I caught up with Beth Blade McDonald (guitar/lead vocals), Dan Rowe (bass) and Sam Brain (drums) from Beth Blade and The Beautiful Disasters after their storming performance as weekend openers an the Station 18 Festival held at Hangar 18 Music Venue.
PD: How would you describe yourselves as a band?
BB: We are a straight up, Hard Rock band, but we don’t define ourselves by any genre. So, if we wanna do a jazz song, were gonna do a jazz song. Why the hell not?
PD: Who are your musical influences and who or what inspired you to take up music?
SB: For me, it was Foo Fighters, obviously Taylor Hawkins is my main reason. He inspired me to start playing.
BB: Luke, who is downstairs, absolutely loves Motley Crue, Mick Mars, Steve Stevens, he’s one of his favourite guitar players. So sometimes, we’ve got to rein in the shred a little bit. And then for me and Dan, both grew up with rabid Kiss fan parents. So, I’ve been into music since I was 5 years old, I learned how to write songs by listening to the mix tapes that my dad had made my mum that had Kiss, Heart, Van Halen and I’d sit there with headphones, and I’d write the lyrics out and sing along at the same time. That’s how I learned to sing. And then copying Paul Stanley on the telly.
DR: My 2 big influences are Gene Simmons and Lemmy.
BB: So, it’s quite a big mixing pot, but then my parents, they liked all different kinds of music. They liked: Motown; your 80s pop, my dad loves the musicals like, ‘Singing In The Rain’ is his favourite film, even though he’s a massive Kiss fan, so for me I grew up hearing Doris Day, Luther Vandross, Kiss. Quite a mix.
PD: What’s your favourite song to perform live?
BB: It’s a 1-2 hit for me, I love the end of the set. So I like ‘I Ain’t Got Nothing (If I Ain’t Got Rock and Rol)l’ because of that crowd participation, followed by the heavy ‘Jack and Coke’ to finish, cos it’s just a good old party song.
DR: For me, it was when we covered Motorhead.
BB: Yeah? We did do a cover of Motorhead, we did ‘Born To Raise Hell’ at Motorhead Day in Blackpool and they went mental.
DR: I think we did it twice, we did it there and also at a Halloween party.
BB: I dressed up as Ginger Spice, him and Luke did Jay and Silent Bob and he was Lexxi Foxx from Steel Panther.
PD: OMG! I though for one moment then that you were gonna say that you all dressed as Spice Girls. I had this horrible picture in my head.
SB: I don’t know what mine would be… I think it might be one of the new ones.
BB: Cos we’ve started playing new stuff now, it’s exciting to play that, cos no one’s heard it yet, it’s like arhhhh!
SB: ‘The Otherside’ and ‘Jack and Coke’ I would say.
BB: Opening and closing numbers, interesting.
PD: What has been your proudest moment in music?
BB: We got to play with Kiss, on the ‘Kiss Kruise’ and that was amazing, unbelievable. You know, you grow up idolising people and it was really funny because Doc Mcghee, who’s the manager, I’ve met him a couple of times before that and as we got on the boat, he’s like, “How the hell did you get on here without asking for my help?” I’m like. “I worked hard!”.
Honestly, it should be Kiss, but for me, the thing that makes my heart proud, is when we play a gig and you get a little girl in the front row, or you get kids there, singing along and they’re clapping and being able to make them feel special is why I do it. It fills my heart with pride that Rock music can make those kids feel like…their little faces…
PD: Do you feel that you were once there?
BB: Yeah, I’ve been in that position, and I know what it’s like, it’s like “Oh My God, this is where I belong.” You see a kid and they watch it and they smile, that’s it for me, I’m proud that I get to make those kids smile.
PD: What would you say is the most important thing that you have learned from your career so far and have you got any advice for inspiring artists wanting to get into music?
DR: Go with your heart.
BB: Yeah, you’ve got to go with your heart and you’ve got to have a sense of humour.
SB: Don’t follow trends.
BB: Be yourself. If you don’t feel it in your heart, it’s not right and there’s so much up and down in this business, one night you could be playing against 500 people and the next you’re playing to just 3 people in a bar, and the way that I see it is every time we play, it’s Wembley Arena. That’s what I have in my head. If you’re gonna do it, give it your all.
DR: Perform for yourself as well, do what you want to do. You want to make yourself happy as well as the crowd.
BB: I do it because I love it and even if we were getting paid nothing, I’d still be doing it, rocking out in my bedroom with a guitar because it makes me happy.
PD: What is the third album called, and how close are you to releasing it?
BB: Our third album is called ‘Mythos, Confession, Tragedies and Love’ and it’s going to be out on Friday July 8th. We’re playing at The Waterloo in Blackpool for our Album Launch party.
PD: Can you shed some light on the recording process?
BB: We were fortunate enough to be able to record all the basic tracking, so drums, rhythm guitars, bass, about 6 vocals and about 6 lead guitars at Rockfield Studios, in the same studio as Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody. There’s a couple of tracks that have piano on it and we used the same piano. You go in and you can feel the history. You know that you’re in a room where greatness has happened and it’s really inspiring, because you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s no distractions and you’re just there to make a rock album. We made friends with some cows…
SB: That’s actual animals, not women by the way.
BB: Yes, so we would never call women cows.
Yeah, it was just superb and what we did, because we done it before, where all the songs are double tracked to death and everything is perfect and you sit there and you do it, where he does drums and then we do guitars and then we do leads and then we do vocals. We did it so that all of the drums were recorded with us all playing together at the same time, so we could get in the groove and then all the guitars were single track, so it’s Me and Luke and Dan on bass. We wanted to do it as close to how they would do a gig in the 70s. Record an album, like the greats, where you have to play together, to get it right.
DR: The only over-dubs were solos.
BB: Yeah, and obviously you’ve got to do the vocals on top because of the bleed. But it was really organic and something that we’ve found is like, when we play live, people are always like “Oh it’s so raw and explosive, but on record it’s very produced.” So, this time we wanted to do something a bit different. And it was just fantastic, our producer is Nick Brine and he’s done a couple of Thunder albums, he’s done The Darkness, he’s done some Bruce Springsteen, INXS and The Stone Roses. He’s a genius. He makes us sound a lot better than we are.
PD: That reminds me, I read somewhere that you sang backing vocals on a couple of Thunder albums.
BB Yeah, on 2 of them.
PD: How did that come about, is that how you started working with Nick?
BB: No, I can’t remember how we started working with Nick, think someone sent him our stuff, I can’t remember who it was, and then he contacted us out of the blue…or we contacted him… it was so long ago.
PD: Has Nick been there on all your releases?
BB: Not all, he did the albums ‘Bad Habit’ and ‘Show Me Your Teeth’, so everything we’ve done apart from our first EP, has been done with Nick. Our first EP, we recorded that ourselves.
So what happened was, I was literally sat in my pyjamas one day and I got a message from Nick saying “Do you want to do a session?”, I’m like “Yeah, I’ll do it, whatever…” I didn’t know who it was for, I walked into the studio, and it was Thunder. I sang on ‘Miracle Man’ on their acoustic re-workings album and then when they did their next album, they needed some singers on backing vocals and I think I did 4 or 5 tracks on ‘All the Right Noises’ and we did it and then we had a killer sit down meal and it’s still one of the best dinners I’ve ever had. Luke Morley gave me some red wine and it was one of the best days of my life.
PD: Are there any bands that you are looking forward to sharing the bill with?
BB: All of them, there is no band on this bill that is not incredible. Funny story, Dan, the lead singer of Revival Black, I think it were 2017, I was helping out at Rockstock with Darren Redick who was doing the band he makes from the crowd’s auditions. Well, he needed a singer to sing some songs and I said, “Yeah, I’ll come down, that sounds great.” He got up at Bandiokie and he sang, and I was stood there and I was just… I said to him, “You need to get a band.” He’s like “I’m trying.” I said “You don’t know just how good you are.” He’s fantastic and he’s got a really sexy voice (don’t tell him I said that) But yeah, the Hollowstar guys… Most of the bands on this bill, we all know each other..
DR: Even the bands on tomorrow and Sunday…
BB: Yeah, we’re gonna come down tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to seeing Chez Kane, her voice is insane, the girls in Haxan. I feel that the good thing about this scene is there is so much variety, but it’s all quality.
DR: And we’re all friends as well.
BB: There’s no rivalry or anything like that, everyone is just happy to be together.
DR: It’s just like we get on these festivals and I see people that especially due to Covid, I haven’t seen for a few years…
BB: And you have a big cuddle, get back together and you play the gig and it’s top.
PD: Tell us some more about the new tracks that you played tonight?
BB: So we played 3 tonight. We played ‘The Otherside’, to open, and then a song called ‘Persephone’, which will be one of the singles. (That’s an exclusive!) And we played ‘Sin Eater’, which is the single that we’ve just released.
DR: We did a very daring thing in that we opened with 2 new songs.
BB: Yeah, why not… live dangerously.
PD: Yeah, and they went down really well. It was quite a good crowd for the opening act.
BB: It was half past 6 and all these people came down, I can’t believe it and by the end of it, they were singing along and having a great time. That is the best thing.
PD: How is the rest of 2022 looking for you?
BB: Gooood!! We’ve got 2 days left on our KickStarter campaign, which is funded and just amazing, all those wonderful people out there helping bands, it’s fantastic. And then we’ve got another single coming out next month, we released ‘Sin Eater’ 2 weeks ago, so there’s another coming out next month and then another in July and we release the album and play loads of gigs.
PD: Thank you so, so much for your time, can you tell us where people can learn more about the band and buy your music and merch from?
BB: We should thank you. You can get all our socials which is BBATBDofficial on everything, and also we have our website https://www.bethbladeandthebeautifuldisasters.com/ and you can get all our CDs, vinyls and t shirts on there. And our next album is going to be released through Cargo Records and the pre-order for vinyl and CD is live now at this link Pre-Order here
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