FEBRUARY 24th 2013
Interview by Ruben Mosqueda
Seattle Photos by Peter Ruttan

Marilyn Manson’s ‘North American Winter’ tour rolled into Portland, Oregon ironically on ‘Ash Wednesday.’ It’s been a long hard road for the gothic rock icon and it’s come down to this. Manson has scaled down his production to accommodate his present club status. It’s incredible that he’s a decade removed from playing arenas seating 15,000 people; in 2013 he’s playing a club that holds 1,500 people. To his credit he managed to sell-out The Roseland Theater and syphon additional monies from the wallets and purses of fans (or their parents’) for a sold-out meet & greet. Paying to meet your favorite bands or artists just seems so ‘un-rock ‘n’ roll’ but if people are willing shell out that kind of coin—bands see the demand for this kind of ‘service’ and will continue to offer them. Welcome to the music business circa 2013 people.

Then there’s hungry new bands that are knocking on the door wanting into the party. Such is the case with The Butcher Babies who hail from Southern California---Compton California as stated on stage by vocalist Heidi Shepherd. I have been to Compton. I know people who live in Compton and none of them look as breath taking as singers Shepherd or Carla Harvey. Having said that Shepherd and Harvey have taken their show and expanded it outside of So Cal. The Butcher Babies have taken it cross country and abroad in recent months with Otep and last summer on the European festival circuit---now with Marilyn Manson. The band has been existence roughly three years; they’ve established a reputation of delivering a high energy show with some theatrics thrown in. Not news to you the reader but the pair’s gorgeous appearance also doesn’t hurt. However for a band to have staying power and credibility--- it’s more about ‘looks’ and The Butcher Babies have created quite a buzz for themselves.

The track “Mr. Slowdeath” has been all over Sirius XM radio over the past few months. Sirius XM DJ Jose Mangnin requested a copy of their EP when released and he immediately worked at getting “Mr. Slowdeath” on the air. “It’s more than simply having connections,” said Shepherd who goes on to add “Ultimately if it’s not good it’s not going anywhere.” Harvey interjects, “I think if you don’t make a connection with listeners it won’t mean anything. We obviously have created interest in this band---that has been through people hearing “Mr. Slowdeath” on the radio.” All this led to The Butcher Babies inking a deal with major independent label Century Media and work has already begun on a yet titled album that has a tentative release for early summer of 2013. “We’re always writing and the pre-production is almost done.

We’re always writing,” said Shepherd. “We’re on the road with Marilyn Manson and we’re headed to the studio right after this tour ends. We have enough material to cover the record, but if there’s something that’s written on the road that we like we’ll use it,” said guitarist Henry Flury. The band’s writing is a collaborative effort—musically however the lyrical content more often handled by Heidi and Carla. “You’d be surprised how involved we all are in the songwriting. If the boys have a song we’ll work together on the arrangement and move things around until it works. We all work together, “said Harvey. Shepherd quickly added, “We are all in the studio together when we’re working on songs. I think some people might be under the impression that we show up after the guys have completed recording and record vocals. It’s not like that at all.”

There’s a term ‘Slut Metal’ which has been used to describe The Butcher Babies. For obvious reasons such a term can be taken as an offensive, sexist and derogatory term.  The question asked to the band if the term originated from the band themselves or was it coined from someone on the outside. It was that point that you could hear a pin drop in the RV. After a brief period of silence Shepherd spoke, “When we first heard ‘Slut Metal’ we weren’t offended at all. We don’t take that seriously. In fact I often call Carla a ‘whore’ on stage—but it’s not serious. I’m not offended by it at all. Have we created the next subgenre of metal? I don’t know. We’re just us.” Harvey interjects, “I agree we’re just a metal band. I think people try to categorize everything these days as a way to market bands.” Guitarist Flury adds, “We have different influenced but we’re not scattered all over the place, we’re just a metal band.” As often happens in heavy music which is still at times considered a ‘man’s world’ The Butcher Babies have encountered their fair share of barriers. They have had their credibility questioned due to the Shepherd and Harvey’s looks. “People are afraid of what they don’t know. I’ll be honest-- I’m the same way. I don’t love everything right from the beginning. It doesn’t matter if it’s a TV show, a movie, music---anything. It doesn’t really matter. I’m the same way so I don’t blame anyone for thinking that. We have been pretty lucky that we have gone over very well on the tours that we’ve been on. We have people approach us at the merch booth and say stuff like “You rocked my face” and that’s really gratifying,” said Shepherd. Drummer Chrissy Warner chimes in,” I think people have been very surprised with our performance when they see us live. We have changed some people’s opinions of us and what we’re all about. There are some that you’ll never win over but it’s like that with any band.”

Shepherd and Harvey are no strangers to having to prove themselves in a world that predominantly run by men. The music business is no exception and they are willing, able and doing what they’ve always done—pressing forward with the vision. “I think we have a fire lit under our ass. I like pressure. I can’t wait to record the new album and have people hear the legitimacy of this band,” said Shepherd.  There’s material written for the debut album and work will begin on the recording of the album right after the Manson tour ends. The Butcher Babies couldn’t pass up the opportunity to di this tour. They were even more excited that the Manson camp solicited the band’s services for the tour. “That really blew our mind. How could you say no to Manson? We’re getting a lot of new fans on this tour,” said Shepherd. Harvey adds, “I’m biased but I think we’re an amazing fit for this tour.” The Butcher Babies were allotted 45 minutes on this tour and crammed as many songs as they could into their set. Truth be told the band went over brilliantly with the Mansonites and even if their brand of metal isn’t to your liking you must respect the fact that it’s not all about looks. They didn’t bring out the black tape over their bare breasts, they didn’t brandish their knife microphones it was more of a ‘G rated’ show and frankly that brought them more credibility. As stated by the time this is featured online Shepherd, Harvey & Co will be hard at work on their debut album and they’ve secured a ‘big’ name to produce the album and they will be taking part in a ‘huge’ tour that will keep them on the road all summer. So if you’re The Butcher Babies life does not suck.