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1 2023

Interview with Beasto Blanco

Id rather take a risk on something than play it safe

Influenced by bands like White Zombie and Motorhead, Beasto Blanco's music is said to be a potent mix of heavy riffs and melodic choruses. The brainchild of longtime Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garrick has been in existence since 2012 with help from Calico Cooper on vocals. The 2013 debut album, aptly titled "Live Fast Die Loud", garnered acclaim from Johnny Depp, legendary producer Bob Ezrin and Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain. In 2016, the band's eponymous second album, which included a rousing cover of Cooper's classic "Feed My Frankenstein," was released on Rat Pak Records. In 2019, the band returned with their third studio longplay, "We Are," produced by Ryan Green. The band also plans to delight us with new songs and videos in the near future. Our questions were kindly answered by Chuck Garrick and Calico Cooper.

  Beasto Blanco

To me Beasto Blanco looks and sounds like something that took a lot from American culture, movies, books and, let's say, mythology. Can the band be described as people who tell typically American stories within their work? How deeply have you been influenced by the environment you grew up in?

Calico: I think that telling American stories was a beginning for us. A chapter. It felt natural. But I feel like we’ve told those stories, those legends already. We all Grew up with muscle cars and Americana. And I loved telling those tales. But now I’m looking for new stories to tell. We are looking up so to speak. Space. AI. Futuristic rock n roll. I kind of get off on the idea that the future might not be so clean and sterile. What if the technology evolves, but we as humans get grittier, dirtier, more anamalistic? That’s the story line that interests me and we are working in currently.

Do you remember the very first song that made you feel like you should start your new project "Beasto Blanco"?

Chuck: It wasn’t necessarily a song as much as it was a vision that made me want to start Beasto Blanco. The idea of a band that looks like they belong to the music. The energy of the song moving through the musicians is what excited me.

Your team consists of real renowned professionals with their own personality and creative vision. How do you manage to keep a balance in your work and still let each member shine?

Calico: Funny you should mention that. We are actually SUCH characters they made us into a comic book. Lol. True story. We worked with a comic book company and sort of accentuated everyone’s heavy metal quirks. We hope to keep making them.

We are also all very open to explore. We are a theatrical band so everyone’s input is welcome. I mean everyone. We may have worked with the metal greats, but some of our best stage ideas can come from anywhere. Our merch guy in particular is always calling me up going “you know what you should do!?” And his ideas are wildly creative. I get inspired by video games, art museums, too much tequila I never know when that lightning bolt will hit.

Musically tho we do come from very different backgrounds. That can either work for a band or against them. For us I think it works because nobody says no. If someone comes in with a heavy metal guitar riff and my vocal line is very euro pop we say YES. We say “let’s make that work” as opposed to “no no it’s not done like that”. If you do what’s always been done you’ll get what’s always been done. I’d rather take a risk on something than play it safe.

  Beasto Blanco

What for you is the exact thing, trick that makes your sound unique and recognizable?

Chuck: I think it’s important for bands to find their identity. The unique thing about Beasto is we never settle. We’re always searching, the idea of trying everything and anything that comes across the table is important to us. We recognized early that Calico and I singing a song together, is very unique and recognizable to Beasto Blanco as a brand but more as a sound.

The issue of nepotism and "nepo kids" is now acutely and frequently raised in the industry. But more often, the public sees only one side of the issue. How do you manage to cope with the pressure of this topic? Have you felt that you are given too much responsibility and expectation simply for who you are?

Calico: I think the knee jerk reaction is to get defensive. Of course. But then I listened to what people were really saying. Some Mean it as a slur but a lot of people are simply referring to the fact that I come from privilege. I got to learn at the feet of masters. I got to train with and be sculpted by peoples hero’s. That’s a gift. I never take that for granted. The mistake I made at first was thinking people meant I wasn’t any good at what I did. That I didn’t work hard and sacrifice and commit everything to it. Of course that would make anyone mad. To be told their commitment and hard work didn’t count. But most people I talk to are just referring to the fact I have advantages. Which I do. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t bled for this. Believe me I have. We all have.

I heard rumors that you are preparing to please your audience with new songs in the near future. Will it be something special and different from the previous albums or do you prefer to be faithful to your classic sound and classic topics? Are there any unusual collaborations?

Chuck: Yes we have a new album coming out that I believe will be very special for our current loyal beast and for new listeners. We are faithful to our sound and our vision, but we are forever growing as artist and songwriters. So yes, it’s a Beasto Blanco album, but what is unique to us is that you’ll be able to put our collection of work together and hear the growth and the journey that we’ve been on as a band. This record is a collaboration between Beasto Blanco and other musicians that we highly respect with an exciting collaboration with Calico and Chris Harms from Lord Of Lost.

Is there any person (producer, director, artist, musician, celebrity) you'd really like to work with?

Chuck: I love the idea of being open minded regarding future collaborations not only musically but film, comic books etc. I’d love to write songs with great producers from other genres than ours. Butch Walker, Timbaland, Filippo Cimatyo just to name a few . We wanna branch into animated film with these characters we invented. Work on a Beasto Blanco cartoon with Studio Ghibli or the minds behind the animated Castlevania. Why limit it to music, you know?

From time to time, celebrities get into embarrassing stories because of their fans or complain about stalker issues. Have you had any crazy stories with fans? What's one thing your fan should definitely not do to avoid pissing you off?

Calico: Our fans for the most part are very cool. Very respectful. I’d say for me it’s two things

1.DO NOT GRAB ME. I’m shocked I still have to say this but you are at a concert not a petting zoo. Be respectful. I’ve been groped. Fondled. Even choked a few times. At least take me to dinner first. Lol

2.DO NOT IMPERSONATE US. it’s not flattering. It’s not cool. Especially when you are pretending to be us online and ask people for money. Or nudes. We would never ask for either of those things and if you’re doing it you’re violating some one that trusts us. Don’t do it. Plain and simple. Because I have a bat. And I love using it.

Here’s a good fan story for you

I remember once someone wrote something super vulgar about me. About how he and I used to date and all these really specific erotic things we used to do. But rather than pop off on him on a phone keyboard, I waited. I waited till I saw he was at a show. Afterwords I walked right into the audience marched right up to him and said “hey I’m Calico. Nice to meet you finally.” When I tell you this man tuned shades of red I have never seen. He could barely get out “nice to meet you” before he literally ran away. He just left his friends standing there shocked. My point is everyone is a big bad guy behind the computer screen. Just be cool.

It's such a time now that the media and the public are watching every move, every post on Instagram or Facebook of every public person. Do you feel responsible to your fans for the ideas and concepts you present to them?

Calico: Well I grew up under the microscope. Even before social Media. I have insanely thick skin when it comes to peoples opinions.

The crazy thing about Beasto as a band is, our songs, videos, photos, are all really meant to be inspiring and sexy and make you wanna get up outta the dirt when you’re knocked down and fight or get down in the mud and get naughty with someone. Both of which I condone. There isn’t a mixed message there.

When it comes to our personal lives I think you get what you give. I don’t share anything deep or meaningful on my socials for that reason exactly. I’m here to make you blush, I’m here to make you laugh. Say what you want about my stage antics or images in our videos I’m used to that. But I also know from growing up in a shock Rock house that I can’t control anybody.

I do love it when people tell me what they heard In a song, or saw in a video that impacted them, and it’s something I had not even thought of. That’s the beauty of art. It’s subjective.

  Beasto Blanco

Some musicians like to say that these are the darkest and worst times for the music industry. Do you have anything to say about that?

Chuck: I don’t agree with that. The arts are always changing and growing. I think what keeps me, passionate and motivated is the continuation of being productive, writing as much as I can and find those around me that inspire me and those that shine light.

Calico: I don’t know I feel like I have more control now then back when you had to have a record deal. Artistically we are gonna create no matter what the business end is doing. That keeps the music Not artificial. But now I can make my own videos and put them out for Millions of people to see without begging permission from record executives. We have an amazing label that is all about us trying new things so I see this time in the business as a time of ingenuity.

Technology, AI and things like that are growing very quickly now. Are you afraid that in the near future AI will be able to replace real live musicians and how do you feel about using new technologies in your art?

Calico: I don’t think shying away from it is the answer. But I do believe nothing will replace live music. Just look at Taylor Swifts ERAS tour. The live audience in Seattle was so loud it registered as an earthquake on the Richter scale. That’s power. That’s real Live humans coming together and singing and celebrating. And the truth is, it’s as much about those fans, those humans that are there,that make live music so powerful.

I don’t think it can be replicated.

That being said, we are able not to do SO MUCH with technology. Things I could only see in my mind I can now speak into a computer and BAM there it is. Incredible. Kids that don’t have access to music or art studios can now create on the level everyone deserves as to.

I know people are probably sick to death of hearing it, but with great power comes great responsibility. And that applies here too. Thanks for the life lesson Spider Man.

Can we say that the image you present on stage is your dark side?

Calico: Well My therapist thinks so.

Do you have any ritual before you go on stage or start recording new songs?

Chuck: My pregame warm-up is to remind myself to leave it all out in the studio. Leave it all out on the stage. We have a short amount of time the idea of entertaining a crowd of people for that 60 minutes and we can all get lost in the world thats being created on stage.

Calico: I listen to music out of our genera. It gives me vocal ideas and pushes me to try new things. That’s super helpful after about a month of touring.

And a few words you'd like to say to music fans...

Chuck: We look forward to the future. See you there. If you dare.

Jenet Bonishi

Many thanks to Christian Petke for making the interview happen.

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