Beasto Blanco set out to create a raw, powerful, theatrical live experience based on a potent mix of heavy riffs, driving bass and melodic choruses. The band was the brain trust of Chuck Garric and Brother Latham. Garric then turned to Calico Cooper, daughter of rock legend Alice Cooper, to solidify the sound and image of Beasto.
If Beasto’s unique sound and onstage theatrics are not enough to get your blood pumping then perhaps the vision of Calico wielding her spiked bat might excite the senses. The rocker jokes that she has yet to lose anyone.
Music Madness caught up with Chuck and Calico as they prep for their upcoming Monstrous Things Tour and discussed the Beasto Blanco experience.
Music Madness: First off, Congrats on the release of the live album earlier this year, and on the upcoming Monstrous Things Tour.
Chuck: Yeah, it’s coming up, we’re looking forward to the Monstrous Things Tour. June twenty-second, we start.
Music Madness: Looks like you are doing a quick trip to Europe and then zipping over to the Midwest where you are doing a complimentary show in Tulsa. What is that all about?
Chuck: Yeah, that was the promoter’s idea. This guy, Doug, he’s a fantastic promoter, one of the biggest in Tulsa, he saw us on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. He became a huge Beasto fan instantly, and he just believes that everybody in the world should have a chance to see Beasto Blanco. He was insistent on giving Tulsa, no age limit, no fee, no nothing; he wants to get everybody through the doors because he just feels that this is something that everybody has to see. He has created a little party around it and we’re gonna go fuck things up.
Music Madness: Outstanding! Earlier this year you released a live album. Are there plans on releasing any new material in the near future?
Chuck: We are in the process right now of finishing up our third studio record. We still have a couple little things to finish up but we’ll be in the mixing process soon. I don’t have a release date yet but I can tell you that this next record, it’s just gonna be phenomenal.
We’re really excited about the material, the concept, the sound, like I said, if you’re a fan of Beasto Blanco, it’s just such a great band to really listen to because you just hear the growth of the band and you see the growth of the band when you go to see us live, as well. We keep our fans in mind with everything we do and I’m just over the top about this upcoming record.
Music Madness: Very cool, I was hooked pretty quick myself. I’m just not throwing a big party for any of my friends, sorry.
Chuck: Fuck yeah! You need to do the complimentary party, bro.
Music Madness: That’s too funny. What can one expect to be treated to at a Beasto experience?
Calico: This could go on forever. In a true, true, true Beasto show, I can promise you, you’re a part of the show. It doesn’t describe it, it’s like a living organism. When we hit the stage, we’re always together, we’re feeding off the crowd. It’s sorta in a symbiotic way, like the sweatier and louder that you are, the sweatier and louder that we are. It’s like the wild, wild west up there, so we expect to have your ears ringing, expect to be seeing little flashes of light when you leave, because it’s a party.
It’s an all-out party, but it’s like a roller coaster we start high-octane but we’ll take you through this whole Beasto story, and then when you walk out and you’ve changed a little bit. A little bit of the Beast got let out that, you’re taking out into the world. It takes me a while to un-Beast. When I get on-stage I am like, “I cannot be killed”. I mean it really is a revving-up experience, just listening to the record even gets me going, so imagine being in the crowd.
Music Madness: I can relate to that, when I first started listening to Beasto, my initial thought/instinct was to turn and punch my buddy right in the throat, but there was nobody there. I had that feeling, just like damn.
Chuck: That’s a pure sign of gratitude. We encourage that. It’s okay. Go ahead and just chop your buddy in the neck. In a way, he probably just deserves it anyway.
The best compliment I ever got from Beasto was the last time we played the Halestorm’s guys were there, Lzzy Hale, Joe, and everybody, and Lzzy had said, “I didn’t wanna leave where I was standing. I didn’t wanna go to the bar to get another drink, I didn’t wanna go to the bathroom, I didn’t wanna talk to a single friend. I wanted to watch, because I felt like if I turned away, I was gonna miss something.”
I just thought that was the best compliment that I’ve ever received from any artist or anybody, was that it is an experience, not only is it a sonic experience, but the visual experience, as well. We want you to forget everything else that’s going on around you. We want you to be part of what is happening now. You paid your money to get in, let’s do this together.
Calico: Let me do what I do best.
Chuck: That’s it. We traveled a long way to get here, probably broke down a couple of times, sleeping in a shitty hotel room, so let’s make the music together.
Music Madness: I love it. All right, so we’re talking about the experience. Do you have a favorite song to play live, and what is the go-to song when you want to take it to that next level?
Calico: Do I get the talking stick now?
Chuck: You get the conch.
Calico: Okay, I’m holding the talking stick. It’s strange to say that I’m such a performer, but one of my favorite songs to do is “Death Rattle” because it comes usually right after “Machine Girl” where I’ve screamed my lungs out, thrashed myself around, and did what I came here to do. With “Death Rattle”, it’s almost an eerie transition where the song starts, and this character that I play kinda oozes up off the ground and just attaches to Chuck’s leg and she just takes everyone in.
You’re like, “What is this person?” I love that because it gives me a chance to see what effect do I have on people. I love watching people watch me and enjoy the show and like yo, they’re still pumped up from “Machine Girl”, and now we’re playing this dirty Quentin Tarantino beat and people are going, “Yeah! Yes!” And that’s when I get to do most of my prancing, cause I don’t sing until the middle of the song so I can take everything in, that’s my favorite part of the set.
Music Madness: Wait; in the video didn’t you have something with spikes coming out of it?
Calico: Oh, my bat. We call her ‘The Tiebreaker’. Yeah, that is a real Louisville Slugger, with real nails coming through it. Up to this point, I am the only one I’ve hacked with it, but that could change.
Music Madness: Oh yeah. You never know…at any given moment.
Chuck: Yeah, giving Calico a weapon was probably not the smartest idea. I love the song “Death Rattle”, as well. Any time we can just keep her on the floor for a little bit.
Calico: Chuck keeps coming to me like, “Okay, so in this song, we’re gonna give you this thing.” Anything you put in my hand becomes a weapon. You know what I mean? If you handed me a candy cane, I could probably poke your eye out with it.
Music Madness: Nice. If I heard correctly, Calico, growing up, you weren’t really all about getting into a rock band or being in a band at all, is that true?
Calico: Yeah. I always tell the story of my dad. I was traveling with him when I was a kid and he put on his travel form where it says occupation and he coulda put “legend”, he coulda put whatever, but he put “entertainer” and that always stuck with me. So that’s what I think I am, I’m an entertainer. I do film and television and stuff but Beasto’s a really unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s almost Broadway to affect people live and interact with people on a platform like that. I didn’t want to be in a band unless it was seriously exceptional, and that’s what I got, so …
Music Madness: Very nice. Chuck, I guess you didn’t have to do a lot of convincing, then.
Calico: No honestly, he speaks my language.
Chuck: Yeah, Calico and I are very much natural-born killers. We’re very much like a Bonnie and Clyde, even a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, if you will. We definitely see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. There’s not really much that makes us have a fearful feeling. We sorta stick our face right into whatever it is that we’re doing. That’s one thing I love the most about working with Cali is, like she said, you just give her something and she’s gonna take off with it. She’s very free-spirit individual, she’s an incredible entertainer, and she’s one of my biggest motivators.
Music Madness: There you go. Would you say that was the original direction for the band? Can you tell me a little bit more about the vision for the band’s sound the influences you have drawn from to create your own sound?
Chuck: I’ve always felt like Calico’s one of the best at being a rock star that’s out there. I think when I speak of the people who are considered rock stars, I’ve always considered Calico one of them. It’s just that nobody’s really asked her to be that. I’ve known forever that she was that. I knew somewhere in her back pocket she had a switch blade knife or something, you know. I could just always tell, even though she’s wearing a sundress, there was just something about this girl. I wanted to work with her in a band. I knew that the vision for me was, how can I give the best performance, how can I make the music come to life.
When you think about it, there’s the concept of, “Okay, I’m gonna play guitar and I’m gonna be singing and I’m gonna be the front man,” and that kinda leaves me a little bit standing there. I’m not gonna have much movement. I’m gonna have the Beasto outfit on, I’m gonna give you my show, but I always, for some reason, saw her on stage. There was always this visual of like, I want it to be theatrical, and who better to make it theatrical? But of the added theatricality of the show and some of the bits that we put in, I just didn’t want that to be Calico’s only role, because the chick can sing. She sings amazing, and she’s very versatile.
I love bands like Kiss and the Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and even Ted Nugent where you get a different tone; you get a different tone of a singer all of a sudden. I really like that, you get a little variety, and Calico adds that, I think. With adding to the song collection, you also get that live, it’s just like I said earlier, it’s just so much going on, you don’t know what’s gonna happen. Is she gonna sing the whole song? Is she gonna sing a verse? Or is she just gonna smash someone’s head in with a bat? You don’t know.
Music Madness: And hopefully it’s not yours.
Chuck: You might wanna come to the show sooner than later because you don’t know if there may be an accident.
Music Madness: We can always use some Beasto madness down in Florida. We love it.
Chuck: We love Florida. We did well there at the Monsters of Rock. We played Miami on the pre-party last year and just had a blast.
Music Madness: Well shit, if you did well in Miami, the rest of Florida’s where all the metalheads are. You would just blow this up.
Chuck: I love it!
Music Madness: I interviewed your brother Dash a few months back. Have you ever thought about doing a tour with Alice, Dash, and Beasto Blanco?
Calico: I’ll take this one. I think that as far as doing it together, we’re individually talented enough to where I just don’t want us to get lost in each other. You know what I mean? Yeah, when you go to see Co-Op, you should go see Co-Op because they’re a badass band. If you’re going to see the spawn of Alice Cooper, it kinda takes away from the music. We’re not gonna play his type of music. We’re not gonna perform like he performs. It almost takes away from Co-Op. It takes away from Beasto.
We’d love to sit in and do a song with Cop-Op, let’s sit in a do a song with Alice, but ultimately, it waters it down. You could get three amazing experiences, or kinda go, “What am I here for?” Our music is so different; I wouldn’t think it would jive. I’d be happy to always play with my brother’s band because they are insanely talented and they’re just strong and doing incredible. He feels the same way about us. I think, ultimately, it comes down to, if you did an Alice/Co-Op/Beasto Tour, I’d have to throw my hat in for headlining. I’m gonna say it.
Chuck: That’s what I was gonna say. It’d just be a fist-fight to see who’s gonna headline.
Calico: Hey, I’m the one that has The Tiebreaker, remember!
Music Madness: Why Beasto Blanco? How does that symbolize the essence of the band and how did the name come about?
Chuck: The sound of the music, it just had this passion to it, this animalistic feeling. This sense of energy, this sense of urgency but also, you know it was a little dangerous. It could prey on you in certain ways. I felt like we needed to name the music…
And for me, it was like taking on a new persona. Taking on a new role, I was playing guitar instead of bass. I was singing lead instead of backgrounds. I was primarily the main songwriter. It was my concept. There’s a lot that had to go behind that and it took a lot of courage to step onto that stage and be that person. Beasto Blanco, to me, was sorta my way of summoning fear to courage. It was my hope, if you will. The character, my werewolf, in a way where I felt like I was invincible. You put the Beasto on, you put the gear on and you look across and see Calico, and everybody’s just sorta, you can feel it, you know, everybody starts to foam at the mouth and be ready to go. That’s just what Beasto has become to me, and the music, it speaks through the name, as well.
Music Madness: Your passion makes me want to get suited up and get on stage with you guys.
Chuck: Yeah, come up.
Music Madness: Just keep the bat away from me.
Calico: I make no guarantees. You gotta be quick, yeah.
Chuck: You never know, man. You never know what could happen, but you’ll feel good afterwards, especially if something close happens. Like maybe you almost had a near-death experience you’ll be like, “That was amazing.” Like an adrenaline rush.
Music Madness: See, you gotta be a metal head to understand that kinda rush.
Calico: Yeah, no this is one of those things where we don’t plan anything out so these guys never know where I’m gonna be with what. I always have an eye on them. You know what I mean. I don’t know if it’s being a woman, I don’t know if its maternal instincts, but I always have an eye on them. The only way they’re gonna get hurt is if they do some dumb shit. I brought my iron, if you back up where you’ve never back up before, I don’t know what to tell you but …
Chuck: Yeah. I’m gonna end up with a scar or two.
Music Madness: That’s alright. It’s all in the name of rock and roll, right?
Chuck: It’s all for the cause. It’s so you damn kids can get your money’s worth.
Music Madness: What else is going on with Beasto Blanco in the near future?
Chuck: Well, we’re gonna just do what we do, man. We’re gonna continue finishing this record, we’re gonna get good in rehearsal, get ready for our European dates, get ready for our July dates, and just keep doing what we do and tour as much as we possibly can. We’re gonna get out to as many people as we possibly can. Looking to grow, the fan base is growing; it’s a great little underground fan base we have right now. I love it; I love how this band is developing.
Kinda reminds me of maybe going and seeing The Cramps in an old club and then all of a sudden you get a chance to go see them at a bigger arena. It’s just like, you go, “I saw that band when there were sixty people there.” I’m a big fan of that. We’re just gonna keep pushing, keep grinding. That’s what Beasto’s all about. We’re blue-collar and we’re gonna work until we’re dead.
Beasto Blanco is:
- Chuck Garric (Vocals, Guitar)
- Calico Cooper (Vocals, Theatrics)
- Brother Latham (Lead Guitar)
- Jan LeGrow (Bass Guitar, Background Vocals)
- Tim Husung (Drums, Background Vocals)
Beasto Blanco Links:
Interview by Steve Carlos