Interview: Chuck Garric From Beasto Blanco

Although Beasto Blanco have only played a handful of live shows in the UK, I’ve been able to catch the band twice, and one of the first things that I picked up on was that Beasto Blanco are a ‘band’ in the truest sense of the word… “Yeah and that’s important. I’m really glad that you’re catching that message that’s been sent, as that’s what is crucial to us. We are a band, we are a family. Beasto Blanco is a lifestyle. Beasto Blanco is our inner beast, and our reason for being out there” If someone walked into a club and caught you guys for the first time, without knowing about you and Calico (Cooper, Alice’s daughter who also is a member of the band), then they would be none the wiser. “And that’s the idea. The concept, from day one, was we wanted to create a rock n’ roll band, create music that if you had no idea who we were and you walked into a club, we want you to get it right away, we are a band. We want you to sink your teeth into it and become part of it just like we are” Speaking of clubs, the first time that I saw you at Bannermans in Edinburgh, Chris Glen from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band made an appearance on stage! “(laughs) I’ve known Chris for a long time and I’m a huge fan of SAHB, I love that band and we heard that Chris was going to be there and we just thought that we had to get him up for a SAHB song” You picked the rather suggestive ‘Gangbang’. “Gangbang’, yeah! It’s such a fun number. It’s so rock n’ roll, and I thought that it would be perfect for that show, and he was so smitten that Calico sang with him the whole time! And I’ve just got to say that Bannermans is one of the best rock clubs out there, man. I love playing that place!” With you being so busy with Alice Cooper, how have you managed to keep the guys in Beasto Blanco onboard? “It’s a little bit of a juggling act at times. The thing is, we all love what we do, and when you love what you do, you make time for it. I’m very fortunate to have band members that are willing to change their schedules around and make shows happen at short notice. Any time we have spare, we take advantage of” Debut album, ‘Live Fast, Die Loud’ was a steamroller of an album, a real kick to the nuts, but the new self-titled album is more diverse. Was this conscious, or a natural evolution? “Well it’s a little of both to be honest with you. We looked at the first album, and as much as we loved it, when it came to putting the live set together, we felt that there were some things missing from the set. We felt that some different tempos, different grooves would add to it. We also wanted to show that we could grow as songwriters, and that we were finding our identity, and it was important for us to take some risks on the new album. I don’t know if you have the liner notes in front of you, but if so, then you’ll notice that there is a name next to every song written, and that person is my wife, who co-wrote on the record. She’s just a fantastic storyteller, and nobody knows the beast better than her!” Your wife, Lindsay, has a well respected online blog doesn’t she? “It’s not so much that, she’s a writer. She writes poetry, books, and she knows what we’re about, and her lyrics are so unique, so Beasto. She is able to tap into that element, and when I give her a riff or melody, she’s able to take it and run with it, she was a real special addition to this album” Lyrics are often open to different interpretations. The listener will maybe hear something different. ‘Dark Matter’, for instance, could be one of many meanings… is it dealing with loss? Is it a love story? “Yep. Sometimes we listened to the record as a whole, and we’d find that there is a few different ways to look at the story, and to me that shows a great song. You mentioned ‘Dark Matter’ and there is so many meanings that can come from that song, and so many ways to look at it. I,t tells such a lovely story but also a very dark one. It’s about love, it’s about loss, it’s about all of that. I’m glad that it worked!” It’s one of the songs that show a different side to Beasto Blanco. The song builds throughout, and when the band comes in at the end it’s Pink Floyd-like, and in particular ‘Comfortably Numb’. “There is definitely a Pink Floyd element to that song, and to be honest with you, that’s not a bad thing to be compared to” The song is the beginning of a mid-album trilogy that is crucial, I feel, to the album’s sound. It leads onto the spoken word from Billy Bob Thornton, ‘Sadhana’. Damn, I wasn’t expecting that, and man, it’s so eerie! Especially as I was listening to it on headphones! “(cackles) Well, that was the idea, man. You listen to it as a whole and it tells a story. When it gets to ‘Sadhana’, that poem he reads, everything he’s talking about is real, it becomes the ‘real’ side of the story. The start of the album, the darkness, it leads up to the poem then it leads into ‘Rise Up’ and when that kicks in then so begins the rock n’ roll part of the album but that wasn’t done intentionally. It just happened naturally” Is the poem an original? “Yes it is. My wife wrote it” It’s very dark! “Welcome to my world, man! That’s what it’s like living with my wife! (laughs). W,e originally wanted something for the top of the album but when we heard it, I said no, that’s going to take people by surprise and I wanted it to come out of nowhere. Like yourself, if you’re listening to it on headphones, then all of a sudden that comes up and you’re like, what’s happening!” When I heard the line “The Dark Is Good For Hunting” I was thinking that could mean so much. Is he getting up to go hunting in the morning, or is he a serial killer going on a hunt? “(laughs) Could be! Or is he hunting for his own reality? Is he hunting for his own identity? What is he doing, y’know?” In my head, he’s a serial killer! “(laughs) Fuck!….you sick bastard!” Haha! … On the new album there is way more of Calico. “Absolutely, that was intentional. That’s the one thing that was intentional. We wanted to bring Calico forward as a singer, she plays this amazing character on stage, and her theatrics are great, but she’s also a rock star, and we wanted to get her more involved, lyrically and musically. Her vocals on ‘Machine Girl’ and ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ are incredible. On ‘Frankenstein’, I wanted to give it a different twist, and I had the idea of Calico singing the verses. II wasn’t quite sure how it would sound, but her vocals really shine” Was it easy for yourself to make the transition from bass player to guitarist, vocalist, and frontman on stage? “I’d certainly not use the word ‘easy’. It still is something that I’m getting used to, and I’m working hard to be better at it, so it’s a new adventure for me, just like being in this band, creating albums, going on the road. It’s all an adventure, and about facing your fears, and coming out of your shell a little bit, and finding your spirit animal, and that’s what Beasto Blanco is all about. I’m loving being a frontman, but at the same time, I’m working hard to fine tune it as well” Beasto Blanco is quite an apt name for the band as you are a beast on stage… if you don’t mind me saying that? One time, I saw you with Alice Cooper and I scored front row seats. During the encores, when the massive balloons came out into the crowd, I misguided one directly at you, and it hit you square in the face! Man, the look you gave me! I actually pointed to the person next to me and mouthed “it was them”! “(laughs raucously) Well you’re not the first one to point out my on stage persona. I don’t know what it is, but on stage, I am able to summon the beast. I’m a humble guy. I’m a family man, and I can be your best friend, but provoke me, and I can be your worst enemy” I would not like to stage dive from your stage! “Ah don’t worry about that, man. I’d look after you!” You just mentioned that if you are provoked, then watch out. Alice tells a cracking tale about you being provoked by Kasabian, and the ensuing scuffle? “Yeah that was a long time ago, and it wasn’t so much of a scuffle. Those guys ran like little girls! They aren’t so tough, trust me” Thanks for your time Chuck, and good luck with the German tour. “Thanks, man. Look forward to getting over to Britain sometime soon” Interview: Dave Stott  

Read Dave’s review of ‘Beasto Blanco’.

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