcher Babies is an amazing name and you guys obviously are big fans of the late Wendy O. Williams. What are some of your favorite moments of her career and what she represented and what other artists were integral to you guys as influences?
A: We of course got our name from The W.O.W. song Butcher Baby. Wendy was such a bad ass…and her shows were SHOWS. They were fucking works of art that surrounded your senses. We try to bring that “show” element to our performances as well. Everyone in our band has very different influences from punk to thrash to experimental to death metal, and our songs and stage show really represent that. My personal influences are Axl Rose and Mike Patton, Hendrix…People that have an obvious stage presence that makes you not want to take your eyes off of them.
Q: We’re comin up on Halloween, our favorite holiday? Do you have any personal attachment to the holiday, memories of what you liked dressing up as when you were little?
A: Halloween remains my favorite day of the entire year; I have always loved it. I still dress up every year. Last year I was Carrie, and the year before I painted myself completely red to go as one of the artist Coop’s devil girls. This year is going to be amazing; I’ll be celebrating Halloween in New Orleans! When I was a kid I loved being a vampire…that was back when vampires were cool. Twilight ruined them!
Q: You have a background in acting…..do you think horror movies, classic or current have influenced what you guys do? What are some of your favorites and why?
A: I’m influenced by slasher flicks like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses, and The Devils Rejects…movies about real life social rejects on the fringes of society. Movies about the underdogs getting the upperhand. All of us in the band have been social rejects in one way or another, and we explore our feelings about that with our music and stage show .
Q: We have three daughters and I would be proud if any of them turned out to be like you. What does your family think of any of your scantily clad work and have they been out to check out a Butcher Babies gig?
A: Thank you for saying that! My parents are very proud of me, no matter what I do. I started off my acting career as a nude entertainment anchorwoman on the Playboy channel so they are used to me being naked. My Mom and Stepdad recently had the chance to see the Butcher Babies live in Las Vegas, and my mom was right there in the front row with the blood, spit, and moshers with a huge smile on her face, snapping a ton of pics.
Q: You’re a very nice, pretty girl not some scumbag creepo but some people might get a bizarre impression of you based on seeing the Butcher Babies live show or hearing that you’re a licensed Mortician. Do you have a bit of a split personality that allows you to be a nice, friendly girl that volunteers at Nursing Homes and helps people one moment and a raving lunatic, half naked covered in buckets of blood screaming like an angry mother eagle who’s had her babies stolen at another moment?
A: Are you asking if I’m bipolar?? Haha. I wouldn’t call it a split personality, I’d call it having a multi faceted personality!! Life is too short not to explore all sides of yourself, and all of your interests.
Q: Not to pry too much into your personal life or reveal too much but do you have any personal aspirations for settling down, raising a family or getting into a more normal business as a successful Funeral Home operator or anything down the road? Is it more comfortable not looking that far into the future?
A: I’m very ambitious so I’ve always focused mainly on my career. I’m just now starting to think about having a family, mainly because I’ve finally found someone that supports my dreams instead of holding me back. My boyfriend Greg (his band Dumb Love is phenomenal) is in the music biz as well so he understands what I do and therefore understands me better than anyone else I’ve ever been with. I never want to stop being an entertainer, it’s who I am. However I would still like to own a boutique funeral home one day, and I will continue to write. It’s hard to tell what the future will bring…I’ve kind of learned to never say never. I will say, I truly believe you can accomplish ten times as much when you have a strong, healthy relationship behind you. This last year has been proof of that for me.
Q: You guys are in an era where it’s hard for bands. Major labels are going bankrupt, people are just stealing music rather than paying for it. It’s not always that easy for a band to break or stand out in the sea of acts out there vying for attention. Yet, Butcher Babies have generated a considerable buzz, lots of press and even done their own comic book. How much fun is it workin on the business end of things and work on things like T-shirts and other merchandise? I’m a KISS fan, these things are important to me.
A: So true…to be quite honest with you I’m petrified of going broke on the road, and not being able to my bills. It’s a weird thing to be in the public eye so much and to not be making money. People don’t understand that aspect of the business, they assume that the bands they see live are raking it in, and sometimes its quite the contrary. We know that Merchandising will be a huge part of how we will make money, so we are always brainstorming new ideas. The possibilities are endless for us, especially now that we have our comic book (written by me, illustrated by Anthony Winn) adding to our mythology.
Q: What does the band have on the horizon as far as future recordings or touring? As well as you’re going over in L.A. you of all people know how starved us folks in the cornfields are for real entertainment.
A: We are finishing up our EP, and our first single just premiered on September 19 on Revolvermag.com. Go get yourself a free download of it there! We are really excited to be playing the big pre-party at the House of Blues for The upcoming 48 hours Festival (Korn, Godsmack, Avenge Sevenfold) in Vegas, and we will definitely be on the road next year. I can’t wait to hit the Midwest! I remember how big of a deal it was for me to go see live shows when I was growing up in Michigan, and I want to give that feeling back.
Q: Last question Carla…..How much fun is it to bludgeon the skulls of the guys and girls who come out to see you guys initially for the skin and visuals and turn them out into the streets as devoted fans of the music and the band?….and can you relate to the challenges other bands with similar shows have faced like KISS, GWAR or the Plasmatics?
A: We can definitely relate. Every band that goes outside the box has the potential to be shrugged off as a gimmick band and we of course are no exception to that rule. The thing is, you have to be able to back up the visual aspect of your band. We knew that we wanted to involve gore and wear nipple tape, but we also knew that if we were going to do that, we needed to write great metal songs that would make people forget that we go on stage practically topless. We think we have succeeded in that, and our fans have been die hard and so supportive of us! Butcher Babies was a dream Heidi and I shared, and to see it coming in to such a strong fruition is overwhelming! So a big thank you to all of you. We’re not taking a second of this exciting time in our life for granted. Make sure to check out our pages for updates ☺ http://twitter.com/#!/butcherbabies http://www.facebook.com/ButcherBabiesMusic http://www.myspace.com/butcherbabiesmusic https://www.facebook.com/carlaharveymusic