Interview by Robert Cavuoto
Beasto Blanco, the band, fronted by long time Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric, will be releasing their first live CD entitled, Live From Berlin on January 19, 2018, via Rat Pak Records. Live From Berlin was recorded at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany during the 2016 sold-out Böhse Onkelz tour. This CD features songs from both of their studio CDs Live Fast Die Loud and their 2016 self-titled sophomore release Beasto Blanco.
Chuck and his bandmates Chris Latham [guitar], Jan Le Grow [bass], Tim Husung [drums] and Calico Cooper [vocals] deliver a superb performance on this CD capturing the passion, energy, and theatrics of their live show. The CD is rounded out with a haunting live version of Alice Cooper’s “Feed My Frankenstein.” The album is currently available for pre-order via Rat Pak CDs website.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Chuck for the new CD. He provides details on its creation during their 2016 arena tour and what the future holds for Beasto Blanco.
Robert Cavuoto: I was fortunate to have seen Beasto Blanco live and found the energy of your live show captured on this CD, was it a challenge to capture it accurately?
Chuck Garric: What I wanted to get across for this live CD was what it was like to be a participant at our show. We’ve had a lot of people interested in the band but haven’t had a chance to see us live. So now this live CD gives you a front row seat to what it would like to be an audience member. When we finished the CD, I said: “This is the instructions on how to participate in a Beast Blanco show.” [Laughing]
Robert Cavuoto: Were multiple shows recorded giving you the luxury to pick the best sounding one?
Chuck Garric: We were on tour in Germany with the Böhse Onkelz; they had talked about recording their shows and asked us if we would be interested in multi-tracking a couple of our shows. So we recorded the first and second nights at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. We choose the second night.
Robert Cavuoto: The audio quality is outstanding.
Chuck Garric: That sound is 100% live outside of a couple of little fixes here and there. What you hear is what you get, and that’s what we want to get across in Beasto.
Robert Cavuoto: When you introduced the band, you said, “We are Beasto Blanco, and we play Rock n’ Roll is that a tribute to Lemmy and Motorhead?
Chuck Garric: Lemmy used to say “We play Rock n Roll” I didn’t want to take the whole thing, so I say “We salute Rock n’ Roll” which is still a tribute to him. We are a Rock n’ Roll band, and we pay tribute to our influences and the guys no longer with us. To me, it’s a hat off to my idols and lets people know what we are about right out of the gate.
Robert Cavuoto: What do you remember special about the tour and the two Berlin shows?
Chuck Garric: We were on tour with one of the biggest bands in Germany called Böhse Onkelz. If you are not familiar with them, you have to look them up and check out their music. They have become the people’s music in Germany. Stephan Weidner and Gonzo happened to be in Nashville when I was home during a break. It was a by-coincidence meeting at a bar with Michael Wagener who was producing one of their CDs. We got talking music and influences, and after hanging out they went home to look up Beasto Blanco, and I went home to look who they were. The next day I got a call from them, that they liked our band and wanted us to open for them. I thought our type of music would fit perfect with theirs. They play sold-out arenas where ever they went and had a 19 arena show booked in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. They treated us like gold and were kind and generous with their gear. The soundman helped us out; the backline helped us out, production, promotion, catering, band, crew; everybody was great! We were welcome with open arms and had the most incredible time playing sold our arenas every night. It was beneficial to us, and we grew as a band. We went from a club band to an arena band overnight. We had a lot to prove because people over there never heard of us; they were there to see their beloved Onkelz. German fans are pretty loyal to their teams and that being their Onkelz. We were there to gain their respect, and it went over well for us. The Berlin show happened to fall later in the tour; I think it was the last week, so we were pretty well machined at that point for recording.
Robert Cavuoto: What impressed me about your live show was I felt I was on the ground floor seeing something that was unique and destined greatness; like seeing see Kiss or Alice Cooper in the early 70s. Where do you envision the band going 5 or 10 years down the road?
Chuck Garric: You are not the only one that has ever said that to me. When you get Calico Cooper in the band like ours with the energy she has, you are bound to have theatrics, and I want to have a big show. I idolize bands like Rob Zombie, Manson, Kiss, and Alice Copper. We have our twist on things and our sound. We are a very unique Rock n’ Roll band. I see us as an arena-style band with big theatrics. We have a lot of work to do. People feel excited about Beasto because they are seeing something for the first time that’s fresh and new. Our goal is to entertain. We love getting up there playing close to the audience and getting sweaty. It’s a big sexy, sweaty Rock n’ Roll show! We are growing as musicians and songwriters alongside our fans, and it’s a lot of fun. We will be going back to some of the older places we played here in Europe and seeing growth by getting into place we haven’t played.
Robert Cavuoto: Someday Alice will retire; is this the band you see yourself in for the next phase of your career?
Chuck Garric: That’s the goal, I’m trying to build it up as much as I possibly can so I can step off of one tour bus and go on to the other.
Robert Cavuoto: Is there another Beasto Blanco studio CD in the works?
Chuck Garric: We are working one. We have about half the songs tracked and will be demoing up the rest. We are close to getting it done. We had a pretty busy year with Alice then finishing up the Beasto dates. We will find some time to get back into the studio and start powering away again.
Robert Cavuoto: You talked about growing as musicians; do you see the band’s unique sound growing and evolving from CD to CD?
Chuck Garric: We have a formula, but at the same time we are not afraid to stretch it out a little bit. We are ok with going on a journey every once in a while, but it depends on what the song calls for. There is nothing wrong with straight-up, balls-to-the-wall Rock n’ Roll with power, energy, and aggressive vocals. There is also a lot to be said for the quality of songs. With this third CD, we are reaching for both. We want our audience who loves our style of music to stay while growing as songwriters at the same time. But always delivering the Beasto Blanco sound.
Robert Cavuoto: You mentioned the word “entertain” earlier. When you are writing songs are you developing ones that have a high potentially for a theatrical aspect?
Chuck Garric: That’s 100% of what I do. I’m a big daydreamer and have been that way my whole life. I visualize exactly where I want to be and what I see happening. I find myself doing that a lot. When we are writing or tracking a song, we are also figuring out ideas of what we can do to bring it into the set and how we can make it entertaining. We are not writing songs for ourselves so we can sit in our living room and say, “Listen how cool this song is!” We are writing songs for our fans and want to make it part of the show for them. We are always thinking about the show first.
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me about the importance of road testing songs to see which works best in the set and get the crowd’s reaction?
Chuck Garric: We are coming up on this next tour and will be adding songs that we have never played live before. We are also changing up the way we get in and out of songs. We will be testing a new song from the third CD live too. It hasn’t been heard by anyone so what better way to get a response from the crowd and see what they think.
Robert Cavuoto: That’s a smart idea.
Chuck Garric: We always stay fresh and want to grow. We have songs that we felt that didn’t quite cut it live but boy do they sound great on the CD. That happens with a lot of bands.
Robert Cavuoto: You have been around the world with Alice, which country has the most rabid metal fans?
Chuck Garric: I used to be able to answer that question but I can’t anymore. We have gone to five of the seven contents playing places in South America, Japan, Australia, all over Europe, the UK, and Scandinavia. I have to tell you this tour fans have been rabid every single show! The crowd is getting younger and they with the older fans are both going crazy. When we played South America with Gun n’ Roses, they were insane losing their minds. We were in Tokyo for Loud Park, and fans were out of control. I feel like metal and rock are definitely alive and well. It is a strong united front with the fans and bands. There is a lot of great new music out there that people are excited about.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you seeing a resurgence in metal and rock within the last 10 to 15 years?
Chuck Garric: Yeah, I have seen a big growth, and the people are coming out more and more. We tour every year, and you would think people would say “I have seen it already” but they keep coming back. People are more involved in the band and know the members as well as fans of Alice Cooper’s history.
Robert Cavuoto: Any highlights from this tour with Alice?
Chuck Garric: Having the opportunity to open for Guns n’ Roses in San Paulo Brazil definitely goes down as a big highlight for me.