Exclusive Interview: Carla, Heidi & Henry from The Butcher Babies
Faster than you can say heavy fucking metal, The Butcher Babies have clawed their way to the top of the Hollywood music scene to become the undisputed darlings of the Sunset Strip.
Fronted by Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd, (former Playboy TV and radio personalities that are rarely seen wearing more than strategically placed electrical tape and a gallon or so of blood), and backed by Henry Flury on lead guitar (Amen), Jason Klein on bass (Azdachao), and Chris Warner on drums (Scars of Tomorrow), the Butcher Babies dish out metal at its finest during shows that play out like a slaughter house carnival ride.
The perfect anti-heroes for a new generation of shock rockers, the Butcher Babies are quickly turning the music business on its ear and are poised to take on the world.
Let’s get a little background on the Butcher Babies to start things off.
CARLA: Heidi and I were in a punk cover band. We loved playing together but we wanted to play heavier music and start doing originals. We knew we wanted to start a new band together. We found three amazing guys who are the most fucking, badass, metal musicians we know here in LA. We’re lucky to have them. We’ve been playing together for about a year and a half.
Did you know you wanted a very image heavy band when you started putting the new project together?
CARLA: We love Wendy O. Williams. She’s a huge inspiration to us.
HEIDI: She’s the First Female of heavy metal. That’s huge for us.
CARLA: We wanted to shock people but also have great music to back it up. You can’t just go out there with your tits covered in nipple tape and have people take it seriously. That’s where the guys come in. Together we’ve been writing songs that hold up against any other great metal songs.
A lot of bands focus on the image and the music is total shit. You could sell your music on the tunes alone, but throw in some blood and nipple tape and the total package is even better!
HEIDI: I think a lot of bands can’t find a happy medium between the two. Some are all image and some have great songs but their image is shitty. It’s cool that we’ve been able to find a happy medium between the two.
CARLA: Obviously, both are important in today’s world. Everything is just so out there. You have to have some kind of look to grab people’s attention because there is so much stuff out there. How are you going to differentiate yourself?
HENRY: Absolutely. It works for us and it also works against us. People are quick to dismiss us because they look at the girls and think that’s the only reason the guys are here. Don’t get me wrong – they’re amazing! But we have to work just a little bit harder to impress everyone.
CARLA: Yeah, it’s definitely not easy having these tits! Trust me. We have been cursed!
HENRY: It’s not easy looking at them every day in practice.
Henry, maybe you need to go on stage with your own nipple tape.
You know, I’ve thought about it. I’ve actually been thinking about getting implants because I hate them getting the attention all the time!
CARLA: Our drummer Chrissy wears nipple tape a lot when he’s behind the drumset. He loves doing that.
I know you mentioned Wendy O. Williams earlier. Who are some of the bands that you guys are into?
HEIDI: Everybody in this band grew up listening to something different. That’s what is so great. Everybody brings something different to the table. I’m more of the nu-metal kid who also grew up listening to pop. I have a lot of pop influences. Growing up I listened to everything from Garth Brooks to Backstreet Boys to Marilyn Manson to Korn.
HENRY: Backstreet Boys?
CARLA: Her favorite was definitely the Backstreet Boys.
HEIDI: That was my first concert you assholes!
CARLA: I grew up listening to Morphine, X, Sonic Youth and Guns N Roses. Of course I also love stuff like Slayer and Iron Maiden and Korn. I think we’re all pretty well-rounded people. The dynamics of all the crazy stuff we like comes together and really makes our sound unique.
HENRY: I grew up listening to Van Halen and got into the shred area. Then I got into Fugazi to Pantera to Meshuggah to anything heavy. That’s what we all have in common. We love heavy music.
What’s the songwriting process like for the Butcher Babies?
CARLA: It varies. Sometimes Heidi and I bring in lyrics that we’ve already written and sometimes we get inspired by the music. Some guy was raggin’ on us on the internet the other day and suggested that Heidi and I don’t write anything at all…
HENRY: That’s totally true. I write everything!
CARLA: This guy said the band hired us so they could get famous because they couldn’t get famous on their own. That’s completely not true. We all have a hand in writing our own songs. We wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s definitely a creative process we get into together. We take pride in that. We’re all in it for the benefit of the song.
HENRY: We definitely help each other out. We all have the same musical vision, which is really important. Nothing comes out of left-field. We all know where the music is going.
HEIDI: That is the ideal situation. The way we write together as a group is a big deal for me. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Even if Carla and I come in with some lyrics, Chris – our drummer, is really good at fixing what we can’t grasp. Lyrically or musically he’s really great at that.
HENRY: We have the Slipknot approach to songwriting where we all need to be there to come up with material. It’s very important we’re all there.
There are so many points of view you can come from with the Butcher Babies – beautiful, disgusting, and the always important sense of humor. How do you approach your role in the band before a live show?
CARLA: We all get in a little circle before we get on stage. Our makeup also helps us get into our characters. I wear the “crying eyes” makeup and as soon as that makeup goes on I feel like a different person. As soon as my costume and the blood is on, I am my character.
HEIDI: As soon as my “eyebar makeup” touches my face I’m like, AAARGH! I’M HEIDI FROM THE BUTCHER BABIES! We all have our inner demons and when we’re on stage our demons are coming out! All the fucking hurt and anger that we’ve had in our lives becomes a part of our show. We really love to throw it out there for our audience. We know other people feel like we have and we want those feelings to come out of them as well.
HENRY: Just hand me a guitar and it’s go time.
What kind of gear do you use?
Schecter has been hooking us up so we really appreciate them. We introduced an 8-string at our last show and we’re very excited about that. It’s getting a little bit on the low side. As far as amps I was using Line 6 but I’ve been sticking to the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier recently. I’m thinking about branching out and seeing what’s out there.
I’ve gotta ask about a full-length record. Will we finally see one this year?
CARLA: It’s coming.
HEIDI: We’re looking at spring or early summer and of course touring all summer.
CARLA: We want to hit as many places as possible if not this summer then in the fall. We want to have the album finished so we’ll have something to give to people when we tour besides herpes. (laughs)
Henry, man – I feel so sorry for you. You work with two of the Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock, according to Revolver magazine. How do you stand behind them and concentrate on playing guitar?
I know, man. It sucks!
CARLA: It’s not all roses all the time. You’ve gotta understand. They get to deal with two periods, synced up. There is one entire week out of each month that you don’t want to fucking practice with us at all.
HEIDI: Regardless of that, Carla and I have quite the bond. It’s not the typical girls in a band attitude who are catty and hate each other. Carla and I are “more dude” than some of the dudes in the band! (laughs)
CARLA: The basis of it is that we respect each other. We know what we’re good at and the other person makes up for what the other is not as good at. We play off of each other really well and I don’t think I could have found anyone else that I’m so compatible with.
HENRY: This group really clicks. I’ve been in bands before but we all really get along. You’d think when the going gets tough that people would jump ship or fight and we don’t have that. It’s really refreshing.
CARLA: If we jump ship it’s just to run around naked and jump back on!
I appreciate you all for taking time out for this. What would you like to say to your fans to wrap things up?
CARLA: I would just like to say thanks for the support. People all across America and the world have been amazing in showing us support, getting online and helping us promote. They’re so fucking awesome. We love that.
HENRY: We can’t wait to meet each and every one of you.
HEIDI: This is going to be a great year for us and we want to thank everybody for being there from the beginning!