Chris Loomis

INTERVIEW: Heidi Shepherd of Butcher Babies

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Butcher Babies: Rockstar Mayhem Festival @ San Manuel AmphitheatSoCalMusicToday.com’s Chris Loomis recently spoke with vocalist Heidi Shepherd of Los Angeles based rockers Butcher Babies to discuss their new EP, Uncovered, released on September 30 via Century Media Records. Shepherd also talks about Butcher Babies first headline tour, the power of being on Mayhem Festival and reveals her best Zakk Wylde story.

Butcher Babies are on tour now and are scheduled to play KNOTFEST on Friday October 24 and Saturday October 25 in San Bernardino, CA. To keep up to date on everything Butcher Babies be sure to check out http://www.butcherbabiesofficial.com.

Butcher Babies new EP, Uncovered, was released on September 30th. What inspired Butcher Babies to do a covers record?

In true Butcher Babies form we never do anything half assed so we are taking our sweet time to write our second album – which is almost finished. However, the second album won’t be released until summer 2015 so we wanted to put out a tasty little appetizer for our fan base in the meantime. We thought it would be fun to pick abstract songs that influenced us as children and young adults, tear them to shreds, and then put them back together again to give them a Butcher Babies twist.

The Uncovered EP contains five tracks, each selected by a member of the band. Which member selected each song and why?

“Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” was chosen by Henry. He loves ZZ Top and as a guitar player is hugely inspired by Billy Gibbons.

“They’re Coming to Take Me Away” was chosen by Carla. The song reminds her of watching her step-father tap along on the steering wheel in his car while singing along to the original . . . over and over again.

“Don’t Give a Fuck” was chosen by Carla and me. We wanted to cover this song for years. Even in our old band in 2007 we begged to cover it. As huge fans of Suicidal Tendencies and the content of this particular song we figured it would be a perfect fit.

“Crazy Horses” was chosen by me. As a child, I would constantly search though my parent’s 8-tracks and records looking for something that sparked my interest. Finally, I landed on the track “Crazy Horses” by the Osmonds. That opening riff was the first semi-heavy thing I had ever heard. To this day, it’s one of my all-time favorite songs.

“Pussy Whipped” was chosen by the band as a whole. I initially wanted to cover “Bigger than the Devil” off of SOD’s 1999 album. So we narrowed down to about 4 SOD songs that we thought would be fun; “Kill the Assholes”, “Monkeys Rule” and “Pussy Whipped”. After much deliberation, we figured it’d be funny to hear girls screaming Pussy Whipped.

Which song do you believe was the most challenging to record?

The most challenging was “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”. This song was very difficult to construct as a Butcher Babies tune. We went back and forth with many ideas and almost threw the song out as a whole till we eventually came up with the perfect way to honor the song yet make it our own.

With both Carla and yourself as vocalists, how did you go about choosing who sings which parts on the Uncovered EP?

It’s very easy to delegate parts on any recording. We have such different voices which allows us to decide which voice would sound better for the various parts.

The cover of the EP has a very Guns n Roses feel to it based on their G N’ R Lies EP. How did the idea of using a newspaper-like cover come about?

Whereas the EP as a whole is a cover album, we figured it’d be neat to do a cover of a cover. And what better band to pay homage to than Guns N Roses?!

Logan Mader produced the Uncovered EP. How did Butcher Babies choose Logan Mader to work with and what was the experience like?

Logan was such a treat to work with. He quickly learned our strengths and pushed us to perfect our weaknesses. Our management referred him to us and we are glad that they did cause we have now hijacked him for our next album as well!!! We couldn’t be happier with the result of his production. He is quick and has a great ear for metal.

Butcher Babies are heading out on a headline tour that kicked-off September 12. It’s actually your first US tour as a headliner – Congratulations on that.  What can we expect from Butcher Babies on this tour?

Seeing that this is our first headlining tour, we are planning on playing songs from all BB eras – Ha! We are playing the first song we ever wrote as a band, 5 years ago, and we are playing stuff off of the new album that we are still currently working on. Fans who attend this tour will be the first to ever hear these songs.

Does being a headline act vs an opening act make any difference as far as your performance goes? Do you approach the show any differently?

Most definitely.  As an opening act, we are usually allotted 30-45 minutes which means we only get to play a few select songs. Plus as an opener we are playing to other bands fan base so you never know what kind of crowd you get. With a headlining tour the fans are here to see us and sing along with all their hearts!

Will you be playing any of the five songs from the Uncovered EP on this tour? If so, any hints on which ones?

Yes, all of them!

You played the side stage at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival last summer in 2013. Butcher Babies seemed to always have one of the biggest and most energetic crowds of the afternoon. What was that experience like playing on the country’s premier extreme music festival?

The Mayhem Festival is a staple in any metal bands career. We knew going into that tour that it would make or break our career. Thank God it made it. =)

Butcher Babies did a lot of touring with Black Label Society this year. What’s your best Zakk Wylde story?

On an off day walking around a mall with Carla and Henry, we bumped into Zakk. He then told us that he was walking around there trying to get noticed. He’s such a nice person and we all look up to him so much. A legend like Zakk Wylde could get away with being a prima donna but he is just a regular guy with an amazing love for life and people.

What’s in store for Butcher Babies after this tour ends in late October? Will there be a new full length Butcher Babies album in 2015?

As soon as this tour ends, we jump into the studio to finish the new album.

Heidi – Thank you for your time and best of luck with the Uncovered EP and on your first headline tour!

Thank you as well!

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