INTERVIEW: Chuck Garric of Beasto Blanco/Alice Cooper
SoCalMusicToday.com’s Chris Loomis recently spoke with Beasto Blanco guitarist/vocalist Chuck Garric who also plays bass for Alice Cooper. Chuck talks about his new band Beasto Blanco, creating stage theatrics, working with Calico Cooper, their upcoming show at NAMM JAM 2016, new Beasto Blanco music and remembering Lemmy and David Bowie.
Beasto Blanco will be performing as part of NAMM JAM 2016 at City National Grove in Anaheim on Friday night January 22 along with John 5 and L.A. Guns. Also Chuck Garric, Calico Cooper as well as John 5 will be doing a signing at the Delve Texas/Coffin Case booth (#4130) at the NAMM convention on Friday January 22 at 1:00pm. Passes to the show at The Grove will also be available.
Hello Chuck, thank you for taking the time to speak with SoCalMusicToday.com today.
So in addition to being part of Alice Cooper’s band for the last 14 years and playing with an A-List of other musicians, you now have your own band Beasto Blanco which you formed back in 2012. Tell me about Beasto Blanco and what inspired you to create the band at that time?
Well I was doing a lot of songwriting and Chris Latham (Beasto Blanco guitarist) and I have been buddies for many years, he was one off the first guys I met way back when I moved to Los Angeles. We wanted to start a band, we wanted something that would summon and honor the music we grew up on and respected. So we wanted to create a high-octane, theatrical rock n roll band.
For those that have had the pleasure of seeing Beasto Blanco live know you have an intense stage presence and deliver an arena rock show on a small stage that includes stage props and costume changes. Take me through the creative process of how you come up with such ideas?
Well Beasto Blanco is more than just a band, Beasto Blanco is a character, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a theatrical stage show we have, so that is something we always have had in mind . . . that we were going to add theatrics. When you have someone in your band like Calico Cooper (Alice Copper’s daughter) involved in those conversations, it becomes a lot easier. She is able to easily run with concepts and ideas and make them grow and make them her own.
So basically what happens with Beasto is we go through a process of creating songs and writing songs that work live, that fit into a live show experience and through that comes a vision of how it could work theatrically with Calico and not only just with her but as a whole. Like I said earlier Beasto Blanco is a lifestyle, it’s more than a band, but it definitely involves all personnel in the band.
So it’s just one of those things where you have an idea, a concept and as things start to progress and you do shows, you realize some things work and some things just happen organically and start taking on a life of its own. And we are like, WOW, we didn’t even think of that but that’s how it’s happening and it works.
I consider what we are right now, we are just receiving. Whatever is transmitting sonically above us humans, when it comes to writing and performing, we just put ourselves out there and we receive what’s transmitting. If we see something happening and we’re feeling it, we just roll with it, we don’t try to control too much of it.
Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico is a member of Beasto Blanco, obviously you have a connection to her through Alice but how did she become a member of the band?
I’ve always thought of Calico Cooper as a rock-star. The first time I saw her with Alice Cooper, it was obvious she has a very strong stage presence. After our years of touring together with her father, Calico had initially come in to sing background vocals on the Live Fast, Die Loud record. It was extremely obvious right away that she got our attention with her vocal ability, just the tone of her voice. She instantly became the Bonnie to my Clyde you know.
It was just a natural situation, all the sudden we became this force, the yin and the yang, she became the female of Beasto so that made it obvious we had to do something more. That day we created other parts for her in other songs. When it came time to touring, we had to decide how does Calico fit into the live show (like we discussed earlier) not only as a singer but as a presence. Like I said earlier, Calico and I sat down and discussed a few ideas then we just let happen what’s supposed to happen – we just really felt it onstage and things took off from there.
Beasto Blanco is playing at NAMM JAM 2016 at the Grove in Anaheim, which also has L.A. Guns and John 5 on the bill. How did Beasto Blanco get involved in this great event?
We are very stoked to be part of this event. L.A. Guns and I go way back and John 5 and I are friends as we have toured together. Basically Beasto Blanco was on tour in Europe, flooding social media with our outlandish stage presence, hoping to get some sort of attention and sure enough it worked. Our name got brought up several times when meetings were taking place on what bands were wanted for NAMM JAM. With the help of guys like Jonny Coffin (Coffin Case) and Delve Texas and Evil D (David Vincent), they made it happen.
It has already been announced that Alice Cooper will make a guest appearance during the Beasto Blanco set. Is Alice just going to sing or can we expect any special theatrics from him or from the band itself during your set?
I think the theatrics have already begun. Once you throw a name in the mix like Alice Cooper, you know what’s gonna happen. So yeah just expect a full show, expect the unexpected and it’s gonna be a great rock n roll show.
Beasto Blanco released their debut album Live Fast Die Loud back in October 2013. What are your plans for a follow up record . . . will we hear any new music in 2016?
Yes. We have a new record on the table as we speak, we are looking for an early 2016 release date. So as far as the show goes in Anaheim you will be hearing some new material.
You have been on tour with Alice Cooper for the better part of two years with Motley Crue. How did you find time to dedicate to writing and recording for Beasto Blanco?
Well it’s not that hard when your set time is only 50 minutes, what else are you gonna do for the next 23 hours of the day. That’s who I am, I create music. I try to spend as much time as I can staying creative, that’s how you deal with it out there on the road. Being in that environment on a two year tour, you’ve got to find ways to keep your mind fresh. Like I said, that’s what I do, I do my part of the live show then on the downtime I write.
I spent a lot of time with Nikki Sixx talking about music, the importance of lyrics, the whole song writing process and bouncing ideas and concepts off each other which for me was a lot of fun.
On the subject of NAMM, do you usually come out to Anaheim in January for the NAMM show? If so how do you spend most of your time at NAMM?
I do try to go to NAMM as much as I possibly can. Obviously this year there’s a bigger reason than the convention itself for me to be there. I will be doing some signings at the Coffin Case booth this year and over at the Blackstar booth as well.
So whenever I get my endorsees needing something from me, I’m there for them. Obviously they are there for me all year touring. NAMM is like the music gear circus if you will. It reminds me kind of like the early days on the Sunset Strip, you know you are gonna go there and see all your buddies and each booth is like its own night club, there’s all sorts of different stuff going on. It’s like bouncing from The Whisky to The Roxy, to Gazzarri’s then all meeting up at The Rainbow which will be the Grove this year.
You live in Nashville, TN. It seems like a lot of musicians have moved from LA to Nashville. What made you take up residence there and what do you think draws musicians in general to Nashville?
Well its music city. I was looking for sort of a fresh start and affordability coupled with the lifestyle we wanted to have. There’s the singer/songwriter, musician type everywhere. There is so many different avenues here in Nashville, you can walk into any Honky Tonk club, almost anywhere and get inspired. The talent here is spread out to all different genres of music and I have found it to be a very inspiring place to live. It’s turned out to be a real eclectic place to be with old style country acts, a lot of younger alternative acts and then the rockers, it’s turned out to be a real fun place to be in.
We recently lost two music icons in Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie. Did you personally know either of those two and do you have any stories or words to say about either?
I did not know David Bowie, but just a huge fan and he was very influential and inspirational artist/musician. I consider him to be the Elvis to that style of music that he made. Bowie took what he did and stretched it out beyond music with fashion and art, I was a huge fan.
When it comes to Lemmy, we had toured together when I was in Dio, I had the honor to tour with Motorhead back in 1999 and that’s when my relationship started with him. I’m very close with the Motorhead guys, I’m very close with Mikkey Dee and Phil. I spent long hours hanging out with Lemmy. I’ve always considered Lemmy one of my top three bass players, but it wasn’t so much his playing as it was his attitude that I found myself drawn to. He obviously walked the walk and talked the talk, he was all about the lifestyle and what he thought rock n roll should be.
So it’s tough when you lose a guy that that, just like when I lost my friend Ronnie James Dio, you just have to find ways to honor them, I was just listening to Motorhead on the way home. It’s a big loss to the rock n roll community; there is nobody else like him. He is going to be missed.
Chuck, thank you again for taking the time to speak with me and have a wonderful 2016, best of luck with Beasto Blanco and see you in Anaheim on January 22.
Thanks for the support