*Butcher Babies – Heavy Metal Conquest was originally published on Rockstardreams.com on December 12th, 2012.
On a September night in Hollywood, the red velvet curtains of the infamous Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip ripple in anticipation. Excitement pulsates through the crowd who await the arrival of Butcher Babies and their stunning lead sirens, Carla Harvey and Heidi Sheperd.
The Roxy is an intimate and nostalgic venue that helped launch the careers of rock gods like Guns N’ Roses in the 1980’s and is the perfect forum for the L.A. based band to ignite their home crowd.
The curtain slowly rises at the sound of the first guitar riff; the crowd erupts as the red velvet slowly inches up and caresses the kettle black stillettos and tight body suits of Harvey and Sheperd. The bottom of the curtain reaches the menacing eyes of Harvey who peruses the audience with a devilish grin behind obscure eye shadow. Shepard’s back is turned with a fist rising in the air above her flowing blonde locks and toned body as if awaiting the right time to start a war. Behind her, the empty eyes and jagged painted teeth on the faces of minions Henry Flury – lead guitar, Jason Klein – bass and Chris Warner – battle drums, stare forward possessed by the instruments beneath their fingers.
Their stage presence is gripping and their sound is infectious. You are instantly mesmerized by the raw sexuality and charisma of Sheperd and Harvey in the foreground of this sinister empire. You feel they could take your life at any moment…then they do. The harsh vocals of the two sirens rip through your soul with ferocity as the heavy guitars lift your flesh. Adrenaline rushes through your veins and you can hardly catch your breath as the mix of heavy metal, thrash, punk and chaotic beauty dominates your senses. Make no mistake about them – behind the music, theatrics, eye shadow and sexuality of Butcher Babies you will find two very articulate, passionate and driven women.
I caught up with Harvey and Shepard a few weeks later on the eve of their first headlining tour and greater things to come.
RSD: How stoked are you to headline your first tour on the west coast?
Harvey: We had a great run with Otep for 3 months for our first national tour. We were in Europe for a couple of weeks which was amazing too and now we get to go out and headline (Hush Little Baby Tour –November 2012) and obviously it’s a pretty cool thing and very flattering.
RSD: Do you feel like Otep were your metal mentors of touring?
Sheperd: It was definitely a huge eye opener as to how things can go and how you might want them to go and how people should be treated on the road. I think for us it was definitely a mentoring experience from (Otep Shamaya) and her entire band. They are incredible people and taught us a lot about respect and showmanship on the road.
Harvey: We learned how to get along as a band on the road. It was quite an experience learning how to take truck stop showers on the road and learning to live like that. One of the funniest things to happen to us on tour, Heidi and I were taking truck stop showers and there was this huge uproar downstairs. All the truckers thought we were two strippers getting in the shower together (she laughs). They kept walking by to see what was going on. We were like what would make you think we were two strippers on the road (she laughs)? We were the talk of the truck stop.
Sheperd: It was really funny because we were in our comfy PJ’s and these guys are saying these things, we just had to laugh and looked at it later and thought it was hilarious.
RSD: I’m sure the adventures and stories on tour are just getting started. You played the Download Festival in the U.K. recently. How cool was it to be on the bill with some of the most legendary bands in metal?
Sheperd: Every wildest dream that anyone’s ever had as a kid wanting to be a rock star that was the epitome of it. Playing with legends like Metallica, Black Sabbath was playing. There were all sorts of legends playing that festival and to be on the same bill as them was flat out a dream come true. We just hope to be invited back to play every year.
RSD: You have this great image. It’s highly sexualized, it’s aggressive, it’s powerful but let’s gets down to the music. You released a self-titled 4 track EP. You worked with renowned producer Andrew Murdock who also produced Avenged Sevenfold and worked with Godsmack. How was your experience collaborating with Andrew on this EP?
Sheperd: We felt immediately comfortable when we first walked into the studio. It was a fit from the beginning. He worked with all of our personalities. He definitely grasped exactly what we were looking for and I feel like it was a 100% success. It was cool knowing the people he worked with but he makes you feel comfortable, he doesn’t have any sort of ego about him. You don’t feel like you’re working with this rock god. You feel like you’re working with your best friend which is really cool.
RSD: When it comes to writing the lyrics, do you collaborate as a band or does one of you take the lead?
Harvey: We always collaborate on everything. The guys will come up with riffs and we will give suggestions as well about moving parts around. Heidi and I, we sit in a room together and we come up with the lyrics, vocal melodies and play off each other’s ideas. It’s a very organic experience and I don’t think our music would sound the same if we weren’t all providing input.
RSD: You independently produced your first music video for Mr. Slowdeath, there is some darker imagery and overcoming struggle, can you tell me more about the messaging and story behind that song?
Harvey: That story is about making a change in your life. You’re going to make mistakes but it’s never too late to go back and change the person you want to be or know that you can be. No matter what, there’s always room for change in your life for the better no matter what you’re going through.
On November 19th, 2012 Century Media Records announced on their website the signing of Butcher Babies to their label. Like other female fronted bands and label mates, In This Moment and Arch Enemy, Butcher Babies are committed to carving out their own identity and breaking down the sound barriers for women in a predominantly male genre. Within a few months of each other, they signed a record deal and are now on tour with Marilyn Manson. They are a talented band that continues to grow its fan base and define its own destiny. They are being forged in the fires of the music industry and hope to come out unscathed. Prepare to have your faces melted…..Butcher Babies are on a heavy metal conquest.