Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters: inspirational, inimitable and unstoppable. With stunning new album ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ set for general sale on January 25 Devolution’s Jo Wright was lucky enough to put her questions to Beth ahead of release.
You have a killer voice! When did you realise you could really sing and what pulled you to focus on rock?
“Thank you! Honestly, I’ve always sang, as music has always been a big deal in my house. My mum and dad are into their rock music so I was brainwashed from day one. I used to make mix tapes for my Walkman, so whilst I was doing that I’d write down the lyrics to Heart, Kiss and Van Halen and sing along, so that’s really how I learned, and then my parents can both sing too. So it was just a natural progression for me growing up.”
Do you embrace the Lzzy Hale/Halestorm comparisons, or are they frustrating, because you are your own unique band – you sound like Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters?
“Honestly, I couldn’t be more flattered. Lzzy is a huge idol of mine in terms of her talent and as a human being. For me she’s easily the best living rock vocalist today. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and conversing with her a few times over the years. She’s always supported the band and given some awesome feedback. And when I saw Halestorm for the first time in 2010, it was the moment I realised that I wanted to make my dream a reality, and from that point on, that’s when I really went into the deep end with wanting music to be my career.
In terms of being compared, I can’t really grumble at that. I mean in terms of ability and style she is just flawless, so for me to even be mentioned in the same sentence as her is a major compliment. We do have our differences and I think she has more of a metal/grunge edge, and my roots are more glam rock and 70’s based stuff. But the chances are, when you get two women raised with the same kind of music, with the same influences, there will be a crossover in your style. But I think my band has its own unique style because we blend all our influences into this kind of musical soup, Halestorm included, so that whilst you can hear similarities it comes out sounding like us, and when people pick up on that I’m more than happy to go, ‘hey I love that band, that’s a huge compliment to be compared to them’.”
The awesome ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ is your second full-length album. How would you describe its progression from 2017’s ‘Bad Habit’?
“I think it’s a lot more mature in terms of production, songs and performance. On the last record I didn’t want to put the ballads on the album, because I didn’t think that people wanted to hear that side of me. As it turned out people loved them and seeing a different aspect to me. So with the record I didn’t hold anything back – it’s the most honest, open, deep musical work I’ve ever written, and I think that people will connect with it a lot more as it’s just genuinely and authentically us.”
With ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ you are working once more with Pledge Music and you’re well over your pledge target. We’re guessing it was a no-brainer, but could you explain why you feel Pledge Music is such a good thing?
“It allows us to go direct to fan. With labels and things like that there’s always a middle man and barriers placed between the creator and the consumer. With PledgeMusic we get to have our ‘fans’ or as I prefer to think of them, friends, involved. They can be a part of the process and feel like they are a part of the journey, which is so much less clinical than the way things used to be. We also retain complete creative control, which means we don’t have to answer to anyone about what we are doing, and we get our feedback directly from the people who matter.”
Who would you like to think will listen to ‘Show Me Your Teeth’?
“Hopefully anyone and everyone! I think there’s something on there for most demographics which makes it quite interesting in terms of how I’d define the album as a genre. It covers a lot of ground, so I hope anyone who might pick it up would find at least one song they’d enjoy.”
‘Give It All You’ve Got’ is a real life-affirming anthem. Did you write it as a message to others or more to yourself?
“I actually dreamt this song. I was asleep and in my dream I could hear this music in my head, lyrics for the chorus and all. And I woke up and had it down and done in ten minutes. I wanted it to be one of those songs that you just have fun to, and it’s an anthem about being who you are and taking the bull by the horns. Nobody can make you live your life, so go out there and do it. It’s never too late to make a change or go after something you want. It’s a reminder to me and to everybody else too.”
It’s our favourite song from ‘Show Me Your Teeth’! Do you have a favourite?
“I love them all. One of my favourite moments is the string section on ‘You and I’. It gives me chills every single time I hear it.
A fun story is that the day we were going into the studio we only had 11 songs, and I was like, ‘well I messed that up, what are we gonna do? Record an old song from our EP?’ So I’m in my underwear, trying to get ready, cause my drummer is picking me up in 20 minutes to go to the studio. But then I look at my guitar and a riff comes to my head, and I’m like, ‘I need to write this right now’. So I sit there, write the song, we get to the studio and I show the boys, and they are like, ‘Beth that is heavy! When did you do this?’ That song turned out the be ’Jack And Coke’ and it’s the boys’ favourite cut on the album. And I’m like, ‘really? I worked for a year on all these other songs and you guys like the one I wrote in my underwear two hours ago the best?’ You can’t make stuff like that up!”
The album’s title track is fairly open in its lyrics, and the aforementioned ‘Jack And Coke’ sounds like an amazing night out. What inspires your songs?
“Life! Honestly, either from personal experience, I do a lot of people watching, and sometimes films or albums. Everything I write comes from a place where something makes me feel. So whether that’s a real life rendezvous, a sex scene in a movie or another artist killing it with a song, when I’m moved that’s when songs happen.”
‘Show Me Your Teeth’ has a fierce front cover for a fierce album. It’s a strong visual representation of what to expect in the record. Was that your aim?
“Yes. We wanted to be really bold with this one. I wanted something almost classic, iconic and clean but still sexy. We almost called the album ‘Secrets’, but I had this great visual pop into my head and Don Jackson Wyatt who took the photographs really understood what I was after and just made it come to life.”
Do you have a big tour planned to unleash ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ live?
“We are planning to do as many shows as possible next year. We would really like to get over to Europe and we just can’t wait to play all these new songs for everyone.”
From a personal point of view I have a six-year-old daughter, and it is genuinely thanks to women like yourself, Lzzy, Lauren Tate and all the other strong women in rock right now, that she doesn’t see a gender imbalance. Do you relish being such a positive role model, or is it something you didn’t sign up for!?
“Well thank you so much for that. And for the record I love Lzzy, and Lauren is a truly inspiring young woman who I’m lucky to have as a peer. When I see her work and performance it pushes me to better myself. Being a role model is something I would never have bargained for, but I really don’t mind it. When I was younger all my role models in music were men, but you can see that this is changing and being considered one for young girls getting into music is wonderful. I’m not a perfect person and I have my own thoughts and ideas about the world, and I’m bound to make mistakes, but if I try and be the best human I can be, and continue making music that might just inspire a young woman to forge her own path and dare to be different, then I’m more than ok with that.”
Does it annoy you that interviewers (sorry in advance!) do ask your opinion of being a woman in what is a male-dominated industry? Would you rather just get on with being a rock icon and not have attention drawn to your gender?
“It doesn’t bother me at all. Because it is still an issue. When you look at festival line-ups and there’s only a few women on a bill made up of hundreds of men, you can still see that there’s an imbalance. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve only had some casual sexism in my time in this band, and the best part about that is it’s the boys in my band who are complete allies for me in those kinds of situations. We are still underrepresented in rock music, but there are more and more women coming through now. The best thing we can do is support each other. From my experience there is a lot of talk about supporting each other as women, but then an artist comes out and does something sexual or quite provocative, and we are judging them for it. The point of it should be that we are supporting each other in whatever we choose to do.
As women we should be able to do that and not have our artistry or talent questioned. Same goes for an artist whose work is completely devoid of any explicit content. We need to talk about these things in the industry with our peers and be open about them. Which is why when interviewers ask about it I’m always up for giving my opinion. It’s an important topic that needs to be discussed.
Hopefully there’ll come a day when it’s talked about in a ‘can you believe there used to be so few women in rock?’ kind of way.”
Would you tell us a bit about yourself and your life outside of music?
“Ha! Well I’m quite boring really. I love going to other bands’ concerts. I’m still a huge fan girl for all the music I love, and it takes up quite a lot of my life. But otherwise I love to read, draw, go to art galleries and museums, travel, and, of course, binge watch my favourite series.”
Finally, what was your highlight of 2018 … and do you have any New Year’s Resolutions for 2019?
“Playing the Kiss Kruise was the highlight of my life, and this year my resolution is to play as many shows as possible, get this album out there, and to be compassionate and empathetic to the lovely people I’m very lucky to have in my life, and anyone I meet on my travels along the way.”
Interview by Jo Wright